Missouri Digital Heritage :: Collections :: Bagnell Dam Construction Photographs

Missouri State Archives
Bagnell Dam Construction Photographs

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Bagnell Dam on the East Hill


The Lake of the Ozarks is one of the largest man-made lakes in the United States. With a surface area of 55,000 acres, stretching 92 miles from end to end, and over 1,150 miles of shoreline, this lake brings in millions of dollars in tourism to Missouri each year. The lake is a direct result of the creation of the Bagnell Dam, built by the Union Electric Light and Power Company of St. Louis (now AmerenUE) between 1929 and 1931. Bagnell Dam, named for the closest town when construction first started, is a 148-foot tall, 2,543 foot-long concrete gravity dam with a 520-foot long spillway, and a 511-foot long power station. The Stone and Webster Engineering Corporation designed and engineered the dam construction on the Osage River at a cost of more than $30 million.  At the time of Bagnell Dam’s construction, the Osage River valley was lush and fertile. Damming of the Osage River caused the river to snake back on itself, submerging the timber and farm land. The project also caused the eventual destruction of Old Linn Creek, then the Camden County seat. Union Electric Light and Power Company bought the land of many of the residents and the townsfolk left to form Linn Creek and Camdenton. These new towns thrived because of creation of the Lake of the Ozarks and its bourgeoning tourist economy.

The Collection

This collection of 845 photographs contains aerial and general views of all phases of the Bagnell Dam construction project. It also documents the workers, the buildings erected for housing and other needs, and views of areas around the dam site. The collection is located in the Missouri State Archives.

Rights and Reproductions

Copyright is in the public domain. Items reproduced for publication should carry the credit line: Courtesy of the Missouri State Archives. To order a reproduction from the archival TIFF file, inquire about permissions, or for information about prices, contact Missouri State Archives at: (573) 751-3280 or email archref@sos.mo.gov.

How to Use This Collection

This collection may be browsed in its entirety or it may be searched by title, subject, description, or date. Some categories of interest include the Osage River Flood, the Snyder Estate, and Scott's Island.

Additional Resources

Additional information about Bagnell Dam may be found at:

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