History of TVA and Norris Dam

norris_damThe Norris Dam construction project began in 1933, just a few months after the creation of TVA, and was completed in 1936. It was the first dam TVA built, and is named for Senator George Norris of Nebraska, author of the legislation that created TVA.

The dam is 265 feet high and stretches 1,860 feet across the Clinch River.



Norris Dam is a hydroelectric facility. It has two generating units that produce, on average, 110 megawatts of electricity for TVA power consumers each day.

Norris Lake is a popular tourist and recreation destination. In the 1930s, TVA established public parks at several locations on Norris Reservoir, including Cove Lake, Big Ridge, and the area around Norris Dam. These parks later became the nucleus of Tennessee’s state park system.

Water sports at Norris include boating, water skiing, swimming, and excellent fishing. The Tennessee state record brown trout was caught in the Clinch River below Norris Dam.

Norris has 809 miles of shoreline and 33,840 acres of water surface. It is the largest reservoir on a tributary of the Tennessee River.

In a year with normal rainfall, the water level in Norris Reservoir varies about 29 feet from summer to winter to provide seasonal flood storage.

The reservoir has a flood-storage capacity of 1,113,000 acre-feet.