Glendo Dam: A vital part of Platte County History
On June 4, 1959, an agreement between the US Government (Bureau of Reclamation) and the Wyoming Parks Commission (now Wyoming State Parks, Historic Sites and Trails) concerning the administration and development of lands and facilities at Glendo Reservoir for recreation purposes. This is when the reservoir became a State Park.
Preliminary investigations for Glendo started in 1944, but competing interests held it up. Glendo Dam was started in 1954 and construction finished in 1958. There are several reasons for Glendo Dam. The dam was constructed to store 800,000 acre feet of water (one acre foot is enough water to cover 1 acre of land to a depth of 1 foot). The total of the 800,000 acre feet of water is divided between several uses. 100,000 acre-feet is used for irrigation; 115,000 acre feet is for sediment control; 275,000 acre feet for flood control and 310,000 are for power production.
The power generated from the Hydroelectric power plant at Glendo Reservoir provides power to Wyoming, Nebraska, and Colorado.
Glendo was also along many of the old
historic trails, such as the Oregon Trail, The Mormon Trail, California Trail and a route for the Pony Express.
This area was prime farmland and was especially good for potatoes. The town of Glendo once was listed in the Guinness Book of Records as having the largest potato cellar, all of this was going to change with the construction of the reservoir, which sits on the land that was once home to many farms and ranches.
Several areas of Glendo State Park are named after landowners who lived here prior to the reservoir being constructed. Areas such as Bennett Hill, Waters Point and Hytrek Draw are some examples of areas that were previously owned prior to the reservoir. There are times when the lake reaches very low water levels; some foundations from some of the old homesteads are visible. In fact, there is a foundation and part of a flag pole from an old school house just off of Sandy Beach. It is never visible, but the old bridge across the original river channel is still there.