Today visitors flock to the stunning Roanoke region of Virginia to experience all the waterfront fun and natural beauty of Smith Mountain Lake. What many people don’t understand is that Smith Mountain Lake hasn’t been around all that long like other lakes in the United States. It wasn’t created as a result of plate tectonics or a impact crater filling over time. All 41 miles of our favorite lake was created by man between 1960 and 1963. The short history is a fun one, and it adds a little flavor to this now popular area.
The Town Under The Waves
As early as 1920, the proposals were put forth to dam the Roanoke River and Blackwater River to harness energy and produce electricity, but construction wouldn’t begin until 40 years later. Construction finished in 1963 and by 1966 water levels had reached their maximum.
Rumor has it that there is still a town that lies under the waves. Roads, homes, and even a church with a high white steeple are, supposedly, still there 150 feet under the lake. The problem is that no one seems to know if this is fact or fiction. Maybe you should grab your scuba gear and find out!
Development Of The Shoreline
All the way up through the 1970s, the Smith Mountain Lake area remained pretty rural, acting as a home for many agricultural endeavors, including tobacco. That began to change in the mid-80s when golf courses and large lakefront homes began sprouting up along the shoreline. Today, local residents and vacationers alike can be found in stunning properties up and down the 500 miles of shoreline.
It’s become a top location not just for vacation rentals, but for family homes as well. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins all enjoy what this area has to offer year round.
Smith Mountain Lake Today
Over the years, Smith Mountain Lake has been featured in several films including the ever popular 1991 comedy, “What About Bob?” Today, it lies in Bedford, Franklin, and Pittsylvania Counties but is the largest lake contained within the state lines of Virginia.
Because Smith Mountain Lake has become such a thriving tourist destination, recreation activities around the lake have picked up significantly in recent years. Families can head down to a marina and rent a boat for the day or find some delicious local cuisine near the place where they are staying. Hiking trails are everywhere around the lake, and out on the lake, fisherman rejoice in the abundance of striped bass. There’s no shortage of fun to be had here.
Virginia Is For Lovers
The great state of Virginia is an often overlooked tourist destination; but the tagline “Virginia is for lovers” changed all that. More and more people are flocking to this beautiful state for their summer getaways, as well they should, and Smith Mountain Lake is a premier destination for lovers, families, retirees, adventurers, outdoorsmen, hikers, fishermen, and vacationers. The history of Smith Mountain Lake is a short, but interesting one, and we know it will continue for a long time to come.