The main purpose of Meramec River Dam was flood control, but on August 8, 1978, voters stopped construction as the main portion of the dam was underway.
Today, such a dam would have controlled flooding on the Meramec River, and we would not have experienced a 92 year and a 84 year flood in about two years on the Meramec River.
The Meramec River Dam was to impound 42 miles of the Meramec River, 9 miles of Courtois Creek and 12 miles of Huzzah Creek to form Meramec Park Lake. This 180 foot tall dam structure was to consist of earth fill and impound a 23,000 acre lake. Construction can be seen in Meramec State Park at Sullivan.
This funded Corps of Engineers project became highly controversial. Several groups opposed the dam including the Sierra Club because endangered species would die and a number of caves would be partially or fully flooded.
During the fight over the dam, both sides exaggerated and twisted their points in public meetings.
To this day strong pro-dam sentiments are held among residents of Sullivan, Leasburg, Cuba and Steelville. Besides flood control, residents of these communities believe the dam would have brought prosperity and business to this area.
Maybe those flooded out of their homes and businesses would like to have a dam holding back the waters?