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Generating Power, Creating Memories

photo montage of Smith Mountain Lake

For over 50 years, the beauty of Smith Mountain Lake has been a draw for those seeking rest and recreation. Embedded in the minds of generations of lake goers are memories of camping, boating, fishing, swimming, and cookouts. Today the face of the lake has changed as more and more folks call it home. Lots that used to host tents and trailers now contain large homes. The surrounding area once dotted with tobacco barns and farms is today home to a wide variety of businesses. However, the main purpose of the lake and the reason it was built remains the same – to generate electricity.

Smith Mountain Lake is 40 miles long with 500 miles of shoreline. Construction on the dam which holds it in place began in 1960. The lake began filling in September of 1963 and reached full pond in March 1966. In conjunction with Smith Mountain Lake, Leesville Lake, a smaller lake was also created.

Videographer Award

The documentary by award winning Blue Ridge PBS explores the history of the lakes and learns about the communities that were flooded when they were created. Viewers see how the lakes and dams were built and hear first-hand accounts from those who built them. Also included are stories, photos and footage of the lakes down through the years.

The program is the recipient of a 2016 Videographer Award of Distinction in the Documentary category. In its 20th year, the Videographer Awards is one of the oldest and most respected awards programs in the industry.


A note from the producer:
Many thanks to everyone who has shown their support for the program since its premiere broadcast in December 2015!


There's more!

In summer 2016, Blue Ridge PBS caught up with Dr. Jeffrey Fong, who at the age of 25 designed Smith Mountain and Leesville dams. 
The exclusive interview is available on Blue Ridge PBS Passport!

Smith Mountain Lake documentary DVD cover


Add the documentary to your video collection!
When you make a pledge at the $60 level,
we'll send you the DVD or Blu-ray of the documentary as our way of saying thank you.
Your $60 pledge will also give you access to Blue Ridge PBS Passport.

Call 866-624-8366 or make a pledge online.


Thank you to our sponsors!

AEP Foundation

Bedford County Office of Economic Development

Franklin County Office of Economic Development