Lake Overholser

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Lake Overholser
Lake Overholser.jpg
Overholser Dam in 2013
Location Oklahoma City, Oklahoma,
United States
Coordinates 35°29′52″N 97°40′47″W / 35.4977°N 97.6796°W / 35.4977; -97.6796Coordinates: 35°29′52″N 97°40′47″W / 35.4977°N 97.6796°W / 35.4977; -97.6796
Basin countries United States
Surface area 1,500 acres (610 ha)
Average depth 6 ft (1.8 m)
Max. depth 13 ft (4.0 m)
Water volume 17,100 acre·ft (21.1 hm3)
Shore length1 7 mi (11 km)
Surface elevation 1,242 ft (379 m)
Settlements Oklahoma City, Bethany
1 Shore length is not a well-defined measure.

Lake Overholser is a reservoir within the city limits of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The lake straddles the line separating Oklahoma and Canadian counties. Lake Overholser is formed by Overholser Dam on the North Canadian River in Oklahoma County, Oklahoma.[a] The lake is 2.9 miles (4.7 km) west of Bethany.[1] Lake Overholser is named after Ed Overholser who was the 16th Mayor of the City of Oklahoma City.[2]

The lake was originally intended to assure an adequate supply of municipal water, since the city depended primarily on the North Canadian River as a source, supplemented by private wells. The need for flood control capability became obvious when the river flooded in 1923, it breached the Lake Overholser Dam, and inundated much of the city.[3]



The lake covers approximately 1,500 acres (6 km²) and was constructed in 1919 to provide water to a treatment plant. According to USGS, its capacity is 17,100 acre feet (21,100,000 m3)[4] The average depth is 6 feet (1.8 m) and the maximum depth is only 13 feet (4.0 m).[2]

U.S. Route 66, "The Mother Road", was situated along the North shore of Lake Overholser from 1926 to 1958. A 1958 Route 66 improvement project created a new alignment for the highway that relocated the roadbed about 1/4 mile North of the lake. The original 1926 section of Route 66 still exists and was renamed North Overholser Drive. It runs south of the Stonebridge Lake Estates and Ramsey Lake and is considered one of the most scenic sections of the original Route 66.


Lake Overholser Dam
Country United States
Location Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Purpose City water, recreation
Status Complete
Construction began 1917
Opening date 1918
Owner(s) City of Oklahoma City
Dam and spillways
Type of dam Poured concrete buttress
Impounds North Canadian River (Oklahoma River)
Height 68 feet
Length 1650 feet

The Lake Overholser Dam, designed by Niels Ambursen and built by the Ambursen Construction Company of New York, is 68 feet (21 m) high and 1,258 feet (383 m)long. Oklahoma City residents voted a $1.5 million bond issue in 1916 to pay for the project.[5] The dam is built of reinforced poured concrete.[6]

The dam has four distinct sections of buttressed spillways and a solid spillway. A concrete walkway extends across the dam over the buttresses until it comes to the larger spillway, where it is carried by a Pratt through truss.[6]

A concrete wing wall anchors the dam into the eastern river bank. The first span of the dam, between the eastern wing wall and the pump house, is wide. The brick-walled pump house has a gabled tile roof, a small chimney, and two round ventilators. It sits above four arched sluiceway openings.[6]

Recreational facilities[edit]

Lake Overholser is a popular fishing area for local residents. A covered fishing pier is on the southwest side of the lake.[2] Species of fish include: white bass, bream, bluegill, striped bass, flathead catfish, crappie, carp, catfish and largemouth bass.[1]

Boating is allowed on the lake, but swimming is prohibited.[2]


  1. ^ A portion of the North Canadian River that flows through Oklahoma City was renamed the Oklahoma River in 2004.


External links[edit]