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History of Whiskeytown Lake

Whiskeytown Lake was formed as part of the Central Valley Water Project, providing water for agriculture. President John F. Kennedy dedicated the lake in 1963.

Although local creeks such as Brandy Creek flow into the lake, most of the water in Whiskeytown Lake comes from the Trinity River. This water is diverted over the mountains by tunnels and penstocks to the Judge Carr Powerhouse.

While no one really knows the origin of the Whiskeytown name, local folklore tells of a miner by the name of Billie Peterson who had a mishap in the 1850's. While hauling supplies back to his mine, the pack on his mule's back came loose and a whiskey barrel went tumbling down the hillside, breaking on the rocks below and spilling its contents into the creek. From this christening came the name Whiskey Creek, and the small settlement that established itself next to the waterway became known as Whiskeytown.

 
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