Wilson Dam is a dam spanning the Tennessee River between Lauderdale County and Colbert County in the U.S. state of Alabama. Completed in 1924 by the United States Army Corps of Engineers, it impounds Wilson Lake, and is one of nine Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) dams on the Tennessee River. The dam was declared a National Historic Landmark on November 13, 1966 for its role as the first dam to come under the TVA's administration.[2][3] The dam is named for former President of the United States Woodrow Wilson.

Wilson Dam
Wilson Dam.jpg
View of Wilson Dam from the power house end of the dam.
LocationShoals Area, Alabama
Coordinates34°48′03″N 87°37′33″W / 34.80083°N 87.62583°W / 34.80083; -87.62583
Construction began1918
Opening date1924
Construction cost$47,000,000
Dam and spillways
ImpoundsTennessee River
Height137 ft (42 m)
Length4,541 ft (1,384 m)
CreatesWilson Lake
Total capacity640,200 acre⋅ft (789,700,000 m3)
Surface area15,500 acres (6,300 ha)
Wilson Dam
Wilson Dam is located in Alabama
Wilson Dam
Wilson Dam is located in the United States
Wilson Dam
Nearest cityFlorence, Alabama
Coordinates34°48′3″N 87°37′33″W / 34.80083°N 87.62583°W / 34.80083; -87.62583Coordinates: 34°48′3″N 87°37′33″W / 34.80083°N 87.62583°W / 34.80083; -87.62583
Area20 acres (8.1 ha)
Built1925 (1925)
ArchitectArmy Corps of Engineers
NRHP reference #66000147
Significant dates
Added to NRHPNovember 13, 1966[1]
Designated NHLNovember 13, 1966[2]

Description and historyEdit

Wilson Dam is located at river mile of the Tennessee River, spanning the river in a roughly north-south orientation between Florence and Muscle Shoals in northern Alabama.[3] Construction on Wilson Dam began in 1918 and was completed in 1924 under supervision of Hugh L. Cooper.[4] First electricity generating unit did not go into service until September 1925, and in next few years only 40 percent of electric generating capacity was installed.[5] The dam is 137 feet (42 m) high and stretches 4,541 feet (1,384 m) across the Tennessee River.[4] The cost to build the dam was almost $47 million.[6]

The main lock at Wilson Dam is 110 feet (34 m) wide by 600 feet (180 m) long.[7] The lock lift is 94 feet (29 m).[7] It is the highest single lift lock east of the Rocky Mountains[4] An auxiliary lock has two 60 feet (18 m) wide by 300 feet (91 m) long chambers that operate in tandem. Over 3,700 vessels pass through Wilson Dam's locks each year.[4]

The generating capacity of Wilson dam is 663 megawatts of electricity.[4]


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. January 23, 2007.
  2. ^ a b "Wilson Dam". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2007-10-28.
  3. ^ a b Polly M. Rettig and Horace J. Sheely, Jr. (February 1976) National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Wilson Dam, National Park Service and Accompanying 2 photos, 1 aerial and 1 from below, undated.
  4. ^ a b c d e "TVA Website". Retrieved 2007-05-16.
  5. ^ http://www.encyclopediaofalabama.org/article/h-3268
  6. ^ "US Army Corp of Engineers Website". Retrieved 2008-09-11.
  7. ^ a b "Lock Characteristics General Report" (PDF). General Characteristics of Locks. US Army Corps of Engineers. 29 December 2009.

External linksEdit