The Old Hickory Lock and Dam, located on the Cumberland River at mile 216.2 in Sumner and Davidson Counties, Tennessee, and are approximately 25 miles upstream from Nashville, Tenn. The City of Hendersonville is situated on the northern shoreline of the lake and the City of Old Hickory is located on the southern side of the lake, just upstream of the lock and dam. The lake extends 97.3 miles upstream to Cordell Hull Lock and Dam near Carthage, Tenn.
Old Hickory Lock and Dam was authorized for construction by the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1946 as a unit of a comprehensive development plan for the Cumberland River Basin. The project was designed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and built by private contractors under the Corps of Engineers' supervision. Construction started in January 1952, and dam closure was completed in June 1954. The project was completed for full beneficial use in December 1957 with the placement of the final hydroelectric power unit in operation. The lock, dam, powerhouse, and lake are operated and supervised by Corps of Engineers' personnel under the direction of the Nashville District Engineer. Old Hickory Lake is a mainstream storage impoundment on the Cumberland River operated by the Corps of Engineers. The reservoir contains 22,500 surface acres at an elevation of 445 feet above mean sea level (MSL). Water level fluctuations are minimal with minimum pool elevation at 442 feet MSL. Public facilities include eight marinas; two Corps operated campgrounds, and 41 boat access sites.
The reservoir is essentially a run-or-river type without regulating storage other than for incidental flood control through surcharge operation, and for pondage for power generation and lockages; hence, low water flow of the river will be increased only indirectly through the use and passage of discharges from upstream plants. Such releases, however, result in a more sufficient and higher quality of water for domestic and industrial consumption and use are effective in pollution abatement downstream. Due to the fairly constant level maintained under normal operating conditions, the reservoir is well suited for conservation and recreational purposes.