Today's photos focus on the construction and history of the Lake Hartwell Dam and how that impacted Clemson.
The above color photo is from the 1930's and shows Clemson campus before the flooding of the rivers in Clemson that would eventually make Lake Hartwell. The Flood Control Act of 17 May 1950 authorized the Hartwell Dam and Reservoir as the second unit in the comprehensive development of the Savannah River Basin.
The original project provided for a gravity-type concrete dam 2,415 feet long with earth embankments at either end, which would be 6,050 feet long on the Georgia side and 3,935 feet long on the South Carolina side. Full power pool was designed to be 660 feet above mean sea level.
Construction of the Hartwell project took place from 1955 and was completed in 1963. And construction of the dam started in 1955 and was finished in 1959.
Lake Hartwell is named for the American Revolutionary War figure Nancy Hart. Nancy Hart lived in the Georgia frontier, and it was her devotion to freedom that has helped make her name commonplace in the Georgia upcountry today. A county, city, lake, state park and highway among others, bear her name.
She married Benjamin Hart and moved to South Carolina where they parented a healthy family of eight children. It is difficult to know the truth about Nancy because there are many myths, hearsay, exaggeration and some imagination in stories that have been told about her. She was about 6 feet tall, could handle an axe or musket and wasn’t afraid to use them, but above all she loved her freedom.
The first challenge in building the Hartwell Dam was in August 1956 when Mrs. Eliza Brock and her daughter refused to allow workmen to come on their property to begin clearing for the reservoir area. This involved 103 acres of land that the government gained ownership of in June of 1956.
Apparently Mrs. Brock never received the offer for her land therefore refusing to allow them on her property. After delaying construction, Mrs. Brock eventually settled on $6,850 for her property.
The next challenge took place in late 1956 when Clemson College objected to the damage that would be done to its property as a result of the impounded water in the reservoir. After countless meetings Clemson finally settled on an agreement where two diversion dams would be built in the vicinity of Clemson College and rechannel the Seneca River.
(Note: If you have old pictures dating before 1990 that are Clemson related and you would like to share them, send them to me in an email with as much information about the picture as you can give and I will use it for a future “Clemson Historic Picture Of The Day”).
Scott Rhymer can be reached at Scottrhymer.firstname.lastname@example.org
Credit to Clemsonwiki.com