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Richard B. Russell Dam & Lake

History

 

"Ole Dan Tucker was a grand ole man;
He washed his face in a fryin' pan;
Combed his hair with a wagon wheel;
  Died with a tooth ache in his heel !"
 

During the late 1700's, this famous folk song was sung by slaves in praise of the Reverend Dan Tucker, an early inhabitant of what is now the Richard B. Russell Lake area. The Reverend Tucker was an amiable man, well liked and admired by everyone. Although much has changed since Reverend Tucker's time, the area remains strikingly beautiful and picturesque, with many visitors expressing their appreciation of the Corps maintaining the aesthetic qualities of the lake and shoreline.

Federal regulations prohibit private exclusive use of public lands surrounding the lake. This has created an experience that is similar to fishing on a remote Canadian lake while being surrounded by civilization. A unique experience for most outdoor enthusiasts in the area. With its undeveloped shorelines, Russell Lake provides an outdoor experience that goes beyond just fishing; visitors enjoy the beautiful scenery as well as the abundant wildlife.

The project is located in the Piedmont region of Georgia and South Carolina on the upper Savannah River, 30 miles downstream from Hartwell Dam and 37 miles upstream from J. Strom Thurmond Dam.

The Richard B. Russell Project
Richard B. Russell Dam and Lake, a multipurpose project constructed under the supervision of the Savannah District, U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, was authorized for construction by the 1966 Flood Control Act as Trotters Shoals Lake, later renamed to commemorate a late senator from Georgia, Richard B. Russell. The authorization document outlined the plan of development for the basin with authorized purposes of power production, incidental flood control, recreation, additional stream flow regulation, water supply, and fish and wildlife management. Permanent filling of the reservoir began in October 1983 and reached full pool of 26,650 acres at elevation 475 msl in December 1984. The first of four conventional units came on line and began producing power in January 1985.
Richard Brevard Russell
1897 - 1971
Richard Brevard Russell was a man who, as Herman E. Talmadge, former Georgia Governor and U.S. Senator, stated upon Russell's death, "wore the mantle of leadership – in the Senate and in the hierarchy of government – proudly and with distinction."

Born in Winder, Barrow County, Georgia on November 2, 1897, Russell was the fourth of fifteen children. He attended public schools, graduating from the Seventh District Agricultural and Mechanical School in Powder Springs, Georgia, in 1914; from Gordon Institute in Barnesville, Georgia, in 1915 and from the law department of the University of Georgia at Athens in 1918. He also served with the U.S. Naval Reserve in 1918.

In 1919, Russell was admitted to the bar and took up practice in Winder, Georgia.

In 1921, at the age of 22, Russell became a member of the state house of representatives and served there for 10 years, thus beginning his long and devoted service to the United States, Georgia and politics. In 1927, at the age of 29, he was elected speaker of the house, a position he held until his election as governor of Georgia in 1931. At 33, Russell became the youngest governor in the history of Georgia. Serving in this position during the depression years, Russell met the challenge of the financial crisis by adopting an austere government system, bringing with it a sweeping reorganization.

During the last year of his term as governor (1933), Russell was elected to the United States Senate, and it was there that he spent the last 38 years of his life. Russell quickly became an effective and respected member of the Senate. At the time of his death, he was chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, ranking democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, (which he chaired for 16 years), senior member of the Senate Democratic Policy and Steering Committees, ranking democrat on the Senate Aeronautical and Space Science Committee, and ranking democrat on the Joint Committee on Atomic Science.

During his years in the political arena, Senator Russell earned the reputation of being a fair and honest man. His calm and judicious actions in times of crisis helped earn his election as President Pro Tempore of the Senate in January 1969. Spiro T. Agnew, vice-president at the time, later stated that "Richard Russell was a man of towering intellect and unwavering integrity. He was a partisan of principle, who, in times of crisis, never failed to place the broad interests of his country above all other considerations."

Russell served as President Pro Tempore until his death on January 21, 1971, in Washington, D.C. He is interred in Russell Memorial Park in Winder, Georgia.

United States Naval Reserve
1918
Georgia House of Representatives
1921 - 1931
 
Speaker, House of Representatives
1927 - 1931
 
Governor of Georgia
1931 - 1933
United States Senator from Georgia
1933 - 1971
President Pro Tempore
1969 - 1971

Other Famous People from the Area...

Nancy Hart was a first cousin to Daniel Boone, was a zealous Patriot, skilled doctor, gracious neighbor and Revolutionary War heroine. A spy for the colonists, Hart captured a cabin full of Tories after they shot her turkey and forced her to cook it. The Cherokees name for Hart was Wahatchee which means “War Woman.”

Joseph Squire Rucker was Georgia’s first millionaire. A descendant of original Piedmont settlers, he founded the Ruckersville Banking Company in 1839. Rucker, said to have genius ability in business, amassed huge land holdings and successfully operated a large antebellum cotton plantation.

Daniel Tucker was an early inhabitant of what is now the Richard B. Russell Lake area. He was born February 11, 1740 and died at the age of 78 on April 7, 1818. His grave rests on the shores of the lake. The amiable Reverend Daniel Tucker was a minister of the gospel, ferry boat operator and farmer. A friend to planters and slaves a like, Tucker prayed with both. To praise Tucker, slaves sang verse after verse of this popular folk song at corn shuckings and other social gatherings.

Stephen Heard was a Revolutionary War hero who was named Georgia’s first governor in 1781. Heard amassed over 6500 acres of land for his heroic Revolutionary War service. He founded Heardmont Plantation and many of his descendants have remained in this area.

General Samuel Elbert, a Revolutionary War hero, was elected governor of Georgia in 1785. During his term, the University of Georgia was chartered – the first state-chartered university in the nation. Streets, towns and Elbert County are named in honor of this Patriotic and popular hero.

James Edward Calhoun as the legend goes, was so fond of the Navy, he built his home in the shape of a boat, and slept in a hammock. True or not, Calhoun, relative of former Vice President, John C. Calhoun, was the prosperous, innovative owner of Millwood, a 10,000 acre plantation. After traveling the globe, Calhoun inherited Millwood in the 1830s, where he built a grist mill, two ferries, a cotton gin and a gold mine.

Cultural Resources

The Corps provided funds through the Archaeological Services Branch of the National Park Service to provide intensive archaeological and historical investigations to satisfy the requirements of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 and the Historic Preservation Act of 1974. The project area includes about 600 prehistoric and historic sites, 68 of which were excavated and documented. Investigators also interviewed numerous long-time residents and searched historical files and records. Investigations revealed sites ranging in age from the end of the last Ice Age to the early 20th century. From the many field documents and published findings, the Corps' and the National Park Service partnered to publish two popular books:

Because of the variety of cultural resources identified during the survey, the entire project was nominated to the National Register of Historic Places as a "Multiple Resource Area." The Corps' goal has been to make the cultural resources program a model project which benefits the general public and the scientific community by documenting and preserving the cultural record of the Georgia and South Carolina Piedmont.