The town was formerly located at the confluence of the Cumberland River with the Tennessee but both have been replaced by artificial lakes created by the Tennessee Valley Authority in the early 20th century. It now lies on an isthmus of land between Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley.
Grand Rivers may have originally been known as Narrows from its position between the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers. The local post office was established in 1879 as Otisville; changed its name in 1882 to Bernard; and was then changed again to Nickells the next year after the name of a new Illinois Central station.
The settlement was formally incorporated by the state assembly in 1890 as Grand Rivers. This newly expanded community was part of local businessman Thomas W. Lawson‘s attempt to develop local iron deposits into a major steel industry. (The enterprise failed within a few years.) The name refers the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers which previously met near the site, prior to the TVA’s creation of Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley. The Tennessee’s confluence with the Ohio is located within 40 miles of the town as well.
This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Grand Rivers, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.