Lake Murray Dam in central South Carolina (officially named Dreher Shoals Dam) was built between 1927 and 1930. At the time of its completion, it was the world’s longest earthen embankment dam and Lake Murray, the largest man-made lake. The lake covers 50,000 acres and the dam stretches 1.7 miles between the Town of Lexington on the west and the Town of Irmo on the east. The lake provides, power, recreation, and water to area residents.
Miss Connie, an amazing woman I met shortly after moving here, remembers being taken by her father to watch the reservoir begin filling on August 31, 1929. She talked about all the families (approximately 5,000) whose land was purchased, the 2,000 or so men working for 50 cents a day clearing trees, moving graves, moving whole towns (10 to 12), and the magic day, December 1, 1930 that the power came on. Miss Connie made the dam come alive for me and I am still fascinated by it.
In 2005, a second dam was built at the base of the river side of the original dam for earthquake mitigation and additional flood protection. There are now two roads with bike ways and a 1.7 mile walking path crossing the dam. The roads split/come together at either end of the dam with the road going west and the walkway on top of the original dam and the road heading east down between the two dams. The view is much better from the top!
There is no way to take one picture of the entire dam. There is also no safe way to take pictures of the new portion and the lower road. Hence, the slide show which starts on the Lexington side, crosses over to the Irmo side, and ends in the park by the docks used for fishing and boating.