a rich history

When Silver Lake was first built in 1911, Peachtree Road was a mere two-lane dirt road. Since then, the lake has been owned by three owners — including the newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst — and served as Atlanta’s first bird sanctuary.

a brief history


According to noted historian Dr. Paul Hudson of Oglethorpe University, in 1911 the real estate developer C. H. Ashford dammed several unnamed tributaries of Nancy Creek creating a 38-acre recreational lake “in a beautiful sylvan setting.” In 1929, the lake was purchased for Oglethorpe University through a $135,000 donation by newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst. In 1935 it was re-named Lake Phoebe in honor of Hearst’s mother.

In 1978, following the failure of an earthen dam in Toccoa, Georgia, Silver Lake’s dam was declared unsafe and drained for safety reasons by order of Georgia Governor George Busbee. With the help of Oglethorpe University, the dam was restored in 1980. After, the lake property and adjoining park land was deeded to the newly-organized Silver Lake Civic Association, which now owns and maintains the lake and property.

In 2003 the Silver Lake Civic Association raised funds to dredge Little Silver Lake, which was threatened by years of sedimentation from stormwater runoff and development in the area. Since, Silver Lake has been lowered repeatedly, including in both 2005 and 2016, to permit repair of the dam.

Silver Lake has survived many challenges over the century, but many remain. The Silver Lake Civic Association needs your help to maintain this amazing natural habitat for the preservation of wildlife and enjoyment of our families and children for generations to come.

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