Lake Russell is a 27,000 acre man-made reservoir located partially in northeast Georgia and partially in South Carolina. Lake Russell has its origin in the 1966 U.S. Flood Control Act, which authorized funds for construction of a dam on the Savannah River between Georgia and South Carolina. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began construction in 1974 and completed the dam in December of 1984. The dam created a lake and its original name was Trotters Shoals Lake but it was later renamed to commemorate a senator from Georgia, Richard B. Russell. The dam was named Richard B. Russell Dam.
Lake Russell is approximately 26,500 acres in size, it is 29 miles long, and it has 540 miles of shoreline. Federal Laws prohibit exclusive private use of public lands surrounding Lake Russell and it is one of the few lakes in the South that remains commercially undeveloped, pristine and naturally picturesque. The water level at Lake Russell may be drawn down a maximum of 5 ft. by federal mandate. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers maintains the water level so that it can only drop a maximum of 2 to 3 ft. from its normal pool elevation of 475 ft. above sea level.
More than 1.1 million people per year visit Lake Russell to enjoy a wide variety of recreational activities including water sports, hunting, hiking, picnicking, camping and fishing. Because no homes have been built along its federally protected shoreline, Lake Russell is a wonderful place to enjoy beautiful scenery and observe various forms of wildlife in their natural habitats, and it has become a breeding ground for many different species of fish. Largemouth bass fishing at Lake Russell is so popular that bass fishing tournaments are held throughout the year.
Real estate in areas near Lake Russell
The nearest city to Lake Russell is Elberton with a population of 4,743 according to the U.S. census in 2000. Elberton is known as the Granite Capital of the World because more granite monuments are made in Elberton than in any other city in the world. In 2007, the estimated median house value in Elberton was $98,679, having appreciated from $64,400 in 2000 and the cost of living was 21.8% lower than the national average.
In addition to older homes that were built in Elberton prior to 1960, many charming yet modern log cabin style homes, new ranch style homes and some undeveloped land lots are available. Prices generally range from well below the $100,000’s to $250,000 for single family homes on ½ acre to 1 acre of land in Elberton. Undeveloped land lots that are zoned for residential development range in price from $50,000 to over a million dollars.
Lodging accommodations at Lake Russell can be found in Richard B. Russell State Park at 17 fully equipped rental cottages near the shore or at campsites in the campground. Camping facilities are also available at Bobby Brown State Park in Elberton. Bobby Brown State Park contains 665 acres of land along Clarks Hill Lake with campsites, boat ramps, canoe and fishing boat rentals, picnic areas, a seasonal outdoor pool and almost two miles of hiking trails.
For budget minded travelers, a Days Inn is located in Elberton. Cabin rentals by the week or by the month are available at Lazy L Cabins, Pine-der-Rosa and Shade Tree Log Cabins. For a romantic getaway, the Rainbow Manor Bed & Breakfast has 5 guest rooms that are exquisitely decorated with antique furnishings.
Elberton’s picturesque downtown square with its old courthouse and fountain is a fun place to visit for sightseeing and shopping. Shopping and dining is available in local stores and restaurants but Elberton is essentially a rural community where only limited commercial development is allowed. On Lake Russell, food is available at Beaverdam Marina’s convenience store or at Clifford’s Restaurant, a full service restaurant specializing in seafood.
Within Richard B. Russell State Park’s 2,508 acres of protected land, many recreational activities are available to the public. Richard B. Russell State Park contains facilities for swimming, fishing, waterskiing, rowing, beach volleyball, bicycling and hiking along 6 miles of nature trails. Canoe and pedal boat rentals are available and Beaverdam Marina also rents pontoon boats.
Golf lovers come to Lake Russell to enjoy playing at Arrowhead Pointe, the 18-hole public golf course in Richard B. Russell State Park. In 2005, Golf Digest Magazine named Arrowhead Pointe as the 2nd Best New Affordable Public Course in America and it features a LEED certified clubhouse with discounts for senior citizens. Bird watchers come to Russell Lake to observe the wide variety of bird species including ospreys, eagles, falcons, wild ducks and turkey. Around Lake Russell, there are 23 different boat ramps and many fishing piers that were constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in order to provide recreational opportunities to the public.