Smith Lake

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Lewis Smith Lake is both a lake and a residential area in Alabama. The lake spans into three counties in north-central Alabama, Cullman, Walker and Winston counties. Nearby communities in Cullman County include Bremen, Crane Hill, and Dodge City. Because of its proximity to both Birmingham and Huntsville, the area serves as a second home community and to some extent a bedroom community for the cities. It is also a popular tourist destination, especially for those that wish to boat, fish, and swim.

Lewis Smith Lake is a man-made reservoir created by an earth and rock filled damn, which is the largest of its type in the eastern United States. Alabama Power constructed the dam in 1961 and named it in honor of Lewis Martin Smith who was the president of the company from 1952-1957. The dam was built to improve the conditions for river traffic along the Sipsey Fork of the Black Warrior River. The river suffered from changeable water levels and dangerous shoals which impeded shipping on the waterway. The building of the dam improved river conditions on the river easing the transport of goods like coal and opening it up for better recreational usage as well. Many families had to relocate with the development of the dam and reservoir. However, the changes have been a real boon to the economics of the area.

The lake is a three-fingered lake with over 500 miles of shoreline and a surface area of more than 21,000 acres. Smith Lake is excellent for sports fishing and has been home to many fishing tournaments, primarily for bass fishing. The land along the shore is one of natural beauty and home to many kinds of wildlife. The area provides the perfect habitat for several endangered species including the bald eagle. The Sipsey Fork of the Black Warrior River is considered the only wild and scenic river in the state of Alabama and the fork flows through the Bankhead National Forest. Common fish found in the lake include large-mouthed, striped, white and spotted bass, as well as crappie, rainbow trout and varieties of catfish. The lake is perfect for swimming, paddleboarding, boating, water-skiing and cliff jumping. There are areas set aside for tent camping, as well as cabins for rent.

Being a tourist destination means much of the Smith Lake population is seasonal in nature. It is a lively community during the tourist season and much quieter in the off-season. For the portion of the area that is in Cullman County and the children who live there throughout the year, public education is provided by the schools of the Cullman County School District.

Annual events in the community include the Memorial Day Celebration, the 4th of July fireworks show and the Sweet Tater Festival. Homes in the area tend to be rather luxurious and spacious as they are meant primarily to be summer homes. Homes for sale range in sizes and styles to suit the needs of potential buyers. Rental properties and lease properties are available and include a variety of houses and condominiums.

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