Damsite Community

News-Tribune Article, June 06, 2007

A parcel of property located in Township 40N Range 15W, the bulk of which is sited in the SW¼ of section 20, extending to the Northwest into the NW¼ of section 20, the NE¼ of section 19, and the SE¼ of section 19.

 Damsite - Bagnell Dam


By Gaylord Strange

Dam Site, MO was a town that came into existence with the construction of the Bagnell Dam. It was located on a farm that belonged to Henry Lemuel and Rebecca Strange; Henry Lemuel was better known as Lemmie. They were my parents, and I was sixteen years of age as I was born in 1913, and spent a lot of time in the town of Dam Site.

The farm on which Dam Site was built was one mile east and down the river from the Bagnell Dam, and it extended one mile north from the Osage River, and the Osage River is about the middle of the river front of this farm. Its west property line and the east property line of Union Electric are about the same, and just inside this property line was where the guard house and the employment office was located, so all the people who worked on the construction of Bagnell Dam had to pass through the property of Lemmie Strange, as this was the only road to the construction site.

People came in and leased road frontage to build places of business. On the south side of the road there was the J and K poolhall built by Leo Kirsch and Roy Johnson which was at the entrance to the Union Electric property. Next was the Storm's Boarding House, then the Pepper Cabin Camp built by John Pepper, then the Theater build by Mae Edmonds, then a filling station and garage operated by Harry Tanner, then the gravel pit leased by Hydro Electric where they got gravel for the roads they built, like the one that ran up the bottom that lay beside the railroad track that went to the construction site.

On the north side of the road was a barber and shoe shop operated by Mr. and Mrs. Edwards, then a restaurant, next a drug store and post office in the same building. Next came a grocery store owned by W. R. Politte, then a grocery and barber shop in joining buildings; the store was owned by a man by the name of Hall. Next was a newsstand owned by John Green, then a Bowling Alley owned by Mr. and Mrs. Goodman.

All the guards and law officers were deputy sheriffs with Harold J. Smith as Chief Deputy.

There were a lot of people living in tents; the hills and valleys were full of tents and people paid $3.00 per month for a place to put a tent.

Just outside the east gate of Dam Site was Victor City, which had Taylor's Grocery Store, Hall's Cabin Camp and several houses in which people who worked on the dam lived. There were also many others who lived in tents. Next you came to Spring camp which was owned by Edgar Strange, a brother to Lemuel Strange. In it there was the Atterberry Brothers grocery store, a boarding house and a lot of tents and cabins. Next came the Conner Camp Ground which was owned by William E. Conner who was a brother to Rebecca Strange. They had several cabins and tents also; this campground was located near the Pleasant Grove School House.

Miller County Museum and Historical Society
P.O. Box 57
Tuscumbia, MO 65082
© 2007 - Miller County Historical Society

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