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New exhibit delves into history of Georgia’s Lake Lanier

July 17, 2021 GMT

GAINESVILLE, Ga. (AP) — A new exhibit tells the history of Lake Lanier, the reservoir and recreational hotspot north of Atlanta that supplies Georgia’s largest city with drinking water.

The display at the Sugar Hill Museum and Art Gallery opened Friday with a book signing by Robert Coughlin, author of “A Storybook Site: The Early History of and Construction of Buford Dam,” The Gainesville Times reported.

The dam — completed in the 1950s — formed the lake. The lake attracts millions of visitors each year for activities including camping and boating.

“We hear a lot about Buford Dam and Lake Lanier in our community,” said Brandon Hembree, a member of the Sugar Hill Historic Preservation Society. “There are always stories from folks about how it impacted them and their family connections.”

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Hembree told The Times that the exhibit covers the planning and property acquisition for Lake Lanier, its construction, the impact of the lake on surrounding communities and the myths and legends associated with the lake. Many of the historical items on display, including original engineering documents of Lake Lanier, were donated by members of the Sugar Hill community, he said.

Hembree said he hopes people walk away with a “better understanding of the accurate history of the creation of the lake.”

The free exhibit is open through Aug. 27.