History of Bull Shoals

The City of Bull Shoals, Arkansas is located in north central part of Arkansas on Bull Shoals Lake in Marion County at 36° 22’51” N 92° 35’ 8” W. Bull Shoals Lake covers 1,050 miles of shoreline with 71,240 acres of lake area. A gentleman by the name of C.S. Woods, Sr. came to Arkansas in the early 1940s and sold land all across northern Arkansas for $1.25 to $3 an acre. Woods incorporated his efforts in 1945, raised $10,000 from investors and bought land from 17 farmers on Newton Flat (the original name of the area), totaling about 1,200 acres. He established the town in 1946. With his son, Charles Jr., the two men did much of the work themselves by clearing brush for future streets and sketching street plans on brown paper bags. The street plan was the first official document of the town, filed August 15, 1956.


Bull Shoals Dam construction was started in 1947 and was not completed until1951 due to the delay of WWII with a total taxpayer cost of 76.4 million dollars.

The Bull Shoals Dam was dedicated by President Harry S. Truman on July 2. 1952.  At that time, it was the fifth largest structure of that type in the U.S.. and the largest in Arkansas.  The procedure used to attain the materials for the dam were nationally recognized as well.  To gather the 2.1 million cubic yards of concrete needed, the dam builders built the second longest continuous conveyor belt in the world from Lee's Mountain Quarry to the dam site seven and one-half miles away.  You can see an example of the conveyor belt at the James A. Gaston's Visitor Center at the dam.

The Dam has 8 generators that can generate 10 million gallons of water per minute. It spands 2,256 feet in length and is 220 feet wide at the base. It rises 263 feet above the river bed. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers operates and maintains the hydroelectric dam. Southwestern Power Administration wholesales the power within a six state region including Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas. About 800,000 megawatt hours of power is sold annually.

The site is currently a delight to the area residents as they drive across it daily and witness the beauty of the water, sunsets, sunrises, morning fog over the White River and wildlife around Bull Shoals Dam.

Bull Shoals Dam

Much of the information on this page was provided by Anna Harper from The History of Bull Shoals: the best little town by a dam site a book written by her husband, Robert Harper.

The book describes the inhabitants of the land even before the Louisiana Purchase, and spans all the way to the "firsts" of Bull Shoals - first marriage, first churches, first hospital, first clubs, etc.

The book is available at the Bull Shoals Public Library.

More History...

Bull Shoals City Hall - P.O. Box 390 - 706 CS Woods Blvd - Bull Shoals, AR 72619 - 870-445-4775

Bull Shoals Chamber of Commerce - 612 Central Blvd. - Bull Shoals, AR 72619 - 800-447-1290 - www.bullshoals.org

Marion County Courthouse - 300 E. Old Main St. - Yellville, AR 72687 - www.marioncounty.arkansas.gov

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