Fontana Dam is a massive dam that is part of the TVA project to provide power and prevent flooding. It only took two years to complete because there was over 5,000 people working on it round the clock from 1942-1944. It was set to power in 1945. It is the highest dam east of the Mississippi River. It was built back then to provide power to make planes and the atomic bomb for WW II and also for Tennessee flood control. Over 3,000 people were forced to move from their homes and 5 cemeteries were moved. 26 cemeteries still remain that can’t be reached by car. All of this information can be seen on the Wall Of History at the Bryson City Administrative Building at Riverfront Park from our last blog (see it in our “wall” album). Beholding this dam and this huge 10,200 acre lake, sure is something! It was a nice sunny day when we went to visit and the people at the visitors center were full of information for us. There is a website by the TVA where you can check the water levels to see when they might release the dam. It is very rare that this may occur, but I keep my eyes and ears out just in case. I think it would be an awesome sight to watch when they open the two giant flood gates to let the water out. Of course, I certainly wouldn’t want to be anywhere in the path of all that rushing water. This lake is beautiful and can be seen from many pull offs and scenic over looks along the way. It’s waters are full of life giving power and yet far beneath the surface, lies the tale of the past and the way it all began, with flooded stores and homes still somewhere beneath. But it’s not the only lake that was made in such a way. There are many dams that were created this way all over. Just think about the history of it if you happen to be here fishing and pull up something from the past, like an old board or something. I am sure the people at the TVA are thankful to those who gave up their homes for them to have electricity and also all the people around in the area are thankful to the dam for the flood control keeping more homes from washing away. Part of the AT can be taken from Fontana Dam, so while your out for the day, take a nice little hike out to part of the AT if you feel up to it. Just make sure you have plenty of water and the proper shoes. If you just want to see the dam, enjoy the lake and bring a picnic lunch. It is a great way to learn about history from the people in the visitors center too. Oh, and the views are gorgeous!