Hall County

Lake Lanier Association says there’s no need to change lake’s name -- or Buford Dam’s

HALL COUNTY, Ga. — Could Lake Lanier be renamed over its ties to a Confederate soldier?

A federal commission is considering renaming both Lanier and Buford Dams for their namesake’s connection to the Confederate south.

Lake Lanier has been known by its name for more than 60 years.

But now the Department of Defense Naming Commission is examining Army Corp projects like Buford Dam and Lake Lanier with namesakes of the Confederacy.

Lake Lanier draws millions of visitors each year. It was built and is operated by the Army Corp of Engineers along with Buford Dam for flood control and water supplies.

The lake is named after Sidney Lanier, a 19th-century musician, and poet, who penned the poem song of the Chattahoochee. He also served several months as a private in the Confederate army.


Should that be grounds to change the name of the lake?

“I kind of get why the name should be changed and everything just because for such a beautiful place I think it shouldn’t have such a bad connotation with it,” lake visitor Ashley Davidson said.

“I don’t think there is enough of a connection between the Confederacy and the namesakes of the lake and the dam to justify changing the names,” said Clyde Morris, vice president of the Lake Lanier Association.

Morris told Channel 2′s Tom Regan that the decision to name the reservoir after Sidney Lanier had nothing to do with his short service in the Confederate army.

Likewise, for Algernon Sydney Buford. The city took on his name in recognition of his ownership of a local railroad, not his participation in the Civil War.

“We don’t think there’s a good enough reason to be changing Lanier’s name or the Buford Dam’s name,” Morris said.

“Would you vote to change the name if you could or keep it the same?” Regan asked lake visitors Tom and Dena Lahalieh.

“I kind of like the name Lanier,” they answered.

There’s no timeline on when a decision on a possible name change of the lake and dam will be made, but it would likely be years.