Construction began in 1942 and because of the urgent need for electric power during World War II, it was finished in just 36 months! At 480 ft, the equivalent of a 50-story skyscraper, it is the highest dam in TVA and the tallest dam east of the Rockies. It's located on the Little Tennessee River.
The dam serves to hold back the water and the powerhouse enclosed the turbines & generators that produce electricity. When power is needed, water is released into a large pipe called a penstock and into a turbine. The force of the water spins the blades, which is connected to a generator that spins, producing electricity.
Fontana Lake provides multiple benefits to the region, including flood control and recreational opportunities. The Appalachian Trail crosses the top of the dam and the hot showers at a nearby trail shelter have led grateful hikers to dub it the Fontana Hilton