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Sutton Lake

Huntington District
Published Jan. 10, 2024

Sutton Lake covers 1440 acres. It is a beautiful lake, winding 14 miles along the Elk River, with many coves along its 40 miles of shoreline. The lake is 125 feet deep at the dam. Sutton Dam is located just above the Town of Sutton, 101 miles above the mouth of the Elk River in Charleston. It is a concrete-gravity structure 210 feet high, 1,178 feet long, and 195 feet wide at the base. It controls a 537 square mile drainage area, including the upper Elk River, and the Holly River. Sutton Dam was built primarily for flood control on the Elk, Kanawha and Ohio Rivers. During periods of flooding, water is stored behind the dam, frequently reducing the severity of flooding below the dam. It was completed in 1961 at a cost of $35 million. Flood damages have been reduced by more than $614 million dollars by flood control efforts at Sutton Dam. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers operates and maintains the dam and project recreation facilities.  Restrooms are located at the Project Office and all recreation areas. For more information about Braxton County and area attractions, visit the Braxton County Visitor and Convention Bureau's web site.

Historical Info
The Town of Sutton is the county seat of Braxton County, near the geographic center of West Virginia. Braxton County was formed from Nicholas, Lewis and Kanawha Counties in 1836 and was named in honor of Carter Braxton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. The town was named for John D. Sutton, who owned most of the land where the town is located, including the log house which held the first county court. The first inhabitants of the territory that now embraces Braxton County were the Carpenters. Four of the Carpenter brothers had been in the Revolutionary Army. They settled at the mouth of Holly River about 1790. Benjamin, the youngest brother, and his wife were murdered by Indians in 1792. It was reportedly the last Indian raid in central West Virginia. Adam O’Brien, Indian scout and hunter, helped to make the first survey of land in the territory in the summer of 1784. The survey began at a poplar tree standing in the low gap at the head of Grannys Creek. This land included the territory upon which Sutton and Gassaway now stand, and extended for several miles down Elk River. The Sutton Lake project was authorized by Congress in the Flood Control Act of 1938. Construction began in October 1949, but was interrupted by the Korean War. Work restarted in 1956 and in the dam was finally completed in 1961.

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