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Current Category: Main > Oklahoma Lake Information and Lake Houses For Sale > Grand Lake O the Cherokees

Grand Lake O the Cherokees, OK

Lake Size: 46,500 Acres
Shoreline Length (Miles): 1,300 miles
Deepest Depth: 164 feet
Latitude: 36.6119
Longitude: -94.8415
Lake Level Above Sea Level: 742 ft (226 m)
Counties: Mayes County
Cities: Grove

Information: Grand Lake O' the Cherokees is situated in Northeast Oklahoma, nestled in the foothills of the Ozark Mountain Range. It was created in 1940, first envisioned prior to statehood as a source for hydroelectric power for the Cherokee Nation. With an electric utility company incorporated in 1935, construction began in 1938 on the Pensacola Dam on the Grand River (lower Neosho River) as a Works Progress Administration project. The dam was completed in March 1940, creating the lake behind it. Pensacola Dam is the longest multiple arch dam in the world, its main span consisting of 51 arches totaling 5,145 feet (1,568 m) in length, and supporting a walkway and narrow two lane highway. A 120 megawatt, 6-unit powerhouse sits at the west end, with 21 spillways on the east end. Another mile east, through the town of Disney, lie two small sister dams known as "the spillways" with an additional 21 gates, surrounded by public parks and launching ramp. 510,000 cubic yards (390,000 m³) of concrete were used in the construction of Pensacola Dam, poured 24 hours a day in just 20 months with depression-era labor. The lake, and the electric utilities, as well as other projects in the region, along the Grand River are administered by the Grand River Dam Authority, an agency created by the Oklahoma legislature in 1935.
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The lake is a popular destination for entertainment in the Green Country region. There are a number of shows in the area, as well as resorts, and a showboat line called the Cherokee Queen, which has been in operation since the 1940s. Another of the top attractions is the Picture In Scripture Amphitheater featuring panoramic outdoor biblical dramas. Consistently ranked among the top bass fishing lakes in the United States, Grand also houses a wide variety of other sport and non-sport fishing.
Grand Lake has 46,500 acres (188 km2) of water and 1,300 miles (2,100 km) of shoreline. Unlike other lakes in Oklahoma, Grand Lake is a deep and mostly rocky lake. Its mean elevation is 742 ft (226 m) above sea level. In recent years, low fall elevations of 741 were kept by the GRDA to allow millet seeding for migratory waterfowl, resulting in conflict between property owners, environmentalists, and federal agencies. While not expressly built for flood control, Grand Lake contributes to the flood-prone Arkansas River watershed. The Army Corps of Engineers controls releases into the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System when lake levels exceed 745 feet (227 m), although locking into Grand Lake is not possible. Grand Lake and its sister lake, Hudson, are the only two major lakes in the state where one can build directly on the waterfront.

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