• River: Clinch River
• Length: 809 Miles
• Surface Area: 34,200 Acres
• Volume: 2,040,000 Acre Feet
• Drainage Area: 2,912 Square Miles
• Length: 129 Miles
Norris Lake was created by the construction of Norris Dam in the mid-1930s. Norris Dam was the first major project for the Tennessee Valley Authority, which had been created in 1933 to bring economic development to the region and control the rampant flooding that had long plagued the Tennessee Valley. The dam was named in honor of Nebraska Senator George Norris (1861-1944), a longtime supporter of government-owned power in general, and supporter of TVA in particular. Norris Dam was completed and the gates closed on March 4, 1936, constructed at a cost of $36 million. The dam's first generator went online July 28, 1936.
The Clinch River flows southwestward for 300 miles from its headwaters in Virginia through the rugged, sparsely-populated hills of northeastern Tennessee before emptying into the Tennessee River near Kingston. Norris Dam is located at just over 79 miles upstream from the mouth of the Clinch, immediately downstream from the river's confluence with Cove Creek, which joins the river from the northwest. The reservoir includes parts of Anderson, Campbell, Union, Claiborne, and Grainger counties. Norris Reservoir spans a 73-mile stretch of the Clinch from the dam to River Ridge at the Claiborne-Grainger county line. The reservoir also covers the lower 56 miles of the Powell River, which empties into the Clinch 10 miles upstream from Norris Dam.
Norris Freeway, a section of U.S. Highway 441 widened in the 1930s to aide in dam construction, crosses the top of Norris Dam and connects the area to Interstate 75 at Lake City, Tennessee to the west and Knoxville to the south. Along with the reservation maintained by TVA for the operation of Norris Dam, most of the lower Norris Reservoir is surrounded by conservation lands, including Norris Dam State Park adjacent to the reservation, the Cove Creek Wildlife Management Area across the lake to the north, and the Chuck Swan State Forest, which protects a large undeveloped area a few miles upstream.