Congressman Dewey Short and unidentified colleagues look at a potential White River dam site in 1941. On the back of this Townsend Godsey photograph is written, “Table Rock Dam site 9-14-41.”

Dewey appears to be pointing out the location where the long-delayed dam would be built. Only a month earlier, the President had signed the Flood Control Act of 1941, which included both Table Rock and Bull Shoals. The headline of the October 11, 1952, Kansas City Times announced: “Start A Big Dam Barbecue And Music At Launching of 76-Million-Dollar Reservoir.”

Mayor Claude Binkley, of Branson, remarked he had “hurried to the Ozarks twenty-six years ago” to be here for the construction start.

(This feature is courtesy of Leland and Crystal Payton at Lens & Pen Press, publishers of all-color books on the Ozarks. Their new book, James Fork of the White, is available from the publisher at Their earlier river book, Damming the Osage, can be at seen