Just 18 miles north of Charlotte, North Carolina, a beautiful river drains from the Appalachian Mountains and flows into what is sometimes referred to as the “inland sea” of North Carolina. Lake Norman, the largest man-made freshwater lake in North Carolina, was constructed by Duke Energy as part of a power generation project which now consists of Cowan’s Ford power station dam, the coal burning steam-electric generator at Marshall Steam Station, and the William B. McGuire Nuclear Station. The Catawba River flows through the Cowan’s Ford Dam, which consists of more than one mile of earthen and over 1200 feet of concrete dam, and drains towards the south into Mountain Island Lake. These are just a few of the many interesting Lake Norman facts which make this lake so unique.
Among other Lake Norman facts, it was completed in 1964, and covers over 32,000 acres when full and is over 33 mile long and 9 miles wide. The lake’s name was derived from the former Duke Power President, Norman Cocke. The power generated at the 3 power stations located on the lake feeds the entire Piedmont region of North Carolina. In addition, the cities of Charlotte and Mooresville as well as surrounding counties rely on Lake Norman for their water supply. With a shoreline length of approximately 520 miles, surface area of over 50 square miles, and an average depth of over 33 feet, there is plenty of recreational activity available in addition to the power generation and water supply capability of this beautiful lake. The lake is home to Lake Norman State Park which was built by the state of North Carolina and Duke Power in partnership. 10 public access points on the lake, provided by Duke Power, offer easy access for boaters to egress the water. Lake Norman is regularly stocked with striped bass, largemouth bass, crappie, catfish, spotted bass and bream. Other interesting Lake Norman facts include the International Jet Sport Boats Association tour stops at there annually and the South Atlantic Yacht Racing Association conducts numerous sailboat races during the year.
Another benefit provide by the construction of Lake Norman is flood control. The devastating Catawba River flood of 1916 caused extensive damage in Mecklenburg County. An estimated 80 people perished and it is suggested that the flood caused over $20,000,000 in property damage. Lake Norman has an incredible capacity of almost 3.5 trillion gallons of water and endured the torrential rains of 1970 without overflowing.