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By the numbers: 50 years since Lake Shelbyville became a reality
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LAKE SHELBYVILLE: 50 YEARS AND OTHER NUMBERS

By the numbers: 50 years since Lake Shelbyville became a reality

2 counties, 172 shoreline miles and a half century of flood control and recreation

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This month marks the 50th anniversary of Lake Shelbyville

At 3:40 p.m. on Aug. 1, 1970, the massive gates of the dam were lowered, capping a decades-long process. The result is not only a flood-mitigation project, but one of the region's premiere recreational amenities. 

Here's a look at some of the numbers in this mega project. 

3,025

SECONDARY

U.S. Sen. Charles Percy speaks at the Lake Shelbyville dedication in September 1970. 

Length of dam in feet, built to collect waters of the Okaw and Kaskaskia rivers. Both had long been prone to intense flooding that destroyed farmland. 

1953

SECONDARY

Project engineer Scott Shaver shows a model of Lake Shelbyville on Feb. 28, 1967. 

Year that the Kaskaskia Valley Association was formed, with members from Shelbyville to Belleville, to explore the creation of reservoirs to address flooding. Congress in 1958 passed the Flood Control Act, which put into motion the construction of Carlyle and Shelbyville projects. Eventually, $57 million was appropriated for the Shelbyville dam and lake. 

SECONDARY

Capt. Robert J. Dacey shows a drawing of the Kaskaskia Basin on Feb. 6, 1966. 

Acreage of first parcel purchased for project, on Oct. 11, 1962, from the city of Shelbyville. Gov. Otto Kerner and other elected officials attended a ceremony to mark the sale through the U.S. Corps of Army Engineers real estate office. The first construction bid was awarded in 1963.  

8

Sections that make up dam, built starting on May 4, 1966. The height is 108 feet. 

1969

Lake Shelbyville Visitor's Center

A view of Lake Shelbyville from the Visitor's Center is shown. 

Year the Kaskaskia River was diverted, on June 24, to the dam spillway. 

102,000

Cubic yards of concrete that make up spillway, with a surrounding earth embankment of 4,600 cubic yards of dirt. 

172 

Miles of shoreline of Lake Shelbyville in Shelby and Moultrie counties. The lake has about 11,000 water acres.

SECONDARY

An aerial view of Lake Shelbyville in spring 1969 is shown.

7

Campgrounds that are part of lake, including more than 1,000 campsites. 

Sources: U.S Army Corps of Engineers and Greater Shelbyville Chamber of Commerce 


GALLERY: Lake Shelbyville through the years

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