Construction on Wilson Dam began in 1918 and was completed in 1924 under supervision of Hugh L. Cooper. The Wilson Dam actually predates the TVA, but was later placed under the authority of the TVA. The dam is 137 feet (42 m) high and stretches 4,541 feet (1,384 m) across the Tennessee River. The cost to build the dam was almost $47 million.
The main lock at Wilson Dam is 110 feet (34 m) wide by 600 feet (180 m) long. The lock lift is 94 feet (29 m). It is the highest single lift lock east of the Rocky Mountains An auxiliary lock has two 60 feet (18 m) wide by 300 feet (91 m) long chambers that operate in tandem. Over 3,700 vessels pass through Wilson Dam's locks each year.
The generating capacity of Wilson dam is 663 megawatts of electricity.