Oliver Reservoir History

The Oliver Reservoir dam was built in 1911 at a cost of $250,000, most of which was raised from the sale of bonds in small denominations to area residents. The first irrigation waters flowed out of the Oliver Reservoir in 1912, over flumes constructed by the P. Maginnis Factory, to turn the Lodgepole Valley green. Oliver Reservoir provided irrigation water to Lodgepole Valley farmers for 65 years. In 1976, the impoundment became unsafe and the lake was drained because the irrigation district could not afford the cost to repair it.  

In 1979-80, over $100,000 from private contributions were added to money from the South Platte Natural Resources District to match state and federal funding for rebuilding the Oliver Reservoir dam to be used as a recreational, wildlife conservation, and flood control facility. 

More than 100,000 cubic yards of dirt had to be moved to build the new spillway, and a complete recreation facility was designed around the lake. The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission entered an agreement with the South Platte NRD to administer the area, once facilities were complete and funding was provided by the Legislature. The Commission assumed control on July 1, 1984.

The 270-acre lake is used and enjoyed by area residents and tourists year-round, and serves as a reminder of what a local community can accomplish when working in a unified effort.