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  • The Construction Of Lake Shannondale

    Lake Shannondale's Construction 1964-1966
    The photos below are part of a book dedicated to Charles M. Johnson, Shannondale's developer, by Granville (Pete) Cave. Pete devoted an extraordinary amount of time and energy to make a record that is both fascinating and historical. And he did it with a Kodak Instamatic camera and a pair of scissors. In this day of digital pix and photo shop his job would have been SO much easier.

    When finished in 1966, it was the largest, privately owned lake in West Virginia. It was financed by Shannondale Inc., the developer of Shannondale, with proceeds earned from land sales. Enjoy the show.
    (Note that much larger versions of the images can be seen by clicking on the pictures below-we don't want you all to strain your eyes)

    July 1964 Looking West
    I'll try my best to describe the scenes. I'd encourage you to contact me if you've got questions.

    The old fire engine's pump (used to fill the pool) way down in the hollow, the bare start of the foundation of the dam, the drain pipe still uncovered with earth, the iron forms still in place for the bottom section of the standpipe and on and on. I missed much of the final stages of construction (off to the Navy for me in October of '64) but remember these initial ones well.

    July 1964 Looking East
    Most of these pics are pretty staright forward if you use the Mountain and other recognizable landmarks, such as the Bathhouse (now Mountain Lake Club) to the right of the clubhouse. The road on the far right was the original way to drive to the clubhouse (and past that bathhouse) from what is now Gate 3 There was an old log bridge across Furnace Run, hence the road name "Old Bridge Road".

    July 6th 1964
    The DAM show was a hit for those using the pool during the Summer of 1964 albeit a tad noisy

    10/3/1964 looking West
    The standpipe starts to rise

    10/3/1964 looking West
    A different view of the standpipe and the drain

    The crane gives some perspective to the size of the drain

    11/1/1964 looking West
    The dam begins to appear

    2/28/1965 Looking West

    Hard to believe that little trickle of water would fill a 55 acre lake

    4/17/1965 Looking West
    Another of Pete's super panoramic views showing bits of fence in front of what, in 2012, is referred to as "Stonehenge on the Lake"

    5/22/1965 Looking West(and N&S)
    I apologize for the graininess, but the photos, taken with an Instamatic camera were a little out of focus in some areas. I thought a the shot of the cars in the parking lot might bring back memories to oldtimers in the crowd.

    7/17/1965 Looking West
    Disaster struck the pool (from the dam's construction) and the pool was closed. The swimming activities moved back to the river for much of the Summer.

    8/17/1965 Looking everywhere but East
    Things were beginning to look dammed good(sorry, couldn't resist)

    Getting real close to completion of the dam

    The view back to the east

    Fall colors appear. Ground in front of the Clubhouse is stabilized

    Nearly the same pic as that two two above before without all the brush on the future lake's bottom. The Old Bridge Road REALLY is in evidence.

    Starting to fill, a process expected to take 2 years or more

    Work on the spillway is seen in the foreground

    There's a story about the two rental units on the left. See the frame HERE

    The view back up Furnace Run under the Old Bridge and back into the longest finger of the lake

    The Blizzard of '66(1/29)
    It was a late but very snowy Winter and durned if the lake didn't fill in less than a quarter of the projections

    May of 1966
    The first trickles of water over the spillway...

    ...and down the spillway from the dam...

    ...toward the Shenandoah River.

    But first it had another stop to make...

    ...after passing the waterfall it created.

    The shale pit below the dam which would eventually become a superb spot to angle for pan fish. And then, following its original course, it was: "Chesapeake Bay, here I come!"

    Finished Product with Watersport Enthusiast
    A fitting title for an artist to give this scene, the lake completes the tableau many of us so fondly remember.
    Comments 4 Comments
    1. Willis's Avatar
      Willis -
      I'll add a topo of the final depths of the lake just after its completion for those who might consider obtaining permissions to try some angling
      Click for a larger view

    1. STR1KER's Avatar
      STR1KER -
      I coined it, "Shannonhenge" when I came home from tour, and saw it for the 1st time.... LOVE this set up! OUTSTANDING JOB!
    1. jim surkamp's Avatar
      jim surkamp -
      thanks willis interesting
    1. cbuck725wv's Avatar
      cbuck725wv -
      io sure glad someone took pictures...thank you very much