Wake Forest Historical Museum

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“Falls Lake: Past, Present, and Future,” a presentation by Dana L. Matics, US Army Corps of Engineers

October 4, 2020 @ 4:00 pm 5:00 pm

Falls Lake Program Banner, photograph of Falls Lake,

You are invited to explore the history of Falls Lake during a virtual presentation by Dana L. Matics, US Army Corps of Engineers, on Sunday, October 4th at 4:00 pm.

Falls Lake is a 12,000-acre reservoir located in Wake, Durham, and Granville counties. The Falls Lake Project was authorized by Congress in 1965 and developed by the US Army Corps of Engineers at the request of the State of North Carolina and local municipalities. Completed in 1981, Falls Lake provides flood management, drinking water, and recreation land for communities in the Neuse River Basin.

Falls Lake is an incredibly important part of daily life in the Triangle, and many of us have some connection to or memory of the lake. If you live in Wake Forest or Raleigh your drinking water might come from the reservoir. You may have enjoyed a picnic or hike or even gone fishing on its banks. Perhaps you or someone you know gave up their home or business for the lake or worked on the construction of the dam. Since its creation, Falls Lake—and debates over its construction and value and concerns about water use and quality—have united and divided residents, municipalities, politicians, and state and federal agencies.

During this presentation by Dana L. Matics, we’ll learn how 20 miles of the Neuse River was turned into a reservoir that supplies recreation for over 1 million visitors each year, provides drinking water for much of Wake County, and provides flood impact reduction for communities downstream in the Neuse River Basin. Along with all of the good that came along with Falls Lake, we cannot forget the bad or ugly—depending upon your perspective. So, we’ll also talk through how local families gave up land, homes, and businesses for Falls Lake to exist and benefit the greater good.  

Photograph of workers on old wooden dam on Neuse River.
Photograph of workers on an old wooden dam uncovered during construction of Falls Lake Dam in the late-1970s. When this photo was taken, the wooden dam was over 150 years old and covered by silt, mud, and water. Photograph courtesy of the US Army Corps of Engineers.

Dana Matics has worked with the US Army Corps of Engineers for 20 years. She started as a co-op student in college, alternating semesters working as a Park Ranger at Falls Lake and going to school at Virginia Tech. In 2003 she received a B.S. in Wildlife Science and was hired permanently by the Corps of Engineers at Falls. From there she began her career as an Outreach Ranger, providing educational interpretive programs to the public and in schools. Over the years, she has been fortunate to move up in the agency while remaining in the area and is now the Assistant Operations Project Manager over the USACE offices at Falls Lake, Jordan Lake, and three Lock and Dams along the Cape Fear River.  While she only gets to do interpretive programs every now and again anymore, it’s still one of her favorite things to do!

Registration

This program is free and open to the public. Registration is required. Instructions for joining the Zoom Webinar will be sent in advance of the program date.

Participants can register below or on eventbrite.com.


This event is part of Water/Ways, a Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition that explores water’s environmental and cultural impact. Water/Ways is part of Museum on Main Street, a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and the North Carolina Humanities Council, and was adapted from an exhibition organized by the American Museum of Natural History, New York.

This event is made possible by funding from the North Carolina Humanities Council, a statewide nonprofit and affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the North Carolina Humanities council.

Mission

To preserve and share the unique history and culture of Wake Forest – College, Town, and University.