Home
Home > Locations > Lakes > J. Percy Priest Lake > 50th Anniversary

Anniversary Report

President at Dedication


President Lyndon B. Johnson, 37th president of the United States, speaks during the dedication of J. Percy Priest Dam in Nashville, Tenn., June 29, 1968. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District constructed the dam and maintains and operates the project.

President Lyndon B. Johnson at dedication of J. Percy Priest Dam June 29, 1968

"The project we are dedicating has many purposes. It will protect your homes and your families against the ravages of flood. It will provide the additional electric power that the growing, historic city of Nashville needs in order to prosper and to attract new industries. It will store water for periods of drought.

But most important--to me, at least--it will create a beautiful new recreation area within 10 miles of the very center of this historic city of Nashville. It is a perfect example of the new conservation: 18,000 acres of unspoiled nature, within easy driving distance of a half-a-million people, for boating, camping, hiking, and swimming."

President Lyndon B. Johnson
J. Percy Priest Dam Dedication
June 29, 1968

J. Percy Priest Dam 50th Anniversary

J. Percy Priest Dam under construction April 15, 1968This year marks the 50th anniversary of the dedication of J. Percy Priest Dam and Reservoir.  On June 29, 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson made a visit to Nashville, Tenn., to honor the late Congressman J. Percy Priest by dedicating his namesake project on the Stones River.  Attendance at the event numbered over 4,000.

Construction of J. Percy Priest Dam began in June 1963 and was completed in December 1967.  Originally named the Stewarts Ferry Reservoir, the project was renamed in 1968 to celebrate the accomplishments of James Percy Priest.  Priest was a high school teacher, coach and reporter/editor for the Nashville Tennessean before he was elected to Congress. He represented Nashville and Davidson County from 1940 until his death in 1956. 

The dam houses one hydroelectric generator that produces an average annual energy output of 70 million kilowatt hours and has contributed significantly in reducing the frequency and severity of flooding in the Cumberland Valley. Supplemental benefits of the 14,200 acre lake and surrounding 19,011 acres of land include water supply to local municipalities and fish and wildlife management.  Recreation also remains a primary benefit.

In honor of the historic dedication event, the J. Percy Priest Lake staff would like to invite the public to an anniversary ceremony on Friday, June 29, 2018. Details will be finalized and announced via the lake’s Facebook and website in the coming months.

Historical Articles

Collapse All Expand All
EMKayan Magazine, Morrison Knudsen Company records, Boise State University Library, Special Collections and Archives
Dam rises in Nashville City Limits Article Page 1 
 Dam rises in Nashville City Limits Article Page 2
EMKayan Magazine, Morrison Knudsen Company records, Boise State University Library, Special Collections and Archives
River Harness on Outskirts of Nashville Article July 1966 Page 1 
 River Harness on Outskirts of Nashville Article July 1966 Page 2
 River Harness on Outskirts of Nashville Article July 1966 Page 3

Man Charged In Priest Dam Bomb Plot - Nashville Banner - Jan. 6, 1979
Man Charged In Priest Dam Bomb Plot Article in Nashville Banner Jan. 6, 1979 Page 1 
 Dam Bomb Plot Article in Nashville Banner Jan. 6, 1979 Page 2
 Man Charged In Priest Dam Bomb Plot Article in Nashville Banner Jan. 6, 1979 Photo & Cutline

J. Percy Priest Dam Imagery

Collapse All Expand All

Courtesy Nashville District Library

 J. Percy Priest Dam Construction Aerial View J. Percy Priest Dam Construction Aerial View 
 J. Percy Priest Dam Construction  J. Percy Priest Dam Construction Aerial View
 J. Percy Priest Dam Construction Sign  J. Percy Priest Dam Construction Sign
 J. Percy Priest Dam Construction  J. Percy Priest Dam Construction
 J. Percy Priest Dam Construction  J. Percy Priest Dam Construction
 J. Percy Priest Dam Construction Workers  J. Percy Priest Dam Construction
 J. Percy Priest Dam Construction  J. Percy Priest Dam Construction
 J. Percy Priest Dam Construction  J. Percy Priest Lake Newly Constructed Visitor's Center
 J. Percy Dam Newly Constructed Facility  J. Percy Lake Newly Constructed Shelter

 

President Lyndon B. Johnson and Tennessee Gov. Ellington  President Lyndon B. Johnson 
 Crowd photo with sign welcoming President Johnson  30th Armored Division Tennessee National Guard Band
 Official Grand Stand  Lt. Col. Earl C. Parker, Installation Chaplain, Stewart Air Force Base
 Aerial view of the grand stand  President Lyndon B. Johnson
 Aerial view of the grand stand  Men talking at event
 Crowd at dedication  Jordanaires Band entertains crowd
 President Lyndon B. Johnson  Media covering event
 Aerial of grand stand and parking areas  Aerial of grand stand
 Tent area to assist public  Gilbert Dorland, President, Nashville Bridge Company
 Aerial of parking area  Corps of Engineers official
 Crowd at event  Boats on shoreline of lake for dedication
 Media and crowd at dedication  Official grand stand
 Media at dedication  Crowd at dedication
 Barristers Band, Dick Dorney, Leader  President Lyndon B. Johnson

Quoting J. Percy Priest

J. Percy Priest working at a desk
“Outside of faith, hope, and charity, loyalty is the top word in our language” – J. Percy Priest

“It is this role as a representative of the people that I cherish above all that I have held, or could ever dream of holding” – JPP

“I shall think, work, and pray for the interests of America and for the preservation of democracy.  These are the paramount issues and all others are secondary” – J. Percy Priest during his announcement to run as an independent candidate for the Fifth District Congressional seat

“Representation, which repeatedly finds itself against the popular will, is ‘misrepresentation’” – JPP

“No power can destroy America unless we collapse from within” – JPP

“Our generation will be weighed in history by the way in which it meets this present challenge to democracy” - JPP