The History of Bull Shoals Dam

Sky View of Bull Shoals Dam

Without Bull Shoals Dam, Driftwood Resort—Bull Shoals itself—might not exist. Learn more about the dam below.

Construction

Starting construction in 1947, Bull Shoals Dam took four years to build and another year to add the power system. Why did it take so long? One factor was World War II. In addition, a 7.8-mile conveyor belt—the world’s second largest—was constructed to deliver the 2.1 million cubic yards of concrete needed from Lee’s Mountain Quarry.

Coordinated by Harvey S. Slocom, nine companies worked on the project:

  • Brown & Root, Inc. of Houston, Texas
  • Wienderlich Contracting Co. of Jefferson City, Mo.
  • Peter Kiewit Son Co. of Omaha, Neb.
  • Winston Brothers Co. Minneapolis, Minn.
  • David G. Gorgon of Denver, Col.
  • Condon, Cunningham Co. of Omaha, Neb.
  • Morrison-Knudsen Co., Inc. of Boise, Idaho
  • J C McGuire & Co., of Los Angeles, Calif.
  • Charles T. Thompkins Co. of Washington, D.C.

They called themselves the Ozark Dam Constructors.

Cost

The largest dam in Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma, Bull Shoals Dam cost $76.4 million dollars. An additional $30 million for the power system put the dam’s cost over $100 million. Considering that 10 million gallons of water cycle through the hydroelectric system every minute to power the dam’s eight generators, it’s well worth the cost.

 

With interpretive exhibits, observation towers, and more, The James A. Gaston Visitor Center can give you more details on Bull Shoals Dam. While you’re in town, reserve a room with us!

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