Lake Anna History

Creation of Lake Anna

Lake Anna is a 13,000 square foot man made lake located approximately 72 miles southwest of Washington DC.  Lake Anna is also one of the largest freshwater lakes in Virginia and has become an increasingly popular vacation area for Northern Virginia.

In 1968, Dominion Power, formerly Virginia Power and Electric, purchased 18,000 acres of farm land in the Virginia counties of Orange, Spotsylvania and Louisa.  The land encompassed the North Anna and Pamunkey Rivers and would be used to cool the North Anna Nuclear Power Plant.  In 1972, the land had been cleared of timber and it was projected that it would take 3 years to fill the lake.  Due to heavy rainfall brought on by Hurricane Agnes, Lake Anna was full in only eighteen months.  Construction of the first megawatt hydroelectric power plant began in 1986 and went into commercial production in 1989.

The dam that created Lake Anna, the North Anna Dam, is 5,000 feet long and 90 feet high.  It’s 30 feet wide at it’s crest which is 265 feet above sea level.  The hydroelectric power plant is located next to the spillway which is located in the center of it’s body and is 200 feet wide.

Gold Mining in Lake Anna

Areas of Lake Anna have become well known for it’s Gold Mining history.  Located on the grounds of the Lake Anna State Park is the Goodwin Mine.  Between the years of 1830 and 1849, Virginia was the third leading gold producing state in the nation.  The ruins of the Goodwin Gold Mine is one of two historical gold mines left in the state of Virginia.  Gold mining had ended by 1947.  Until very recent years, it was assumed that the Goodwin Gold Mine was the only remaining gold mine ruins.

The second gold mine unearthed in the Lake Anna area is the Allah Cooper Mine located in Lake Anna west.  Allah Cooper Mine was discovered on the grounds of the Cutalong community and golf course when excavators were clearing land for roads.  The Allah Cooper Mine was a significant historical find for the Lake Anna region.  This mine predates the Civil War and gave the nearby town of Mineral it’s name.  In the Roaring Twenties, the once four story building caught fire and burned to the ground thus ending mining and the 350 foot deep Lake Anna mine was sealed.  Developers for Cutalong have made the ruins an attraction for property owners and visitors to Lake Anna’s golf course community, Cutalong.