This 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.