Top Ten Interesting Lake Murray Facts
Lake Murray, South Carolina

Return to Lake Murray Home Page | Lake Murray Blog | Search Lake Murray MLS

Lake Murray


1.) BIRTHDAY – Yes, Lake Murray has a birthday. It’s December 1st! Lake Murray’s reason for existence is due to the need for electricity. Lake Murray’s idea and construction goes back to the 1920s. The lake was finished in 1930 and the first power was produced on December 1, 1930 at 7:00 a.m. Lake Murray will be 86 years old on December 1, 2016.

Lake Murray
Lake Murray - 86 Years Old in 2016

2.) SIZE – Lake Murray is approximately: 1.) 50,000 acres, 2.) 40 miles long, 3.) 14 miles wide at the widest point, 4.) 220 deep at the deepest point, 5.) 620 miles of beautiful shoreline. Lake Murray is the 4th largest lake in South Carolina. Four counties surround Lake Murray: Lexington, Richland, Newberry and Saluda.

Lake Murray
Lake Murray - South Carolina's Great Lake!

3.) NAMING – Lake Murray was named for William S. Murray of New York City. Mr. Murray was very involved in the early electrification of the United States and eventually owned his own engineering firm Murray & Flood. In the early 1920's, he conceived the final plan for the scope and engineering of the lake to be formed by the damming of the Saluda River at Dreher Shoals northwest of downtown Columbia. Mr. Murray died on January 9, 1942 in New York City.

William S. Murray Obituary
William S. Murray Obituary Article I Purchased from The NY Times

4.) THE DAM – When finished in 1930, Lake Murray was the largest man-made lake in the world for power production purposes and Dreher Shoals Dam was the largest earthern dam in the world - this was an engineering marvel of the time. The Dreher Shoals Dam is approximately 1.5 miles long and 213 feet high. The Five Towers at the dam are a local landmark. In 2005, a seismic remediation of the Saluda Dam was completed consisting of a new dam immediately downstream and adjacent to the original dam. More Info

Lake Murray 5 Towers
Dreher Shoals Dam and the 5 Towers

5.) POPULAR WALKING PATHWAY – One of the most popular places to walk for people in Lexington, Irmo, Chapin and the Greater Columbia area is the walkway atop the original Dreher Shoals dam. It’s 1.7 miles each way for a total walking distance of 3.4 miles. It’s a beautiful walk! There is also a bicycle lane adjacent to the walking pathway. Get a great view of the Columbia skyline (11 miles away) from here. More Info

Lake Murray 5 Towers
Starting the walk from Irmo Side of Dam

6.) FISHING – The fishing is GREAT at Lake Murray! So good in fact, the largest bass fishing tournament in the world, the FLW Forrest Wood Cup Championship, has been held at Lake Murray two times (2008 & 2014) and a third hosting will be in August 2017. This tournament is featured on national TV. Lake Murray state record fish include: white bass, white crappie and white catfish. More info

Bass Fishing on Lake Murray
Captain Buddy Bouknight of Sunrise Fishing Guide Service on Lake Murray

7.) PURPLE MARTINS – Lake Murray’s Doolittle Island (aka Lunch or Bomb Island) is home to one of North America’s largest Purple Martin sanctuaries. Each summer there are hundreds of thousands of purple martins nesting on this island. It’s a popular ritual for boaters to surround the island to witness the purple martins returning each evening to the island. More info

Purple Martins at Lake Murray
Purple Martins at Lake Murray - July 2009

8.) B-25 BOMBERS AT LAKE MURRAY – Doolittle Island (aka Bomb Island or Lunch Island) was used as a bombing range during parts of World War II. Flights originated at the Army Air Base that is now Columbia Metropolitan Airport. Several B-25’s crashed into Lake Murray and one was recovered in September 2005. That aircraft is now displayed at the Southern Museum of Flight in Birmingham, Alabama. The recovery effort was featured on the History Channel.
More info

Lake Murray's B-25
Lake Murray's B-25 from the Bottom of Lake Murray - September 20, 2005

9.) BUY THE SOUTH CAROLINA OFFICIAL STATE SNACK AT THE DAM – Yes, BOILED P-NUTS, the official state snack, are available on the Irmo side of the Dreher Shoals Dam most weekends. The Dam P-Nut Man (Wade Baughman) has been selling boiled p-nuts at the Kwik Way Exxon Station at 6230 Bush River Road (Columbia) for years. Stop in to buy some p-nuts soon from Wade. More info

Lake Murray 5 Towers
P-nuts for Sale at Lake Murray

Search Lake Murray MLS 10.) BEST PLACE TO FIND A LAKE MURRAY HOME ONLINE – Lake Murray was named one of the TOP TEN lakes in the USA for boating and living by BOATING MAGAZINE. Want to checkout homes online first? Visit Search Lake Murray MLS . Then Call or email Mel Coker to get started with your Lake Murray homes search:(803) 318-2007 or email Mel Coker

Researched and compiled by Mel Coker
Lake Murray Realtor & Resident
RE/MAX Real Estate Consultants | Chapin, SC (803) 318-2007

Photography credit: All photos by Mel Coker. Not to be used without permission or link attribution to this web page

More Lake Murray Information:

Dreher Shoals Dam | Lake Murray Blog | Lake Murray eBook in Issuu format | Lake Murray eBook in PDF format

Columbia "A to Z" | Columbia Real Estate | Lake Murray | Columbia, SC Blog |

Columbia, SC

Columbia real estate
Mel Coker on Lake Murray

Lake Murray | Lake Murray SC | Lake Murray Top 10 Interesting Facts | Lake Murray Information