Tom Jenkins Dam

About this Location

Tom Jenkins Dam (Burr Oak Lake) is a multi-purpose flood control project built by the Corps of Engineers under the authority of the Flood Control Act of 1944.

The Tom Jenkins Dam office is open from 7:30 am until 4:00 pm.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers owns 100 acres of land surrounding Tom Jenkins Dam including a portion of Burr Oak Lake in front of the Dam. The Corps also purchased the rights to flood around the land around Burr Oak Lake up to an elevation of 750 feet.

Tom Jenkins Dam was built across the valley of the east branch of Sunday Creek, a tributary of the Hocking River. The dam is about three miles north of Glouster on OH-13, in Trimble Township of Athens County. From the dam, the lake extends southward for about 1.5 miles, where it crosses into Homer Township of Morgan County. It then stretches northward for about four miles into Union Township of Morgan County.

Burr Oak Lake was built as a multiple-use reservoir for flood control, water supply, and recreation. The lake was a cooperative venture. The Department of Natural Resources purchased the land and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers constructed the dam and control gates.

About Burr Oak State Park

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Located in southeast Ohio, quiet and remote Burr Oak State Park has a rustic country charm in its 2,593-acre scenery of wooded hills and valley farms. As one of Ohio’s resort parks, Burr Oak offers a wide array of overnight accommodations with its lodge, cottages, and campground. Burr Oak blends modern conveniences with the wilderness spirit of Ohio.

Situated in the valley of Sunday Creek, the Burr Oak area was inhabited by Indians and, later, by settlers who found an abundance of game animals and the resources necessary for survival in the Ohio wilderness.

Coal, one of Ohio’s most important mineral resources, was mined here for many years. As mining operations expanded, mining towns grew and prospered. Few of these mining towns were as notorious as the village of Santoy.

Many colorful tales were told of life in Santoy. In the true spirit of frontier life, so the story goes, a gunfight was once held over a $20 debt. The street was cleared as the two participants met for a showdown. The ensuing battle left both men lying in the street–one dead and the other critically wounded. The “Old West” came to life in Ohio when the coal company payroll was robbed by bandits who made a horse-mounted getaway through the town.

Countless other tales live on, but Santoy could not. A fire in 1924 destroyed the coal tipple and several businesses. The loss was so devastating that just three years later the second mine shaft shut down. In November 1931, the nineteen remaining voters decided to abandon the town. Today, only the church, the town’s first building, still stands as a reminder of days gone by.

In 1950 Burr Oak Lake was created by the construction of the Tom Jenkins Dam across the east branch of Sunday Creek. Two years later, Burr Oak was dedicated as a state park.

Burr Oak State Park epitomizes the wilderness character of southeast Ohio. Miles of forested ridges and hollows comprise these foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. The woodlands support a variety of wildlife including white-tailed deer, ruffed grouse, box turtles, and the elusive wild turkey. The lake’s shore is inhabited by industrious beaver and various waterfowl species.

The forest is comprised of numerous hardwoods but is dominated by stately oaks and hickories. In autumn, the forest displays spectacular fall colors as leaves turn to deep reds, brilliant yellows, and burnt oranges. Woodland wildflowers are equally as impressive in the spring when violets, Dutchman’s breeches, trillium, rare orchids, bloodroot, and hepatica are in bloom.

Content from Official Website and Burr Oak State Park Official Website