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What really lies under Lake Lanier? New exhibit in Sugar Hill dives into history, impact and myths
Lake Lanier 2 June 2021.jpg

Ever wondered about the construction of Lake Lanier or its spooky myths? 

The Sugar Hill Historic Preservation Society is giving the public the opportunity to explore its inception and mysteries with the new Lake Lanier Exhibit, which opens at 6 p.m. Friday, July 16, at the Sugar Hill Museum and Art Gallery.

 The display will be available for public viewing through Friday, Aug. 27. Entry is free. 

Brandon Hembree, member of the Sugar Hill City Council and the Historic Preservation Society, said the exhibit will kick off Friday with a book signing with Robert Coughlin, the author of “ A Storybook Site: The Early History of and Construction of Buford Dam.” 

He said the society was inspired to hold the exhibit after witnessing the strong interest community members had regarding the lake. 

“We hear a lot about Buford Dam and Lake Lanier in our community,” Hembree said. “ … There are always stories from folks about how it impacted them and their family connections.” 

Lake Lanier Exhibit by Sugar Hill Historic Preservation Society

What: Exhibit exploring the planning, construction, impact and myths of Buford Dam and Lake Lanier

When: 6 p.m. Friday, July 16, running through Friday,  Aug. 27

Where: Sugar Hill Museum and Art Gallery, 5010 West Broad St., Sugar Hill 

How much: free

Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday; noon to 6 p.m. Sunday; closed Monday

Contact: 770-945-6929

Other Lake Lanier pop-up events at the museum include the tale of “Fish Head” at 6 p.m. Friday, July 23; a meet and greet with Lisa Russell, the author of “Underwater Ghost Towns,” at 5:30 p.m. Friday, July 30; stories about the legend of Pete and Native American mounds at 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 6; Oscarville and graves under the lake at 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 13; and the legend of the “Lady of the Lake” at 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 20. 

Hembree said the exhibit is divided into several sections: the planning and property acquisition of Lake Lanier, its construction, the modern impact of the lake on surrounding communities and its myths and legends. He said many of the historical items on display, including original engineering documents of Lake Lanier, were donated by members of the Sugar Hill community. 

“Even though we’re talking about myths and legends, I hope one takeaway for people will be that they have a better understanding of the accurate history of the creation of the lake,” Hembree said. “You don’t hear the same stories about other lakes in Georgia. It makes it a fascinating place to live.”

The Sugar Hill Museum and Art Gallery is run by volunteers, and its hours of operation are subject to change. To make sure the exhibit is open before you arrive, call 770-945-6929.