Lake Size: 7500 acres
Shoreline Length (Miles): 75 miles
Deepest Depth: 350 feet
Lake Level Above Sea Level: 1100 ft
Information: Lake Jocassee is a 7,500-acre (30 km2), 300-foot (91 m) deep reservoir located in northwest South Carolina created by the state in partnership with Duke Power in 1973. The clean and cold Appalachian mountain rivers that feed the lake keep its waters cool year-round. The hydroelectric dam that formed the lake is 385 feet (117 m) high and 1,750 feet (530 m) long. The lake is home to Devils Fork State Park.
Although most manmade structures were demolished prior to the creation of the lake, divers recently discovered the remains of a lodge which was left intact until the lake rose and now sits below 300 feet of water; a hilltop graveyard with headstones also remains more than 130 feet under the water.
The name Jocassee comes from the legend of a Cherokee maiden. An Oconee tribe, the "Brown Vipers" led by Chief Attakulla, inhabited the west side of the Whitewater river, while a rival tribe, "The Green Birds", lived on the east. Legend says that a young Green Bird warrior,
Lake Jocassee from the Bad Creek entrance to the lake.
Nagoochee, was not afraid to enter Brown Viper hunting grounds. On one occasion, he fell and broke his leg and was convinced he was going to die. Then he heard Jocassee, Attakulla's daughter, who brought him back to her father's lodge and nursed him back to health. Jocassee eventually fell in love with him, but in a later battle, Cheochee, Jocassee's brother, killed and brought Nagoochee's head back on his belt. Legend has it that Jocassee went into the water and did not sink but walked across the water to meet the ghost of Nagoochee. The name Jocassee means "Place of the Lost One."
The Jocassee Gorges area was once home to the part of the Cherokee Nation; it now lies 300 feet (91 m) beneath the surface of the lake, near the Toxaway River. Nearby Keowee Town was a major hub in the Cherokee Path that connected Cherokee towns and villages throughout the area. Early 18th century traders delivered as many as 200,000 deerskins annually to Charleston, South Carolina and local Indians became well supplied with European firearms, ammunition, tools and clothing as a result. However, mounting discord between Europeans and Cherokees led to war in 1759. In 1785, General Andrew Pickens hosted a large gathering of Indian chiefs leading to a treaty that gave all of the Jocassee gorges area, with the exception of northern Oconee County, to the United States; the Oconee mountains were not ceded until 1815. European settlers, mostly of Scottish and Irish descent, came from Virginia and Pennsylvania as well as from Charleston. Land grants in the Jocassee area go back to 1791.