1932 - Present
The Bagnell Dam was built by the Union Electric Light and Power Company between 1929 and 1931. Construction began two months before the stock market crash of 1929 and became the only major construction project in the nation during the Great Depression. Job seekers from across the country flocked to the Ozarks for work. Records show more than 20,000 workers helped on the dam’s construction at some time. The dam impounds the Osage River forming the Lake of the Ozarks, one of the largest man-made lakes in the country. The lake has a surface area of 55,000 acres and stretches for 92 miles. The Bagnell Dam is 148 feet tall and spans 2,543 feet in length, including a 511-foot long power station.
Water from the lake fuels the Osage Energy Center, located inside the dam. When the plant is operating, water flows from the lake through a large pipe called a penstock. The penstock carries water to large turbines, which are connected to a generator. Inside the generator, a magnet spins inside a stationary coil of wire. As the pressure of water flowing through the plant turns the turbine, the turbine turns the magnet inside the generator, producing electricity. Through this process, the power station supplies energy to nearly 42,000 homes in the region.
Date: 1932 - Present
Subject: Bagnell Dam (Mo.)
Contributing Institution: Springfield-Greene County Library District
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