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Lake Lanier History

As each year passes, the importance of Lake Lanier to the people of Georgia becomes more and more evident. Each and every day Lake Lanier influences millions of people throughout the state of Georgia. Millions depend on Lake Lanier for water and power. The revenue generated from recreation on Lake Lanier funds businesses in surrounding counties.

Many ask who had the foresight to build this lake nestled in the foothills of north Georgia. Congress first authorized the construction of the lake in 1946 shortly after World War II. The most notable people involved are names that are easily recognized by native Georgians. The four most notable individuals were William Hartsfield, Richard Russell, Herman Talmadge, and Water George. The primary purpose was to generate power and to provide flood control. The ground breaking occurred on March 1, 1950. The development of the earth dam, saddle dikes, and power house took over seven years. During this time period over 56,000 acres had to be purchased by the government and over 700 families had to be located. 

In February 1956 the gates were closed and the lake made its slow progress toward full pool. Over three years later, the lake reached full pool. On October 9, 1957 the dedication was held on top of the intake structure parking lot and Lake Lanier was complete. 

Useful Lake Lanier History Websites:

Lake Sidney Lanier, U.S. Army Corp. of Engineers  

Lake Lanier History


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