White River Valley Historical Society
Camp Ozark – Powersite Dam Photograph Collection
The Ozark Power and Water Company (later Empire Electric) received authorization from Congress in 1910 to build a dam on the White River in Taney County. Constructed between 1911 and 1913, the Powersite Dam was the first hydroelectric dam in the State of Missouri. It was designed and built by the Ambursen Hydraulic Construction Company of Boston, Massachusetts at a cost of $2.3 million. The project was a tremendous asset for the local economy and created over one thousand jobs. Most of the workers lived at the dam site due to transportation limitations in Taney County. They and their families were housed in tents, cottages and bunkhouses built near the dam site. The settlement became known as Camp Ozark, and included an on-site store, commissary and eventually a school for the workers’ children. After the dam was completed in 1913, the Camp was abandoned. The remaining buildings were eventually incorporated into nearby settlements on the shores of Lake Taneycomo. Lake Taneycomo was formed after the completed dam was first closed on May 10, 1913. It took a mere thirty hours for the bottomland to fill and create the lake once the dam was closed.
The 101 photographs in this collection illustrate the construction of the Powersite Dam in all its phases. The images include those of workers, machinery, barges, buildings, excavation work, railroads, and the spillway outlet and powerhouse. The collection is located at the White River Valley Historical Society in Forsyth, Missouri.
Rights and Reproductions
Use of digital images found on this website is permitted for private or personal use only. This material may be protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S. Code). Copyrighted materials may be used for research, instruction, and private study under the provisions of Fair Use, outlined in section 107 of copyright law. Publication, commercial use, or reproduction of the images or accompanying data requires prior written permission from the copyright holder. User assumes all responsibility for obtaining the necessary permission to publish (including in digital format) from the copyright holder. For more information on using this collection, contact White River Valley Historical Society, Forsyth, Missouri.
How to Use This Collection
This collection may be browsed in its entirety or it may be searched by Title, Description, Date and Subject.
Additional information about the Powersite Dam and Camp Ozark may be found at: Springfield-Greene County Local History Collections, White River Valley Historical Society. For similar collections, see also: Bagnell Dam Construction Photograph Collection on Missouri Digital Heritage.