Strom Thurmond Lake – McCormick County, South Carolina
South Carolina | SC Picture Project | McCormick County Photos | Strom Thurmond Lake
Strom Thurmond Lake, also known as Thurmond Lake and Lake Strom Thurmond, is a large reservoir located in McCormick County and Abbeville County. It runs along the South Carolina / Georgia border, offering 1,200 miles of shoreline and numerous recreational opportunities.
The lake was created by the US Army Corps of Engineers in the early 1950s as a result of the Strom Thurmond Dam (pictured above) constructed at the confluence of the Little and Savannah Rivers. Originally built for the purposes of flood risk management, hydroelectric power, and navigation, authorized uses of the lake now include water supply, fish and wildlife management, and recreation. At 71,100 acres, it is the second largest man-made lake east of the Mississippi River. It’s also among the 10 most visited Corp lakes in the nation!
Originally named Clarks Hill Lake (after the SC town of the same name and Revolutionary War hero Elijah Clarke), the dam and reservoir were renamed in 1988 to honor former governor and long-time South Carolina senator, Strom Thurmond.
Naturally, Georgia residents were quite upset that the shared lake had been renamed for an SC governor, so the next year they petitioned to have the lake renamed “Clarks Hill” once again. The bill wasn’t passed, but in 1989 Georgia passed a law making Clarks Hill Lake the official state name for the lake. Even today, many South Carolinians use the original name when referring to the lake.