The Dikes of Lake Hartwell

The dikes, just across Hwy 93 from Death Valley, have been a favorite spot for walkers, runners and cyclists for years. They have been the site of many a sunset marriage proposal and heartfelt discussion about the future. When the least bit of snow drops from the winter skies, students lug everything from lunch trays to surfboards to dilapidated couches and take turns sliding down the hill, where the local EMS truck usually sits — just in case.

But like almost everything at Clemson, there’s a story behind those dikes. And like every good Southern story, it’s a tale of intrigue, beauty and political influence, with more than a little money involved.

The Hartwell Dam and Reservoir was constructed in the late 1950s and early 1960s by the Army Corps of Engineers as part of the Savannah River Project. The original purpose for the dam was to mitigate flooding along the Savannah River and to generate hydroelectric power.

There were a few roadblocks before construction could get started, one being the more than 7,000 acres of land belonging to the University that would be flooded with the initial designs, including 430 acres used for agricultural purposes and 400 acres of the 1,100-acre Fort Hill estate. In addition, at “full pool” (665 feet above sea level), the new lake would flood Clemson’s seven-year-old football stadium up to the 26th row.

The trustees, under the leadership of President Robert F. Poole, formed a committee to study the issue; the Alumni Association did the same. Robert C. Edwards, then vice president of development, led the college Hartwell Lake team. More than a few meetings were held and solutions considered: lowering the level of the lake to 610 feet, diverting the Seneca River with dikes or compensating Clemson for the lost lands (the solution favored by the Corps of Engineers). Negotiations lasted several years, with Clemson calling in some political pull from the late Sen. Strom Thurmond, whose office was flooded with letters from Clemson alumni, urging him to help move things forward in Clemson’s favor.

When the committee and the board of trustees declared the land irreplaceable and the damage done irreparable, the Corps of Engineers went back to the drawing board. The new study resulted in the conclusion that lowering the pool level to 610 feet would be economically unfeasible. The only alternative seemed to be the diversion of the Seneca River. Two diversion dams were built in 1961 to protect a significant portion of campus.

All told, the construction cost nearly $90 million and lasted nearly eight years. But what resulted was a beautiful lake with more than 50,000 aces of water, and the dikes themselves becoming treasured and well-worn foot paths on the edge of campus.

Courtesy   By Nancy Spitler    Photo by Ashley Jones


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Big Splash Event Boat Show At Clemson Marina

Join us for our Annual Big Splash Event at Clemson Marina starting Thursday, March 4th. It will be our BIGGEST boat sales event of the year, and you won’t want to miss it! With every new boat purchase or boat order at the event, you will receive a new boat starter kit and an additional 2% off* our current pricing. This is a 3 day ONLY sale, and you won’t want to miss it! We are determined to get you out on the water this Spring, and now is the time to buy.

On Saturday (3/6), grab the whole family and enjoy the day at Clemson Marina!  The Still Cruzin Duo will be performing Live Music , The Grill at Clemson Marina will have complementary catfish, hushpuppies, and coleslaw for adults and chicken tenders with fries for kids with drinks from 12 PM to 3 PM. There will also be a cash bar available.

While there, enjoy local vendors from our area, and register to win a Sea Beast 2-person tube. We will draw for the raffle on Tuesday and post the winner on Facebook and Instagram.

Come out and see our best-selling, industry-leading brands: Veranda Luxury Pontoons & Tritoons, Monterey Sports Boats, Xpress Aluminum Fishing Boats, and our tournament-ready Triton Fishing Boats!

Do not forget about our used inventory as well. We accept trade-ins and offer in-house financing. We are determined to get you in the boat that you have always wanted just in time for the upcoming boating season.

If you are looking for a hassle-free boating experience, check out Freedom Boat Club Lake Hartwell at the Big Splash Event. They are offering $1500 OFF the 1x entry fee, and this is a great way to get on the water without the maintenance, cleaning, repair, insurance, and storage fees! Get reciprocal access to 250+ locations, 1-on-1 training by licensed captains, and take any boat out as often as you wish. Learn more at the Big Splash Event on March 6th!


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B.A.S.S. Moves College Season-Opener To Lake Hartwell

The Bassmaster College Series at Lake Norman, originally scheduled for March 5-6 in Cornelius, N.C., will instead move 145 miles down I-85 to South Carolina’s Lake Hartwell, B.A.S.S. officials announced today.

“While disappointing to move the tournament, we understand the current climate of the pandemic in Mecklenburg County and the timing of this event,” said Travis Dancy, Director of Sales at Visit Lake Norman. “We look forward to welcoming some of the best collegiate anglers in 2022 on Lake Norman and continuing our long-standing relationship in hosting B.A.S.S. events.”

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper recently extended a variety of measures designed to curb the spread of COVID-19, including restricting outdoor gatherings to no more than 25 participants. While that order is set to expire February 28, officials did not want to risk a last-minute cancellation should the restrictions be extended once more.

“It is disappointing any time you have to move a tournament, but it is especially important when college anglers are taking time away from their studies to compete that we respect that time,” said College Series Senior Manager Hank Weldon. “B.A.S.S. has emphasized over the past year that we will heed each state’s mandates on crowd sizes and public spaces to ensure both competition and fan activities can resume safely.

“We are thankful to our friends at Visit Anderson to be able to move the event to the always popular Lake Hartwell and maintain the original competition dates.”

At this time no changes are planned for the Bassmaster Southern Open at Lake Norman currently scheduled to take place Sept. 23-25.

B.A.S.S. is pursuing options with the local host to offer a 2022 tournament on Lake Norman.

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