Lake Eufaula Turns 50

By: Sarah Cantey Email
By: Sarah Cantey Email

Whether you know it as Lake Eufaula, or Walter F. George, it’s a piece of the Wiregrass that has been a part of many people’s lives. You’re able to enjoy the lake because of the lock and dam that was built 50 years ago.

With it’s beautiful water and picturesque views, Lake Eufaula can easily be a place where you could forget about everyday struggles.
For AJ Sankey, the lake was more than just a distraction in the early 50’s. It was a life-saver.

“Things were going bad for me and I was wondering if I was going to make it and I got hired here in November the 7th, 1955,” he said.
The lake also washed away worries for Chester Calhoun. “It provided me a living I was here for 33 years,” he said. And the lake, along with the lock and dam, have been providing plenty of opportunities and memories for hundreds of Wiregrass families.

On Thursday people honored its 50th anniversary, the workers who made it a reality, and the impact it has on the area.

Operations Project Manager Bill Smallwood said, “They bring in the tourism, they encourage commerce and bring in industries.” In fact, the operation employs 2,000 people and provides roughly $163 million for the area every year. That’s not all; this dam provides power for more than 56,000 homes.

But beyond the power, money, family vacations and even a job, Sankey says he has another reason to thank the lake, lock and dam.
“Mr. Calhoun and myself, all the rest of the old fellas have gone on…I’m so blessed to meet so many different people and it was a blessing to me and my family.”

A blessing the men hope goes strong for another fifty years. The lake, lock, and dam are managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.


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