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Nashville District celebrates 130 years of service

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District celebrates 130 years of service to the nation and the region in 2018. Army Special Order 191 created the Nashville District Aug. 18, 1888 under the command of Lt. Col. John W. Barlow.  He began the task of constructing a series of locks and dams on the Cumberland River.   

Today the Nashville District is responsible for directing all water resources activities of the Corps throughout the Cumberland River Basin, and navigation and regulatory matters in the Tennessee River Basin.  The District’s Construction and Operations program is spread throughout a 59,000 square mile area that touches seven states. In the Cumberland River Basin, the Nashville District operates and maintains 10 multi-purpose projects for navigation, flood damage reduction, hydropower, environmental stewardship, and recreation.  Nine of these generate hydroelectric power.  The district has four navigation locks on the Cumberland River, and operates 14 locks on the Tennessee River and one on the Clinch River at 10 Tennessee Valley Authority dams.

Nashville District Historical Timeline

Historical Vignettes

Community commemorates, dedicates Dale Hollow Dam on 75th Anniversary
CELINA, Tenn. (Oct. 19, 2018) – As a heavy fog lifted over Dale Hollow Dam and Reservoir during the 75th Anniversary Commemoration this morning, members of the community and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials brought into clear focus how communities, homes and farmlands were given up in the early 1940s to make way for the reservoir, and more than a thousand men worked day and night to construct the dam. A few even lost their lives supporting an expedited construction program.
Published: 10/19/2018
Corps team navigates Cumberland River to celebrate Districts’ 130th Anniversary
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Oct. 16, 2018) – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District employees, family members and retirees participated in a canoe, kayak, and boat voyage down the Cumberland River in celebration of the district’s 130th Anniversary.
Published: 10/16/2018
Nashville District celebrates its history, commits to future workforce readiness
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Aug. 18, 2018) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District celebrated its storied history and significant milestones of service to the region today at the 130th Anniversary Ball. Officials also committed to future workforce readiness, praising the past and present commitment of its employees, the organization’s greatest resource.
Published: 8/18/2018
Nashville District digs historic role building new passageway
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (July 27, 2015) – If you dig history, you’ll love how engineers excavated nearly 100-million dump truck loads of soil to connect the Tennessee and Tombigbee Rivers, opening a new passageway to the Gulf of Mexico in 1985.
Published: 7/27/2018
Region recognizes J. Percy Priest project on its 50th birthday
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (June 29, 2018) – Community leaders and citizens celebrated the 50th Anniversary of J. Percy Priest Dam and Reservoir today, acknowledging the project’s positive impact on the region since President Lyndon B. Johnson dedicated it as a perfect example of the new conservation 50 years ago.
Published: 6/29/2018
Nashville District tames Cumberland River with the 'Old Locks'
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Feb. 14, 2018) – Using wood coffer dams, primitive hand tools, A-frames and even animals to haul in supplies and stone blocks on tracks from nearby rock quarries, Army engineers constructed 15 navigation locks in the late 1800s and early 1900s to tame the Cumberland River for steamboats moving people and commerce throughout the region a century ago.
Published: 2/14/2018
Nashville District celebrating its 130th Anniversary in 2018
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Jan. 18, 2018) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District is celebrating its 130th anniversary in 2018. The Nashville District formed from the Chattanooga District to construct a series of locks and dams on the Cumberland River. Army Special Order 191 created the district Aug. 18, 1888, and Lt. Col. John W. Barlow took command.
Published: 1/18/2018
Tennessee Crossroads to feature Dale Hollow Dam’s story
CELINA, Tenn. (Sept. 13, 2017) – Where do you go when you want to learn about the unique and exiting places in Tennessee? Well the Tennessee Crossroads television program of course! And where does the Tennessee Crossroads staff go to learn about sustainable power and endless recreational opportunities? No place other than here at Dale Hollow Dam and Lake!
Published: 9/13/2017
Barkley Dam brought hope to region 50 years ago
GRAND RIVERS, Ky. (Aug. 20, 2016) – Barkley Dam, a symbol of progress in western Kentucky, turned 50 today with fanfare, remembrances and special tributes during a commemoration ceremony at the Badgett Playhouse Theater and reception at the community center.
Published: 8/20/2016
Dale Hollow Lake photo of ‘town that drowned’ goes viral on Facebook
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Feb. 25, 2016) – A photo with an aerial view of an old school house foundation visible on the bottom of Dale Hollow Lake is going viral on the lake’s Facebook page. It shows the only remaining remnant of the town of Willow Grove, known as the “town that drowned,” which can be seen through the pristine water when the lake elevation is low.
Published: 2/25/2016
Imagery of 1939 flood on USACE Digital Library
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Nov. 6, 2015) – An old photo album with historical imagery from the February 1939 flood of the Cumberland River Basin is now available to the public on the Internet in the USACE Digital Library.
Published: 11/6/2015
Center Hill historical marker dedicated
LANCASTER, Tenn. (Oct. 27, 2015) – Local community leaders and Corps officials dedicated a new Tennessee state historical marker today that highlights the technical significance of Center Hill Dam and Powerhouse and the project’s authorized purposes, which include recreation, hydropower, and flood risk reduction.
Published: 10/27/2015
Museum dedicated to transportation of Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway
COLUMBUS, Miss. (Feb. 6, 2015) – Thirty years after the dedication of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway, officials cut another ribbon today dedicating a museum that provides education outreach and features the value of transportation within the historical inland passageway built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from 1972 to 1984.
Published: 2/6/2015
Restoring American Bald Eagle to upper Cumberland region a tall tale
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Dec. 22, 2014) – Nurturing baby American Bald Eagles in a man-made crib atop a 23-foot tower seems like a tall tale, but that is exactly how biologists carried out a conservation plan in the late 1980s to restore the nation’s symbol to the upper Cumberland region.
Published: 12/22/2014
Nashville District showcasing historical maps from 1800s
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Sept. 16, 2014) – An 1874 military map of Middle Tennessee and 1888 map of Muscle Shoals were recently restored and replicas of them are now being showcased in the Barlow Conference Room located at the headquarters of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District.
Published: 9/16/2014
Retired lock operator recalls rich history of navigation at Hales Bar
JASPER, Tenn. (Jan. 13, 2014) — The decommissioned Hales Bar Navigation Lock is crumbling and in an obvious state of disrepair, but remains a historical landmark here on the bank of the Tennessee River for all boat captains who pass by it. A retired lock operator who served there a half a century ago visited recently to recall the days of old when the project operated in pristine condition and it was his job to lock through vessels delivering commerce up and down the waterway.
Published: 1/13/2014