Deer Creek

Deer Creek Lake, Ohio. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo by Marc Barnes

People often come in to US Army Corps of Engineers offices wondering, ‘why are there so many dams? And why Central Ohio?’ The answer to these questions goes all the way back to 1913, when the city of Columbus experienced a flood after rains so severe, they lasted for four days and flooded the neighborhood of Franklinton between 7 to 17 ft. in some places. The flood killed almost 100 people and damaged over 400 buildings. After the damage caused by such an event, the city built a levee that broke in 1959.

Once again, detrimental damage was caused in the city. As a result of these floods, and with permission granted by the Flood Control Act of 1938, the US Army Corps of Engineers began building dams in the Scioto River watershed as way to manage the flood risks.

The dam at Deer Creek Lake began being built in 1965 and took 3 years to complete, resulting in an end date of 1968. During this time, the crew had to re-route the river, creating a C shape around the construction site. Once construction was far enough along on the dam, they would reroute the water back against the dam to test its durability and capability.

Deer Creek Lake, Ohio. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo by Marc Barnes

Since its creation, Deer Creek dam alone has prevented over 200 million dollars in damages to downstream residences. The lake’s changing elevations every Winter and Summer allow for it to accommodate spring rain and snow melt between November to April.