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"L" is for Lakes

South Carolina from A to Z logo

"L" is for Lakes. All the large lakes in South Carolina were created during the 20th century when energy companies built dams on nearly all of the major river systems in the state to produce hydroelectric power. Lake Wateree was the first of the state's large lakes—formed in 1919 when Duke Power built a dam on the Wateree River.

Lake Wateree covers 13,700 acres, but is only a fraction of the size of Lake Marion—the state's largest at 110,000 acres. The formation of these lakes had a profound effect on the geography of the state. The hundreds of thousands of acres now under water were once inhabited; many small communities were wiped off the map. The lakes are popular recreational areas and increasingly the location of permanent as well as vacation residences.

Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar receivedhisA.B.degreefromDavidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.