The History of Fontana Village

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Tennessee Valley Authority Fontana Dam

Fontana Village was originally built as a town for the workers and their families who came from all around the country to construct the Tennessee Valley Authority Fontana Dam. Construction of Fontana Dam began in 1942 and was completed in 1944. The dam was built to provide power for the war effort at the Oakridge, TN Nuclear Facility and to alleviate seasonal flooding in the greater Tennessee River Valley.

Located at the bottom of the mountain below today’s Fontana Village Resort, the dam’s visitor center records more than 100,000 guests each year who come to see the structure, the largest dam east of the Mississippi River. The dam is 480 feet high and stretches 2,365 feet across the Little Tennessee River.

The reservoir has become a destination for water sport enthusiasts and fisherman in every season. Fontana’s spring and fall bass classic tournaments bring anglers to the pristine waters for some of the best fishing in the mountains. Both Eagle Creek and Hazel Creek on the lake’s north shore offer incredible fly fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Fontana Reservoir provides 238 miles of shoreline and 10,230 acres of water surface for recreation activities. In a year with normal rainfall, the water level in Fontana Reservoir varies about 56 feet from summer to winter to provide seasonal flood storage.

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