Aug 202012

Real photo postcard, postmarked May 22, 1951

In the late 1920s, Ozark Utilities Company of Bolivar built a low hydroelectric dam at Osceola. While it did block spawning runs of fish (except during very high water), the reservoir it created, called lake Sac-Osage, flooded very little farmland. Its environmental impact was minimal compared to the high dams that would be built later by the Army Corps of Engineers. The Osceola dam was removed before Truman Reservoir filled.

Every week  we’ll post an unpublished image that relates to the Osage River, its ecology, history and development. None of these have been used in Damming the Osage, but they relate to the themes of the book. A brief caption identifies the location and our thoughts on its significance and meaning. Feel free to use these images for personal use if you credit “Collection of Leland and Crystal Payton.”  For commercial use, email us for details and a modest fee for a higher resolution image. We have thousands of historic photographs and brochures as well as our own contemporary photos.

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  2 Responses to “OSCEOLA DAM”

  1. I lived in Osceola from 1956 to 1960. I worked for the boat rental at the dam. The owner of the concession was Andy Lyles. I was about eleven yrs. old. my job was to keep the boats clean, carry fishing gear down the long steps, to the water, and during spring flooding, i stayed at the dam all night long (alone), and kept the boats pulled in as the water would rise.Many times in fifty plus years i’ve thought of how I lived some of what Mark Twain fictionalized in his books of Huck Finn. Some of the people and experiences i lived on the Osage would make a book in itself. I’d love to see some of the pics of the old boat house next to Dutch and Betty’s bar and grill that sat overlooking the dam, powerhouse, and lower river. By coincidence, i spent 40 plus years as a lineman for a power company. ——

  2. Does anyone know the length of the dam? And or the length of the Frisco rail bridge?

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