Dale Hollow Dam and Lake was authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1938 and the River and Harbor Act of 1946. The project was completed for flood control in 1943. Power-generating units were added in 1948, 1949 and 1953. The project was designed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and built by private contractors under the supervision of the Corps. The dam, power plant and reservoir are operated by the Nashville District of the Corps of Engineers.
Dale Hollow Dam is located approximately three miles east of Celina, Tennessee, on the Obey River, 7.3 miles above its juncture with the Cumberland River at river mile 380.0. Dale Hollow Lake covers portions of Clay, Pickett, Overton and Fentress counties in Tennessee and Clinton and Cumberland counties in Kentucky. The project consists of 27,700 surface acres of water and 24,842 acres of surrounding land.