SINCE THE EARLY DAYS OF WOODY BOATER we have been aware of a very special lake in Georgia – named Lake Rabun. Just 90 miles north east of Atlanta in the Chattahoochee National Forest, Lake Rabun has a ton of history, and along with that history comes – you guessed it – a ton of wooden boats.
For example, only seven pre-war Gar Wood Streamliners are known to exist today, and three of them currently reside on Lake Rabun. Also, Rabun Boat House (more affectionately known as “Hall’s”) has been a landmark and gathering place servicing the Lakemont community since the 1930’s.
Although we haven’t made it down to Lake Rabun yet – it is definitely on our short-short list of historic lakes to visit. Then a few weeks ago we received an e-mail from fellow Woody Boater Bud Boland to let us know that Lake Rabun is celebrating its 100th Anniversary this Fourth of July weekend. A perfect way to celebrate Independence Day!
Bud suggested we contact the folks at the Lake Rabun website who have a wonderful archive of vintage photos from the area. This great website was developed by “The Lake Team” (Michael McGaughey, Craig Kettles, Sarah Gillespie) at Harry Norman Realtors (since 1930) which also describes the interesting history of Lake Rabun dating back to 1915 and the various amenities in the area.
We received permission from “The Lake Team” to publish a few of their vintage photos from the website which, as you will see, work perfect for Bud’s story today. – Texx
Lake Rabun, Georgia
Celebrates Its 100th Anniversary This Weekend!
Hi Matt and Texx,
First off, thank you for everything you do for the hobby. Your website is great and a welcome addition to the hobby. I am, admittedly, not as active as I should be, but I can recall about 12 years ago when I was restoring my Chris-Craft Sportsman that there was simply not enough website coverage devoted to wooden boating. Being a younger hobbyist (early 30s) I naturally went online to try and get my fix.
Secondly, I wanted to bring to your attention an event taking place the weekend of July 4th, specifically Sunday, July 5th, 2015 at Lake Rabun (in NE Georgia) at 10 a.m. Lake Rabun will hold its Annual Wooden Boat Regatta.
This event takes place each year, but this year Lake Rabun celebrates its 100th anniversary and a special effort is being made to engage as many wooden boats on the lake as possible. I would guess that typically 40 or so boats participate in any given year, but it is estimated that there are approximately 80+ wooden boats on the lake, so this year could be quite a sight to see. Word on the street is that a notable magazine will be present to document the event (I’m thinking maybe Garden & Gun).
I wanted to let you all know about this in case you haven’t already heard and may have a “field reporter” present to document the fun for the Woody Boater website.
I don’t see much mention of Lake Rabun on the website, but it is a wooden boating gem in the northeast corner of Georgia in the mountains. Long considered a retreat for wealthy Atlantans, it is a beautiful and woody-filled lake. In fact, it was home to the largest Chris-Craft dealer in the southeast. Consequently, it is known for its wooden boat floatilla. I believe it is also home to 2 or 3 of the remaining Gar Wood Streamliners in the world.
As for story-telling content, you are in luck. Given that the lake celebrates 100 years this year, the Lake Rabun Association (LRA) has been assembling a lot of historical information and stories and compiling it into a beautiful book and DVD. The book “Lake Rabun – Georgia’s Lake Como” is the long anticipated Centennial History of Lake Rabun and is being printed in anticipation of a 2015 Labor Day delivery. The 280 page book is a literal feast for the eyes and contains a complete history of Lake Rabun, or “Lakemont” as the “long-timers” call it. – LRA website
Lastly, Ben McCracken is the long-time mechanic on the lake who runs his own restoration shop (www.rabunboathouse.com).
Ben is a great source for information about some of the boats up there. He’s been involved in some pretty great boats and I believe does work on Alan Jackson’s fleet.
Best, Bud Boland
An excerpt from the Lake Ruben.com website;
By 1925 the lake became a haven for many residents of Atlanta, who would make the day long trip by car to enjoy the area. Lake Rabun at an elevation of 1689 feet, with a surface area of 835 acres and 25 miles of shoreline, is the second largest lake in the six lake chain. While not as large as Lake Burton, Rabun offers water skiing, fishing, and wonderful afternoon cruises.
Families have been building memories and community on Lake Rabun since 1915. The Lake Rabun Association, was chartered on 25 October 1928 as a succeeding organization to the “Lakemont Boat Club.” The list of charter members read like Atlanta’s Who’s Who of the 1920’s. The original LRA became inactive shortly thereafter due to the Great Depression. The current Lake Rabun Association was formed in 1970 and remains very active on both the lake and in Rabun County.
Lake Rabun remains a haven for many families. With a proximity of only 90 miles from Atlanta, it is the perfect getaway from the heat and traffic of Atlanta summers. The traditions and love for the lake remain constant, even as vintage wood boats and modern jet skis cross paths. The community is very strong and active due to the efforts of the Lake Rabun Association.
Special thanks to Bub Boland for sharing this story with us today. Bud is planning to be on hand this weekend for the 100 year celebration and if the weather (and his iPhone camera) cooperate, will hopefully be sending us a report from the event.
Also thanks again to “The Lake Team” at lakerabun.com for sharing their vintage photos with us today. We have to make a point to get down there one day soon for some southern hospitality.