People & Places with Pierce: J. Strom Thurmond Dam and Lake - WFXG FOX 54 - News Now

People & Places with Pierce: J. Strom Thurmond Dam and Lake

People & Places with Pierce: J. Strom Thurmond Dam and Lake (WFXG) People & Places with Pierce: J. Strom Thurmond Dam and Lake (WFXG)
CLARKS HILL, SC (WFXG) -

Some would argue that life is better at J. Strom Thurmond Lake, but its original purpose wasn't to be an oasis.

Game Warden First Class Bobby Timmerman with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources says: "This is the largest man-made lake east of the Mississippi."

Scott Hyatt, operations project manager for the J. Strom Thurmond Dam & Lake explains: "Clarks Hill Dam was built to initially support flood protection in downtown Augusta. It was about an 8-year process building the dam, completed in 1954. While it was being built, Congress actually authorized the Corps to start spending money on recreation facilities."

And that would quickly prove to be a huge draw.

"We get 3 ½ million or so visitors a year that come out to the lake," said Hyatt. "To put that in perspective, the Grand Canyon gets about 4 million visitors a year."

John Hamblen, a park ranger at the J. Strom Thurmond Dam & Lake adds: "There are numerous beaches that we have around here. Some of our biggest visited areas are Clarks Hill Park on the South Carolina side and also Lake Springs Recreation area on the Georgia side."

The lake has been the CSRA's place to play since the dam opened up over 60 years ago, but very few people know what lies underneath the water in one part of the lake.

"There were actually three towns, three sister towns very close together where the Broad River and the Savannah River come together," explained Hyatt. "Those towns popped up in the late 1700's."

The towns would slowly fizzle and by the 1940's, were abandoned to make way for the lake.

"If the lake does go down far enough you can see old outlines of where buildings and roads used to be," said Hyatt.

The three sister towns may be long gone, but the controversy surrounding the name of the dam and lake lingers.

"The dam was originally named after the town of Clarks Hill," said Hyatt. "In the early months of 1988, the dam was officially renamed the J. Strom Thurmond Dam and Lake. And there was a big protest after that. On the Georgia side, they went to their state legislators and they actually passed a bill that said if you're in the state of Georgia, spending state dollars on this lake, you may call the lake Clarks Hill."

Both names are still used.

"A lot of times we just refer to it as the lake to keep people happy," joked Hyatt.

No matter what you call it, one thing is sure. It's the place to get away.

If you have a person or a place in the CSRA that you'd like to see featured on People & Places with Pierce, send Pierce an email or connect with him on Facebook or Twitter.

Copyright 2018 WFXG. All rights reserved.

  • NEWSMore>>

  • Emmys: An epic proposal, but winners lacking in diversity

    Emmys: An epic proposal, but winners lacking in diversity

    Tuesday, September 18 2018 3:17 AM EDT2018-09-18 07:17:02 GMT
    Tuesday, September 18 2018 11:09 AM EDT2018-09-18 15:09:04 GMT
    (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP). Glenn Weiss, right, winner of the award for outstanding directing for a variety special for "The Oscars" and Jan Svendsen pose in the press room after getting engaged at the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards on Monday, S...(Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP). Glenn Weiss, right, winner of the award for outstanding directing for a variety special for "The Oscars" and Jan Svendsen pose in the press room after getting engaged at the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards on Monday, S...

    That feel-good moment lightened the mood of an evening that otherwise had a lackluster feel and disappointed many with the lack of ethnic diversity among its winners.

    More >>

    That feel-good moment lightened the mood of an evening that otherwise had a lackluster feel and disappointed many with the lack of ethnic diversity among its winners.

    More >>
  • Trump imposes tariffs on $200B more of Chinese goods

    Trump imposes tariffs on $200B more of Chinese goods

    Monday, September 17 2018 6:57 PM EDT2018-09-17 22:57:00 GMT
    Tuesday, September 18 2018 11:01 AM EDT2018-09-18 15:01:04 GMT
    The tariffs will start at 10 percent and rise to 25 percent starting Jan. 1. (Source: AP Photo/Ben Margot)The tariffs will start at 10 percent and rise to 25 percent starting Jan. 1. (Source: AP Photo/Ben Margot)

    Trump intensifies trade war by imposing tariffs on $200B more of China goods starting next week.

    More >>

    Trump intensifies trade war by imposing tariffs on $200B more of China goods starting next week.

    More >>
  • GOP hopes testimony showdown can save Kavanaugh's nomination

    GOP hopes testimony showdown can save Kavanaugh's nomination

    Tuesday, September 18 2018 1:30 AM EDT2018-09-18 05:30:22 GMT
    Tuesday, September 18 2018 11:00 AM EDT2018-09-18 15:00:37 GMT
    (AP Photo/Alex Brandon). In this Sept. 6, 2018 photo, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh reacts as he testifies after questioning before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington. Official Washington is scrambling Monday to assess...(AP Photo/Alex Brandon). In this Sept. 6, 2018 photo, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh reacts as he testifies after questioning before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington. Official Washington is scrambling Monday to assess...

    Republicans reversed course and agreed to the hearing in the face of growing demands by GOP senators to hear directly from Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, now a psychology professor in California.

    More >>

    Republicans reversed course and agreed to the hearing in the face of growing demands by GOP senators to hear directly from Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, now a psychology professor in California.

    More >>
  • People and Places with PierceMore>>

  • People & Places with Pierce: Night In Boxes

    People & Places with Pierce: Night In Boxes

    Tuesday, September 18 2018 8:29 AM EDT2018-09-18 12:29:05 GMT
    People & Places with Pierce: Night In Boxes - Aiken (WFXG)People & Places with Pierce: Night In Boxes - Aiken (WFXG)

    An Aiken couple is offering a different spin on date night. Get the full story Wednesday at 10:00 p.m. on FOX 54 News Now.

    More >>

    An Aiken couple is offering a different spin on date night. Get the full story Wednesday at 10:00 p.m. on FOX 54 News Now.

    More >>
  • People & Places with Pierce: Aiken Lightsaber Club

    People & Places with Pierce: Aiken Lightsaber Club

    Thursday, September 6 2018 8:52 AM EDT2018-09-06 12:52:47 GMT
    People & Places with Pierce: Aiken Lightsaber Club (WFXG)People & Places with Pierce: Aiken Lightsaber Club (WFXG)

    A new club in Aiken wants the force to be with you. Clifford “Trey” Jones, III, co-founder of the Aiken Lightsaber Club, explains: “It started off as 2 Star Wars fanboys but now it’s more about reaching kids.”

    More >>

    A new club in Aiken wants the force to be with you. Clifford “Trey” Jones, III, co-founder of the Aiken Lightsaber Club, explains: “It started off as 2 Star Wars fanboys but now it’s more about reaching kids.”

    More >>
  • People & Places with Pierce: Agape Chocolates

    People & Places with Pierce: Agape Chocolates

    Wednesday, August 29 2018 2:12 PM EDT2018-08-29 18:12:28 GMT
    People & Places with Pierce: Agape Chocolates - Graniteville (WFXG)People & Places with Pierce: Agape Chocolates - Graniteville (WFXG)

    In an unassuming storefront right in the heart of downtown Graniteville, one man stands alone in his chocolate factory. James Stefanakos, owner and creator of Agape Chocolates...

    More >>

    In an unassuming storefront right in the heart of downtown Graniteville, one man stands alone in his chocolate factory. James Stefanakos, owner and creator of Agape Chocolates...

    More >>
Powered by Frankly