Atkinson Lake State Recreation Area's original lake impoundment built in 1894 by the Atkinson Milling and Irrigation Company and was operated for milling purposes and hydroelectric generation until 1929 when high water washed out the dam. In 1947, the city of Atkinson deeded the dam to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. In 1949, the Game and Parks rebuilt the structure but in the early 60's high water washed out the dam again and a third time in 1984 reducing it to just a stream. In 1991, a joint effort between local people and the Upper Elkhorn Natural Resources District, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Nebraska Department of Water Resources and the United States Army Corps of Engineers made it possible for the reconstruction of the Atkinson Dam. The lake was deepened and the overall size is approximately 14 surface acres. The Game and Parks has stocked the lake with bluegill, largemouth bass and channel catfish. In 1978, the Game and Parks bought approximately 2 acres of land which was an easement agreement in the 1950's. The recreation area at present takes in approximately 50 acres.