Norris Dam is the Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA) first hydroelectric project completed in 1936. The cost to build the dam came in at $36 Million.
Today, Norris Dam continues to bring us joy and continues to show us the benefits of its construction almost 80 years later.
Rocky Top, TN - Norris Dam is located on the Clinch River in Anderson and Campbell County TN and is a great stop for your Norris Lake vacation. The Dam was constructed to help with the serious flooding that would overtake the Tennessee Valley each year. The site of Norris Dam was originally named the “Cove Creek Site” but was later named after a Nebraskan Senator named George Norris, who was a longtime supporter of TVA and government owned power.
Construction on Norris Dam began in 1933 but the site had been named as a potential as early as 1911. The Dam was completed in 1936. In order to build the Dam TVA had to purchase over 156,000 acres and it also had to relocate 2,841 families and 5,226 graves. The cost to build the dam came in at $36 Million. The Dam is 265 ft. high and it spans 1,860 ft. across the river. The reservoir is the largest on a tributary of the TN River and when the Dam is at full pool level the reservoir covers 33,840 acres and spans 129 miles.
Since July 28th, 1936 the dam has been providing electricity to the TN Valley by utilizing it’s two 50,000 kilowatt generators. The construction of the Dam also led to the creation of the town of Norris. The town began as a place to house the people working on the Dam. It became a model for later construction sites around the country. Norris also featured some of the first all electric homes in the nation.
The creation of Norris Dam has helped keep the TN River navigable all year round, helped control the flood waters that ravaged the TN Valley, and has also helped in bringing a new economy to the Eastern TN Valley. Thanks to Norris Dam we are able to enjoy 809 miles of shoreline at an average depth of 75 ft. Norris Dam continues to bring us joy and continues to show us the benefits of its construction almost 80 years later. Take a drive over the dam and stop at the overlook. Great place for a quick picnic with panoramic views of the dam and Norris Lake.
Cost: Admission is Free
Location: Hwy 441 Rocky Top, TN 37769
Directions: Take I-75 exit 128, follow Hwy 441 to the entrance of the dam