Lake Martin began when Alabama Power Company constructed a dam across the Tallapoosa River at Cherokee Bluffs, one of Tallapoosa County’s most prominent landmarks. Construction began July 24, 1923, and the hydro generating plant was put into service on Dec. 31, 1926. The dam and lake were named in honor of Thomas Martin, president of Alabama Power from 1920 to 1949 and chief executive officer from 1949 to 1963.
When the dam was completed, it created what was then the largest artificial body of water in the world. The lake covers 40,000 acres and has 700 miles of shoreline. Its length along the Tallapoosa River is 31 miles.
At full pool, the lake is 490 feet above sea level. The lake is usually lowered about 10 feet in the winter. The maximum depth at the dam is 155 feet.