About Norris Lake

The History of Norris Lake and Norris Dam TN

Norris Lake History - Dam

As one of the most desirable vacation destinations in the southeast, Norris Lake has a long history beginning as early as 1911. During this year, the location for a future dam development in the upper Tennessee Valley had been discovered. The future development site named “Cove Creek Site” at the time was chosen due to its natural landscape and ability to host a large dam. On October 1, 1933, the relatively new Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) took on their largest project and first Dam, the construction of Norris Dam. The initial budget for the project was over $32 million dollars. Flooding had been a problem for the Tennessee valley for some time, and it was the goal for Norris Dam to bring some stability to the uncontrollable and unpredictable flooding as well as provide a substantial power source to the area. The name for the dam was an honor given to a long time supporter of TVA and Nebraska Senator, George Norris (1861-1944).

On March 4, 1936, Norris Dam was completed with the gates closed. The finished dam itself is 1,860 feet long and 265 feet high. By January of 1937, the Norris Reservoir was filled completely creating the largest reservoir on a tributary of the Tennessee River. Norris Lake hosts 33,840 acres of water surface and approximately 809 miles of shoreline. TVA’s finished project, the Norris Dam, also proudly delivers a maximum energy delivery of 131,400 kilowatts.

During the construction process of Norris Dam and the reservoir required massive purchases and acquisitions. Over 152,000 acres of land were purchased, 2,841 families and 5,226 graves were relocated to provide the construction area needed for the huge TVA project. The town of Norris, TN was initially founded and built to house all of the thousands of workers involved in the construction of Norris Dam.

Norris Dam Plaque

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) was founded at the beginning of 1933. TVA was formed as a part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. The President’s legislation allowed TVA the ability to begin construction just a short time after its establishment.

Located in East Tennessee and just off of I-75, Norris Dam still resides proudly today. It continues to provide power to thousands and provide stability and flooding control to the Tennessee Valley and the 5 counties surrounding Norris Lake.

Norris Lake is now a beautiful scenic escape for thousands of families and visitors every year. The breathtaking rolling hills frame the perfectly placid and amazingly clear turquoise-green deep waters. Lake Norris is truly a rare and treasured find for those seeking its picturesque majesty. Norris Lake is one of the greatest areas for fishing, swimming, vacationing, boating, tubing, wakeboarding, water skiing, kayaking, canoeing, hiking, trails, camping, and just having an amazing time. Whether it is relaxation and peace that you seek or a new adventure with outdoor beauty to explore, the areas surrounding this lake will entice you to return again and again, year after year. You will always find something new with every visit. Norris Lake hosts many hidden private coves along its long and winding shores as well as miles and miles of hiking trails through the hills. Plenty of water and land to explore as you set off for an absolutely amazing vacation. And if you ever find yourself lost, always feel free to come and visit www.norrislake.com for all of your needs and information on this stunning region of East Tennesseee.

Norris Dam Wide

Additional Information:

  • Norris Dam Geographical Coordinates:
  • 36°13’27’N 84°05’29’W