The major Corps of Engineers dam-building era was a combination of dubious hydrologic theory propelled by the desire to create jobs during the Depression.
Because our ancestors had foolishly developed the floodplains, there was much community support for flood control dams.
Hollister flood, 1943. Springfield lawyer and land speculator William H. Johnson started building a Tudor-style complex by the train station in 1909 to accommodate tourists. As the faux half-timbered buildings were in the floodplain they were periodically immersed when Lake Taneycomo overflowed.
Table Rock Dam has kept the historic district, as it is now called, dry. Still some Hollister and Branson properties have suffered flooding, necessitating government buyouts.
Believing the dam would afford complete protection, some people built even closer to the river, ignoring the Corps’ warning.
(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,” will be published in 2017. Some pages from this book can be seen on www.beautifulozarks.com. Their earlier river book, Damming the Osage, can be at seen www.dammingtheosage.com)