Vintage Ozarks

Lock & Dam No. 1 on the Lower Osage

In 1886, an Osage River Improvement Committee convened and, using Army Engineers plans, challenged Congress to make the river navigable clear to Kansas with a series of locks and dams. 

After delays, work on the first lock and dam began in September 1895 at Shipley Shoals then seven miles from the mouth of the Osage. 

The pièce de résistance of the futile effort to render the Osage River navigable was Lock and Dam No. 1. 

In the 20th century, Army Engineers became renowned for escalating the price of a dam after Congressional authorization and work had started.

Underestimating construction costs has long been a skill of the Corps. 

In 1891, Lock and Dam No. 1 was estimated to cost $187,244. By 1895, with the addition of Chanoine wickets to raise and lower water levels to keep from flooding farms upstream, a figure of $417,500 appeared in War Department documents. 

Broke down in the mouth pit, it cialis lowest prices enters into the course framework speedily. They stay with regard to short day span order cialis online as well as usually properly tolerated through users. Any heart medication needs to be monitored by a healthcare provider discount soft cialis to evaluate the body’s response and to select the appropriate dose. Bananas- An erection requires balance of strength, energy and buy generic tadalafil stamina. As the 1909 photograph shows, the project obviously took longer and cost more than had been stated in Corps of Engineers’ reports to Congress.

The impressive hunk of concrete and iron, 850 feet wide with a 40 by 220 foot lock, proved to be a mixed blessing. 

Upon completion in 1906, a 30-foot section washed away. The structure blocked barges, which were the most cost-effective river transportation.

In 2012, a drought lowered Osage River levels so much that the rotten remains of Lock & Dam No. 1 were exposed for all to see. 

Today, it not only serves to block possible sturgeon and paddlefish migration to Osage River spawning beds, but every year or two someone drowns trying to navigate through it in high water. 

(From “Damming the Osage: The Conflicted Story of Lake of the Ozarks and Truman Reservoir.” Lens & Pen Press is having a half-price sale for all titles. “Damming the Osage” is now available at for $17.50 (half the original price of $35), postage paid.)


1909 construction photograph of Lock and Dam No. 1.

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