Why the Dam? The flooding in the White River Valleys between 1915 and 1927 persuaded Congress to initiate the Flood Control Act of 1938 and later the Flood Control Act of 1941. These two acts helped create Bull Shoals and Norfork Lakes. Bull Shoals Dam was originally constructed for flood risk reduction and power generation. Today, the Bull Shoals Lake Project's missions include: flood risk reduction, water supply, hydropower, environmental stewardship, and recreation.
Construction: Shortly after WWII, the Corps of Engineers began work on Bull Shoals Dam, located on the White River approximately 10 miles west of Mountain Home, Arkansas. Construction started in June of 1947 and was completed in July of 1951. It is a much larger dam than Norfork; and at the time of construction, it was the 5th largest dam in the world. It extends 2,256 feet across the White River, is 256 feet tall, and contains over 3,700,000 tons of aggregate and 3,100 tons of reinforced steel. Over 1,000 personnel labored to complete the project. Because Bull Shoals was a much larger dam than Norfork, the construction superintendent had to handle the unusual problem of how aggregate was going to be delivered to the work site. The solution was a conveyor belt system that had 21 flights, and delivered 650 tons of aggregate per day at a speed of 525 feet per minute over a distance of 7 miles.
Dedication of the Dam: Much to the surprise of the Mountain Home Chamber of Commerce, President Harry S. Truman accepted the invitation to dedicate both Bull Shoals and Norfork Dams. President Truman arrived by train into Cotter, Arkansas, gave his speech at Bull Shoals Dam, and then returned to Cotter for his departure via train. Many other official dignitaries, including Arkansas Governor, Sid McMath, accompanied Truman to the dedication. A three-day celebration was held in the area, which not only included parades and fishing tournaments, but also beauty contests and dances. A special re-dedication of Bull Shoals Dam was held in 2002 to mark its 50th anniversary.