Lake Rabun Centennial (1915-2015)

This year, Lake Rabun, created in 1915 by the completion of the Mathis dam, is celebrating its centennial anniversary.  With that has come a renewed focus on the traditions and history that make it the uniquely charming destination it is today.

In 1918, William Stuart Witham purchased a peninsula on the lake and in 1921 built a house known as “Withmere,” inspired by the summer hunting lodges of Great Britain.  The home was one of the very first residences built on the shores of Lake Rabun and the four bedroom main house remains intact with many of the original furnishings.  

A short boat ride from Witham Point lies another historic property, Stone Haven, on land purchased by Dr. George Bellinger in 1914 from Augustus Andreae, founder of the Lake Rabun Hotel.  Every inch of the property was designed to be inviting and to encourage enjoyment for visitors traveling from Atlanta and beyond.  Throughout the 1940’s and 50’s, the estate was a destination resort with a guest list that read like a “who’s who” of Atlanta society.

Augustus Andreae with a hotel guest, circa 1925 Augustus Andreae with a hotel guest, circa 1925

Those who do not have the opportunity to stay in one of the homes on the lake can also get a taste of the unique Rabun experience by staying in the historic Lake Rabun Hotel. 

A current ad photo of the Lake Rabun Hotel A current ad photo of the Lake Rabun Hotel
Another shining example of how strongly the community values its history, the hotel celebrated its 90th birthday in 2012.  The lodge was founded by European immigrant Augustus Andreae. Since opening in 1922, the hotel has been in operation continually with only short periods of closure for restoration and repairs.  One such closure was in 2008 when it was carefully restored by preservationists to maintain its ancestral charm.  Today, guests can stay at the hotel or simply drop by for dinner and eat an award-wining meal in the impressively, but not surprisingly, last surviving mountain lodge on a lake in the state of Georgia.

Help us plan for
Rabun County’s Bicentennial Celebration

Special Exhibit:
Rabun’s Twentieth Century in Review

At the turn of the twentieth century, Rabun County remained largely isolated from the outside world. This would change dramatically with the coming of a railroad which also brought tourism, logging and dam building.
View this exhibit

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