In the 1700’s, a wandering hunter by the name of Uriah Stone turned up a small river which was later named in his honor. He found a country of open grasslands, cedar barrens, and woodlands which so abounded in game it staggered his imagination. The Stone’s River Basin had long been the favored hunting grounds of the Creek, Chickasaws, Shawnees, and Cherokees. Andrew Jackson followed some years later and built a magnificent columned mansion on a plantation near the Stones River which he called “The Hermitage”. Two hundred years later the Congress of the United States, by the authority of the Flood Control Act of 1946, commissioned the construction of a project under the name, “Stewarts Ferry Reservoir”. Public Law 85-496, approved July 2, 1958, changed the name to J. Percy Priest in honor of the late Congressman from Tennessee. Construction began June 2, 1963 and the dam was completed in 1968. The 33,0540-acre project is managed by a natural resource management staff under the direction of the District Commander in Nashville.
J. Percy Priest Dam is visible from Interstate 40 and is located between miles six and seven of the Stones River. It is conveniently located about ten miles east of downtown Nashville and impounds a lake 42 miles long. J. Percy Priest Lake covers portions of Davidson, Rutherford, and Wilson Counties and consists of 14,200 surface acres of water at summer pool elevation (490 feet above mean sea level). The water is surrounded by 18,854 acres of public lands; 10,000 acres are devoted to wildlife management