The White River & How Table Rock Lake Came to Be

The present day shoreline of the White River in Branson hosts ample amounts of mementos once belonging to the community now intermixed with the high-rise hotels and bright neon lights of the city. Learn how the White River shaped the history of this now popular tourist destination and the entire Branson Lakes area.

In 1915, the small river community of Branson was nearly washed away with record flood levels from the White River. A new dam was the proposed solution, but it was far from an easy answer. The price of the new dam alone was enough to make citizens balk at the idea. In addition, family farms and small townships would be submerged beneath the lake’s surface. Lost would be the remains of Indian dwellings and former lives.

 One of these soon to be lost towns was named, Oasis. The small resort and fishing community gained much support in their protest to fight the progress of the dam which would lead to the growth of Branson. In areas to be flooded land was bought up at the generous (for the time!) price of one hundred dollars an acre for farm land and thirty five dollars an acre for hill country. Eventually, despite the resistance of the locals, and the wrath of Mother Nature and the White River itself, construction on Table Rock Dam was completed and the White River had been tamed.

If it wasn’t for the dam, then today cities like Branson West, Kimberling City, and even towns like Cassville farther upriver wouldn’t have experienced the growth and new opportunities that are currently available. Without this protection from the White River that is provided by Table Rock Dam projects like the Branson Landing, Majestic at Table Rock, Chateau on the Lake and Big Cedar Lodge could never have existed.

Despite all these modern and man-made miracles, over the years, The Corps of Engineers has maintained the lake’s natural feel and taken pride in establishing preventative measures to keep the Branson Lakes environment unadulterated and to keep the Ozarks scenery as unchanged as possible from the days of the free flowing White River and small towns such as Oasis.