US Army Corps of Engineers
Savannah District Website

Construction Begins

In 1935, the New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam was officially authorized as a US Army Corps of Engineers project. It was a multi-agency undertaking that took three years and more than 47,500 cubic yards of concrete.

On May 14, 1935 the Corps and local supporters hosted a ceremony to celebrate the start of construction. Local officials attended the event, including Augusta Mayor Richard E. Allen, Jr., a county attorney, and a state senator. The Corps was represented by Lieutenant Colonel Creswell Garlington and Colonel Earl I. Brown. The editor of the Augusta Chronicle, Thomas J. Hamilton, poured the first concrete. The newspaper described the first workers to pour concrete:  

Eight employees of the Arundel Corporation, including seven Negro workers, played an important part in pouring the first concrete on the lock and dam on the Savannah River, which followed elaborate exercises yesterday morning. These men, known only to a few, and whose names were not mentioned in laudatory speech, performed with simple efficiency their small but nonetheless necessary parts in carrying out the momentous event. Manuel Friday, Negro workman, had the honor of spreading the first concrete poured on the project from the mixer operated by William Guidar, white workman. The concrete, gravel, and other materials were placed in the mixer by Lindsey Pryor, Will Flam, Ike Collins, Nathaniel McNeal, Martin Dorr, and John Satterwhite, all Negro workmen.

              Augusta Chronicle, May 14, 1935

Men place concrete inside the coffer dam, 1935.
Workers built support buildings, such as these houses for the lock keepers, in addition to the lock and dam, 1935.
Early rendering of the New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam from the Augusta Chronicle, December 22, 1933.
How much did it cost?
Who built it?