Lake Toxaway, NC Dam Break Threatens Towns, Aug 1916

GREAT DAM BROKEN BY FLOOD WATERS.

COLLAPSE LETS LOOSE TORRENT FROM LAKE TOXAWAY ON SURROUNDING COUNTRY.

INHABITANTS FLEE HOMES.

NORTH CAROLINA VALLEY IN PATH OF PERIL -- POWER PLANT ALSO IN JEAPORDY.

Asheville, N. C., Aug. 13. -- The great dam at Lake Toxaway, weakened by the recent floods, broke this evening, sending a great wall of water down the valley toward western South Carolina. No lives had been reported lost at a late hour tonight, and warnings are believed to have enabled most persons in the path of the flood to reach safety.
The lake, an artificial body of water covering 550 acres and an average depth of thirty feet, was reported almost entirely drained. The dam, an eighth of a mile long and fifty feet high, was completely destroyed. The town of Lake Toxaway suffered only minor damage.
The released waters tonight were rushing through the Toxaway River Valley, a comparatively uninhabited section, toward the Chuga River in South Carolina. Anderson, Walhalla, Pickens, and Seneca Counties composed the territory immediately threatened, and warnings were telephoned to all places that could be reached. It was estimated that the flood would not reach Seneca before early tomorrow, and persons familiar with the territory believe the waters will spread out over the uninhabited country immediately south of Lake Toxaway and thus minimize the possiblity of extensive damage.
Shortly before midnight the Seneca River, in South Carolina, through which the waters of Lake Toxaway will flow into the Savannah River, was normal near the town of Seneca, about forty miles southwest of Toxaway. It was feared serious damage would be done to crops along the Keowee River in Pickens and Oconee Counties, which are divided by the Keowee. Above Clemson College, S. C., the Keowee and the Twelve-Mile Creek have a confluence, forming the Seneca. Damage is feared in this section where the country is relatively flat and thickly populated.
Portman Shoals, where electric power for the city of Anderson is generated, tonight was the scene of great activity. Gangs were at work placing sandbags on the dam and power house and other preparations were under way to combat the force of the anticipated flood.
Walhalla, Seneca, and Anderson are each several miles from the river, and there is no town of importance on its course.
The lake was created in connection with a Summer resort and had a shore line of fifteen miles. The dam was constructed at a cost of about $50,000.

The New York Times New York 1916-08-14