One of the largest single events that took place in the history of Piedmont, next to the arrival of the railroad, was the official opening of the Clearwater Lake Dam. Held on Memorial Day, May 30, 1948, the event was witnessed by various state and federal officials and top officers in the Corps of Engineers Little Rock District. It was even attended by Lieutenant Governor James T. Blair, Jr..

Construction of the outlet works was initiated in May 1940 and was completed by March 1942. Due to work stoppage during World War II, the overall project was not completed until September 1958.

Fed by the Black River, Clearwater lake is located at river mile 257.4, and lies within 6 miles of the City of Piedmont. With a total of 898 square miles of drainage above the dam, the entire cost of construction was a mere $ 9,120,000. Stretching over a length of 4,225 feet, the maximum height above the stream bed is 154 feet.
A whopping 5,500,000 cubic yards of earth was used to make the dam. Elevation to the top is 608 feet. The emergency spillway is 190 feet long with a crest if 567 feet. The spillway tunnel length is 1,771 feet long with a diameter of 23 feet.

Clearwater Lake has 1,630 acres at the top of the conservation pool during the winter months. The flood pool top is 10,350 surface acres with a total storage capacity of over 413,000 acre feet of water.

Although Clearwater Lake's original purpose was allotted for flood control, today it has become one of the largest tourist attractions through out Southeast Missouri. Little Rock Corps of Engineers estimate that over a million people per year travel to Clearwater to enjoy camping, canoeing, boating, fishing, swimming and just plain relaxing.

Building the Lake

Pictures courtesy of the US Army Corp of Engineers.  For more information on Clearwater Lake and other historical photos visit their website at: