Frank P. Gaines, chief of the Engineering Division of Nashville District Corps of Engineers, directed the planning and design of seven multipurpose projects in the Cumberland River Basin, numerous local flood protection projects in the Cumberland and Tennessee River valleys, and the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway. Born in December 1907, the Westminster, South Carolina, native graduated from Clemson University in 1929 with a degree in civil engineering. He began his long career with the Corps of Engineers in 1933, arriving in the Nashville District two years later. Subsequently, he became chief of design.
In 1942 Gaines entered the U.S. Army Reserve. He directed the design and construction of military airfields, among them the airbase at Courtland, Alabama. After duty in the Philippines, Colonel Gaines returned to Nashville in 1946, where he directed hospital and military construction. He became chief of construction in 1947, directing the completion of the Wolf Creek, Dale Hollow, and Center Hill Dam projects in the Upper Cumberland area. Six years later he became chief of engineering.
In the remaining half of his career, Gaines oversaw comprehensive development on the Cumberland River system. During this period, the Cheatham, Old Hickory, J. Percy Priest, and Cordell Hull Dam projects were completed in Middle Tennessee, along with Barkley Dam on the Lower Cumberland. He also laid the groundwork for the construction of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway.
Prominent in professional and civic affairs, Gaines remained active following his 1973 retirement. He died in Atlanta in 1987.