2018 Deercreek Dam DaysFeaturedLocal

Deer Creek Dam Celebrates 50 Years

Events and activities planned.

It has been 50 years since the Deer Creek Dam was completed. To celebrate, the managers of the dam will host a week of festivities celebrating its semicentennial. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will host dam tours, an open house and activities for kids.

Details on Events

Bobber the Water Safety Dog

Tours of the Deer Creek Dam will be held May 26-28, at 10 a.m., 2:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m. as well as May 31-June 1,  at 2 p.m., 6 p.m. and June 2-3, at 10 a.m., 2:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m..  For all dam tours, adults must present a valid government-issued ID, and children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Also, no backpacks or handbags are allowed on the tour, and photography inside the dam is prohibited. Tours will take place at the dam located at Deer Creek Lake.

Also held will be a Visitor Center Open House. Dates for this will be May 26-28, from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. and June 2-3, from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.. There will be activities for kids, visits from Bobber the Water Safety Dog, goody bags, a water safety boat, historical videos and displays. The address for this event is 21897 Deer Creek Road, Mount Sterling, OH 43143.

About the Dam

Deer Creek Dam serves as system to reduce flooding in the area caused by the Scioto, Ohio and on occasion Mississippi Rivers. By holding back water during downriver flooding events, it helps reduce the impact of excess amounts of rain. The lake serves as a storage area for the excess water and is released when needed.Total flood damage prevented by the dam is estimated at over $100 million.

Want to know how a dam works? Check out this video!

The Deer Creek Dam is one of more than 40 dams located in Ohio. It is under the operation of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Huntington District. The district, which spans give states and 45,000 square miles, is the largest in the United States in the management of flood risk reduction projects. The areas around the lake are under the control of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and is designed for flooding. Areas such as the Marina are leased to companies that operate them. All of the buildings in this flood zone are designed to be submerged if the lake should need to rise to that level.

January 2005 flooding near Chillicothe.

According to Bonnie Maki, Lake Manager, the highest level of flooding the lake experienced was in January 2005. Due to several days of heavy snow, ice and rain on saturated ground and warm temperatures, the Ohio Valley experience flooding it hadn’t seen in decades. Water levels at Deer Creek climbed above the roof of the Marina.

Currently, the Deer Dam holds back nearly 1,300 acres of water that feeds into Deer Creek which eventually empties into the Scioto River, just north of Chillicothe.  The dam has five permanent staff members with the assistance of people at the district office in Huntington, WV. Also, the lake it created lures tens of thousands of guests each year with a 110-room lodge, over 300 campsites, an 18-hole golf course and a 1,700 foot beach.  The dam also created annual festivities surrounding its existence, most notably, the Deer Creek Dam Days Festival.

History of Deer Creek Dam

Construction of the Deer Creek Dam began in 1965 as a part of the Flood Control Act of 1938. Built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the dam would also create a 1,277 acre lake that would serve as a recreation, wildlife and fishing center when not in use for flood protection.  In 1968, the Dam was completed at the total cost amounted to around $19 million. Then in 1974, the Ohio Division of Natural Resources would open the State Park.

The dam was built on Prehistoric mounds.  The tribe that gathered there did so around 2,000 B.C.E. and buried the remains of their members on Tick Ridge. The artifacts are now removed and the site has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Additionally, President William G. Harding used a cabin in the area for his personal hunting and fishing.  Built in 1918, the cabin was owned by attorney general, Harry M. Daugherty.

Find Out More

Additional details about the dam can be found at the Huntington District – Water Management website or the Deer Creek State Park website.

Check out our articles on Deercreek Dam Days.

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Kevin Douglas

Kevin Douglas is from northern Pickaway County and a 2007 graduate of Teays Valley High School. He completed his undergraduate studies in Communication at The Ohio State University in 2010.

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