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.
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.
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.
The photo above is the upriver side of the dam. The photo below is the