A civilian community grew up beside the army supply depot, providing goods and services to soldiers and civilian workers. After the Civil War, Johnsonville's economy revolved around the river and the railroad. Johnsonville ceased to exist in the early 1940s, when the rising waters of newly-created Kentucky Lake covered the town.
The Union supply depot presented an opportunity for businessmen. Soon hotels, boarding houses, saloons and general stores rose on the lots next to the depot. After the Civil War, the railroad bridged the Tennessee River and Johnsonville became a stopping point for commercial travelers. Excursion steamboats filled with sightseers made regular stops. Farms dotted the fertile floodplain. The river supported commercial fishing and musseling.
The town's location on the unpredictable Tennessee River proved perilous more than once, but the town survived the periodic flooding. Finally, the Tennessee Valley Authority did what Confederate cannon balls and floodwaters could not. The town of Johnsonville went under water for the last time in 1944 with the completion of Kentucky Dam and Lake.
Scenes of Old Johnsonville, clockwise from top right: a flood scene, ca 1940; the H.E. Hennen docked near the railroad bridge ca.1930; the railroad bridge built in 1871 and destroyed when Kentucky Lake was created. Flood scene courtesy Humphreys County Public Library and other photographs courtesy Johnsonville State Historic Park