Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Lake Sidney Lanier Trailer, c.1963, Dawson County, GA

Photographer facing south
The subject in this post is quite different from the old homes that I usually focus on. However, this represents a typical structure from a time when people used to buy small lake lots to build cabins, place mobile homes, and RV's as weekend getaways.

Buford Dam, which holds back the Chattahoochee River, was completed in 1956, and flooded the valleys in Hall, Forsyth, Dawson, Gwinnett, and Lumpkin Counties. The lake is so massive that it took three years from dam completion to 1959 for the lake to fill up to the full pool elevation level of 1071ft above sea level. Since then it has become the water recreation playground of many north Georgians, with approximately 8 million visitors annually.
Addition of roof, deck, and sun room, photographer facing SW

Shortly after completion of the dam, speculators began buying up what would become lakefront property. Many of these developments consisted of very small lots of a half acre or less which were pitched as RV lots to be used as a place to leave the urban areas, such as Atlanta, behind for the peace and solitude of Georgia's newest lake.

During the building boom of the early 2000's, these small lake lots were selling for $250,000 and up. Even after the recession, one can expect to pay a hefty price for the promise of a lake view, and the possibility of having a personal dock from which to launch your boat or jet-ski.

Along with these hefty prices are the expectations that a showplace home must be built. The casualties of this type of thinking are places like the one in this post. There is nothing fancy about a single-wide trailer, but that used to be the point, didn't it? Your lake house was supposed to be a rustic, minimalist getaway; a place to tune out the noise of television and traffic; a place to fish, lay in the hammock in the shade, read a book while enjoying the breeze that is whistling through the screen of an open window. A place to let the quiet envelop you as you visited with family and friends.

As people have amassed more personal wealth, it has become commonplace for the typical lake house to be a 2,500 sqft or larger, air conditioned palace with three and a half bathrooms, 100 channels of television, wireless internet, closed windows, and pizza delivery.
Photographer facing SE

This old lake getaway that was placed in 1963 is set to be removed for the construction of a new house, that will undoubtedly be much easier on the eyes, and will have a beautiful view. The lot next door has a 2,700 sq ft home
was built in 2007, and sold for $450,000 in 2013. It's hard to argue with those numbers, but when you go from a house in the city, with all the modern amenities, to a house at the lake with all the modern amenities, are the memories as special?

Some will see this as an improvement. Like the old homes that are normally the subject of my posts, these lake camps are disappearing fast, and will soon be gone forever.
Photographer facing SE

Update: To the right is a photo of the completed house taken March 22, 2017. Quite a contrast.


  1. Remindful of northern Minnesota's lake cabins and property circa 50's and 60's...:)

    1. Thank you for your comment. I'm sure that there are holdout places like this on lakes, and vacation areas all across this country, but they are fading fast. Unlike down here, I imagine the places in Minnesota had a small window of summertime recreation to enjoy before it was time to drill the ice-fishing holes.