On May 30, 1931, weeks after being declared complete, the Lake of the Ozarks officially opens to boat traffic.

A little more than four months later, workers inside the new Bagnell Dam flipped switches to run current from its big hydroelectric generators. High-power lines strung through dense, hilly forests carried power to a big feeder station in Wellston and to present-day Park Hills, in Missouri’s old Lead Belt.

Back then, Union Electric Light and Power Co.’s dam on the Osage River was hailed for its power to make electricity. A few rough fishing camps popped up along the dam’s creation, the Lake of the Ozarks. But it would take almost three decades to turn the 60,000-acre reservoir into a bustling summertime playground. 

Note: Corrects year of opening to boat traffic.