The lake was created by the construction of Bagnell Dam, which caused the Osage River to flood into surrounding valleys. The Union Electric Company out of St. Louis, Missouri started construction in August, 1929. Nearly two years later, in April, 1931, it was completed. The lake reached it's spillway elevation a month later on May 20, 1931.
A few interesting facts about the building of the dam are:
- Building Bagnell Dam was a $30 million dollar project.
- It created 10,000 jobs, which employed 25,000 workers over the course of the project
- Workman moved over 900 miles of fence, 32 cemetaries (2,850 graves), and the entire 500-person town of Linn Creek!!
- During Construction the lake was called both "Osage Reservoir" and "Lake Osage." It was officially named "Lake Benton" after former Senator Thomas Hart Benton, but it was so popularly referred to by it's location in the Ozarks that the name "Lake of the Ozarks" just stuck.
The Lake of the Ozarks is now the second largest man-made lake in Missouri. At the time of construction, it was the largest in the united states, and one of the largest in the world!
The Osage River, Niangua River, and numerous creeks and streams all contribute to the formation of the Lake of the Ozarks. It holds over 600 billion gallons of water. The Lake itself measure more than 90 miles in length, but has over 1,100 miles of shoreline in four different Missouri counties!
This is due to the serpentine shape of the lake, which has earned it the nickname of "The Magic Dragon." It may take a little imagination to see the resemblance, but it's there.
A wonderful place to learn more about the history of both Bagnell Dam and the Lake of the Ozarks is at Willmore Lodge. It is the home to the Lake Area Chamber of Commerce in addition to the Bagnell Dam History Museum, and hosts an absolutely gorgeous view of the lake.
You will find our luxury condominiums at the Lake of the Ozarks near what would be the base of the head/ top of the neck of the "Magic Dragon" here on Google maps off of Knox Road. You can see beautiful panoramic views of the Lake of the Ozarks from any location on our island. Visit us today and see just why our private island paradise is just the place to make your Lake of the Ozarks home.