Bartletts Ferry Dam construction began in 1924 to supply electricity to nearby communities. The dam is located on a narrow part of the Chattahoochee River, connecting Alabama and Georgia. Using innovative technologies created after WWI, the architects built a larger, tougher dam that could produce more electricity than ever before. The construction of the dam on the Chattahoochee River created Lake Harding, named for Reynolds Monroe Harding, a vice president of the power company that built the dam. Today, the dam continues to provide electricity to Georgia Power customers. The dam’s lake and shoreline provide visitors with recreational opportunities and enjoyment.
Created by Bartletts Ferry Dam, Lake Harding covers an area of 5,850 acres–or roughly 5,900 football fields. Some parts of the lake are over 100 feet deep!
Bartletts Ferry Dam
Bartletts Ferry Dam is located in the Fall Line Region, where the Chattahoochee River falls 375 feet over 40 miles. It’s an area filled with rapids and small waterfalls.
173, 000 kW
Bartletts Ferry Dam installed its sixth generator in 1985, increasing generating capacity.
Bartletts Ferry Reservoir spans 5,850 acres and has a shoreline of 156 miles, which extends along a 13-mile section of the Chattahoochee River.
There are 1,080 lots designated for homesites along the shoreline.
The five most common recreational activities are boat fishing, recreational boating, shoreline fishing, swimming/wading and relaxing.
Lake Harding provides habitat for species including largemouth bass, spotted bass, crappie, redear sunfish, channel catfish, striped bass and other resident species.
Georgia Power leases an additional 4,800 acres of non-project lands to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources for use as wildlife management areas. Visitors can enjoy a variety of recreational activities.
1922 - 1924
Columbus Electric and Power Company hires Stone and Webster, Inc. to select a new dam site between the upstream Riverview Mill Dam and its own Goat Rock Dam located downstream. They survey the area and take bedrock borings to pick the best site.
Preliminary designs for Bartletts Ferry Dam and Power Plant are finalized by engineers to fit the local topography. Workers construct the workers’ camp, complete the rail line and build construction plant facilities. They prepare the reservoir site by burning the underbrush and tying down tall trees that could poke above the water level.
Workers build coffer dams to divert the water away from the construction area. These temporary dams allow workers to “unwater” the river and dig down to the bedrock. The dam is built directly on the bedrock for strength and durability.
Workers frame the dam with timbers and fill the frames with concrete and metal supports. They use local sand and aggregate in the concrete and locally crushed gravel.
Workers build the west half of the dam first, the east half of the dam second and the center section last. On December 1, 1925, workers drop the dam’s control gates and the reservoir begins to fill.
The first generator goes into operation on January 25, 1926. The second generator starts up on May 1, 1926, and the Bartletts Ferry plant begins to supply power to surrounding communities.
Georgia Power Company obtains all rights and properties of the Columbus Electric and Power Company on June 26, 1930, and takes over supervision and operation of the Bartletts Ferry project.
1946 - 1951
Georgia Power makes major upgrades to the Bartletts Ferry plant after WWII. They construct a fourth generator unit and support structures. The main spillway of the dam is strengthened with buttresses, and the earthen dikes on the east and west sides of the dam are raised.
1971 - 1985
A second powerhouse is constructed to house generators 5 and 6. In 1982, procurement and construction for the project begin. Unit 5 goes into commercial operation October 1, 1985, and Unit 6 on November 1, 1985.
Georgia Power continues to make improvements and upgrades to the Bartletts Ferry plant to ensure customers get reliable and economical electricity.
Bartletts Ferry Dam is located on the fall line, where the Chattahoochee River falls 375 feet over 40 miles.
The dam is located on a carefully selected place in the Chattahoochee River. The river stretches 2,000 feet between Georgia and Alabama, and bedrock sits close to the surface for 500 feet. The surrounding hills rise 125 feet from the bedrock to the top of their slope.