Back in Time: Whirlwind of land acquisition floods Marais des Cygnes Valley

Shown in a June 1975 photo of Melvern Lake, its then-new 12-story control tower is already a landmark on the water.

About 1972, Corps of Engineers attorneys obtained easement for the Melvern Reservoir in Osage County, Kan. The details involved in acquiring an easement for land to be flooded by the Melvern Reservoir in Osage County, Kan., is explained by a Corps of Engineers attorney, Ben Bonner, left, to sellers of the easement, Mr. and Mrs. Harold Evertson, of Topeka, Kan. The easement permitted flooding of 180 acres of the 350-acre tract owned by the couple. Exemplifying the speed of the process, the Evertsons received their check 10 days after signing the agreement.

According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the lake on the Marais des Cygnes River in Kansas attracted 882,000 visitors in 1974, the year before it was dedicated. Built at a cost of $37,100,000, the flood risk reduction and recreation site was dedicated on June 21, 1975. The rolled earthfull dam is 125 feet high and the lake covers 6,930 acres.

For more information about Melvern Lake see the Corps’ website here:

Or see: Melvern Lake: One of the best reasons Osage County is the Water Sports Capital of Kansas!

Information and photos thanks to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas City District.

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