Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time. Thomas Merton

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Scenic North Alabama: Wheeler Dam

What a nice day. We decide to head west on US Hwy 72 and see where we end up. Eventually, we find ourselves at the Tennessee Valley Authority's Wheeler Dam near Rogersville, Alabama. Here are some photos. Click on them for enlargements.

TVA was created in 1933 to improve navigation, control flooding, provide electricity through the generation of hydroelectric power, and improve economic development in the Tennessee Valley, a region that was one of the most economically depressed in the country. A total of 50 dams have been built along the Tennessee River and its tributaries from Knoxville to the Ohio River. Construction on Wheeler Dam began in 1933 and it was completed in 1936. The dam impounds the Wheeler Lake of 67,070 acres and its tailwaters feed into Wilson Lake. The Wheeler Reservoir above the dam stretches 74 miles east to Guntersville Dam. Fifteen miles downstream from Wheeler Dam is Wilson Dam at Florence and Muscle Shoals. Wheeler Dam is named for Civil War general Joseph "Joe" Wheeler, who later became a U.S. Congressman.

South end of the dam from the overlook parking lot

Sign at south end of dam

About to drive across the dam

Entrance to one of the locks at the north end of the dam

Another view of the locks looking south

Sign showing the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) dam system on the Tennessee River (Wheeler Dam is in the lower left portion). Unfortunately, the sign has been embellished with graffiti.


  1. I think dams are quite fascinating too Melissa. There looks to be a serious amount of complex engineering on that Tenessee River. I remember when we used to build mud dams over tiny little streams in our neighbourhood as children. As a girl with two older brothers what else could I

  2. Cathy, I think we did some of the same things. Also, beaver dams are fascinating. Many of the dams on the Tennessee are more impressive than Wheeler; however, none can compare with structures such as Hoover Dam on the Colorado River near Las Vegas. I've seen it from the air. One of these days I hope to see it at ground level. One thing about dams: I generally prefer to remain upstream from them! lol!

  3. Looks like you had a beautiful day.
    I'm with you - best to stay upstream of the dam. I have to admit I get a little anxious thinking about the power (for good or bad) of all that water.