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Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography
Stump Lake Dam
Mississippi River Dam
Near Bemidji, MN

Stump Lake Dam

• Location: River Mile 1275.7
• County: Beltrami
• Structure Type: Concrete Structure
• Structure Width: 232 Feet (Estimated)
• River Elevation (Pool): 1,339 Feet
• River Elevation (Outflow): 1,318 Feet
• Water Fall: 21 Feet
• Date Built: 1907
The Stump Lake Dam is located about 5 miles east of Bemidji, MN. It impounds a small lake, Stump Lake, but has the effect of regulating the water level on the much larger Lake Bemidji. It is the largest of the headwater reservoir dams, and the only one to generate hydropower. The dam was built between 1907 and 1909 by the Warfield Electric Company. It was purchased in 1944 from the Interstate Power Company by the Ottertail Power Company. As a result, this dam is often called the Ottertail Power Dam.

The State of Minnesota DNR reports that this dam was built in 1907 to provide electricity to the city of Bemidji. At that time, the average electrical customer used the equivalent of one light bulb worth of power. Today, the dam represents less than 1% of the electrical power used in its service area. The original customers were a group of fourteen wood product factories located in Bemidji.

The photo above is is a view of the dam structure as seen from the canoe portage trail that allows canoeists to bypass the dangerous waters near the installation.


Stump Lake Dam
These two photos are downriver views of the dam as seen from the south riverbank. The photo above is a profile view, while the photo below is a close view of the spillway.

Stump Lake Dam
Stump Lake Dam
The photo above is a view of the downriver face of the dam as seen from the far side of the river near the County Highway 12 bridge. The photo below is a side view of the dam. The mechanism in the center of the photograph is used to adjust the control gates.

Stump Lake Dam
Stump Lake Dam
The photo above is the upriver side of the dam. The photo below is the dam powerplant.

Stump Lake Dam

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