The Cheat River dam was built as a privately owned hydroelectric facility in 1924–26. The resulting Cheat Lake covers 1,730 surface acres, stretching from the Mason-Dixon Line across the northeastern corner of Monongalia County. The lake is 13 miles long and from one to three miles wide.
The scenic qualities of the lake have spawned a major resort named Lakeview and several upscale suburban communities that serve Morgantown and West Virginia University. About 10,000 people live within a few miles of the lake. Interstate 68, a major east-west highway in the northern part of the state, crosses Cheat Lake. Coopers Rock State Forest overlooks the lake.
The lake partially covers land where an iron industry thrived during the 19th century, at and around Ices Ferry. That industry and the coal mining which followed in the 20th century degraded the Cheat River. By the 1950s, few fish were left. Conservation efforts that got under way in earnest in the 1990s cleansed the river and its tributaries. Cheat Lake was originally called Lake Lynn, for Albert M. Lynn, president of West Penn Company. The Lake Lynn Power Plant continues to make electricity, owned today by Allegheny Power Company.
This Article was written by Norman Julian
Last Revised on July 13, 2012
Callahan, James M. History of the Making of Morgantown, West Virginia: A Type Study in Trans-Appalachian Local History. Morgantown Printing & Binding, 1926.
Core, Earl L. The Monongalia Story 5 vols. Parsons: McClain, 1974-84.
Core, Earl L. The Westover Observer, 10/4/1956.