DAMMING THE OSAGE:
A Chronology of Development on the Osage River and Tributaries
• 1813 – The Osages and Chouteaus reluctantly agreed to locate the trading post on the Missouri River instead of on the Osage, near their home, acknowledging that the Osage was too shallow for year round transportation.
• 1821 – Harmony Mission attempted a water mill on the Marais des Cygnes (then called the Osage River) but it washed out.
• 19th century – numerous pioneer mills on tributaries throughout the 1800s
• Circa 1840s – Caplinger Mills – successful grist mill on the Sac River. In 1917 this became the first hydroelectric project on the Osage system
• 1895 – Lock & Dam No. 1 construction started because of agitation for river improvement for steamboats. Designed by Hiram Chittenden, built by Army Corps of Engineers.
• 1906 Bates County Ditch, an ill-conceived channelization of the Marais des Cygnes
• Late 1920s – run-of-the-river hydroelectric dam at Osceola built by Ozark Utility Company
• 1931 Bagnell Dam closed. Financed by Union Electric of St. Louis, but started by Walter Cravens and Ralph Street of Kansas City.
• 1932 – Corps of Engineers delivers 308 Report on “Osage River, Mo. And Kans.”
Corps of Engineers Dams completed 1961-1982
• 1961 – POMME DE TERRE, on the Pomme de Terre River – multipurpose pool of 7,820 acres
• 1963 – POMONA, KANSAS, on Dragoon and One Hundred Ten Mile creeks – 4,060 acres
• 1969 – STOCKTON DAM, MISSOURI, on Sac River – 24,900 acres. Stockton is larger than the first two projects and is the only one, besides Truman, to have hydropower generation
• 1975 – MELVERN LAKE, KANSAS, on the Marais des Cygnes – 6,930 acres
• 1979 – TRUMAN DAM, WARSAW MISSOURI on the Osage River – 55,600 acre power pool
• 1982 – HILLSDALE, KANSAS, on Big Bull Creek – 4,580 acres
• ? – Removal of Lock & Dam No. 1. Originally unjustified and an environmental disaster today
More information is available in DAMMING THE OSAGE: The Conflicted Story of Lake of the Ozarks and Truman Reservoir. Retail $35, it is available from our website for $25 postage paid.
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