Rick Mize and staff at News Mississippi affiliate WTNM in Oxford contributed to this story
SARDIS LAKE, Miss.–For 75 years Sardis Lake has protected the Mississippi Delta from flooding from the Little Tallahatchie River. In a gathering Wednesday the creation of the lake was commemorated.
“It’s not only here for recreation. It’s primary purpose is flood control,” said John Cross, commander of the Vicksburg District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which manages the area.
But, if you have ever visited Sardis Lake, it probably had nothing to do with appreciating its value as a flood control project.
“The lake adds quite a bit of recreational value. Over twenty million dollars to the local economy. We have millions of visitors to this lake every year,” said Cross.
The lake was created after the Flood Control Act of 1936 was signed by Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt. The U.S. Army Corps built it and used a dredge called the “Pontotoc” to move the dirt at the bottom.
“For the last 75 years, this lake and the other three lakes in north Mississippi are keeping the folks in the Delta safe from flood waters. It’s a very phenomenal accomplishment and it’s been very successful,” said Cross.
A Cub Scout at the time, William Dorr was at the celebration Wednesday and remembers the day the lake opened.
“The Sardis Scouts had the concessions,” he said. Dorr said that excitement was high because people thought Pres. Roosevelt was coming for the dedication. It ended up that he had another commitment.
“That afternoon, there was a convoy that came through, I guess it was National Guard, heading to Camp Shelby.”
When the dam and lake opened, the country was about to get involved in World War II.