Buford Dam 🏗 project on the Lake Sidney Lanier from air🚁
Forsyth County, North Georgia🍑🇺🇸
The lake's original purposes were to provide hydroelectricity, navigation, and flood control of the Chattahoochee River, and water supply for the city of Atlanta.
The $1 billion project was approved, with ground breaking in 1950. Approximately 700 families were moved from the area after their properties were bought by the USCOE, in order to flood the area and create the lake. A stretch of Georgia Highway 53 had to be abandoned that ran too close to the planned shoreline. Gainesville's Looper Speedway was also condemned and abandoned.
More than $2 million had been spent by the Corps on preliminary construction when the House Committee on Appropriations refused to provide more funds in June 1951. During that summer Atlanta mayor William Hartsfield traveled to Washington numerous times pressing southern Democratic Senators Richard Russell, Jr. and Walter F. George to restore funding to ensure Atlanta's water supply during droughts. Hartsfield returned to Washington in 1955 to lobby for $11 million more for the dam, which had a target date of 1956, again stressing the importance of an adequate water supply for his growing city. Congress approved the funds, and the dam was completed and opened on schedule.
Lake Lanier began filling in 1956, and in 1957, 20 miles downstream, Morgan Falls Dam was raised to regulate the flow from Buford Dam and regulate the flow of water to Atlanta. In early fall of 1958, the region had two solid months of drought, which would have left the Chattahoochee and its tributaries nearly dry, if not for the construction of Buford Dam and the reserve of Lake Lanier.