Hartwell Dam was constructed across the Savannah River near Anderson, South Carolina. It lies about seven miles below the confluence of the Tugaloo and Seneca Rivers, which join to form the Savannah, which in turn forms part of the state line between Georgia and South Carolina.
The catchment basin formed by the dam is Hartwell Lake - one of the southeast’s largest and most popular public recreation lakes built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Construction of the dam began in 1955, and completed in 1963. It was built as a result of the Corps’ Flood Control Project. It also provided a constant supply of water for all those downstream on the Savannah River. The entire project comprised 76,450 acres of land and water and cost more than $89 million.
The dam is constructed of more than 880,000 cubic yards of concrete and more than 3 million pounds of reinforcing steel. The concrete section is 1,900 feet long and rises 204 feet above the riverbed at its highest point.
The reservoir is about 18,000 feet long (over 3 miles) and covers about 56,000 acres, with a shoreline of more than 950 miles. The depth of the lake behind the dam is approximately 180 feet.
Earthen embankments and dikes lengthen the dam at both ends. The spillway contains 12 large gates, each 40 feet by 35.5 feet high, for a quick release of water from the lake.
Originally designed for three purposes - hydropower, flood control, and navigation – the Hartwell project later added recreation, water quality, water supply, and fish and wildlife management programs.