The plan to change the names of Lake Lanier and Buford Dam in Georgia has been put on hold after residents objected to changing the names of the area landmarks, the Associated Press reported.
In a statement last Friday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced the pause pending guidance from the Department of the Army.
Republican Congressman Andrew Clyde, who represents the district, described the pause as a “tremendous victory” and said the name changes were an attempt to “rewrite history” while imposing massive costs on the community and creating “unnecessary mass confusion,” the Associated Press reported.
The 58-square-mile reservoir impounding the Chattahoochee River was built after World War Two and named for poet Sidney Lanier who was a private in the Confederate Army. Lanier later wrote the poem “Song of Chattahoochee.”
The Buford Dam takes its name from the nearby town which was named for Civil War Lt. Col. Algernon Sidney Buford. Buford later became the president of a railroad that helped create the Georgia town after the Civil War.
Just hours before the Corps of Engineers announced the pause, the Times of Gainesville reported that the Corps’ Mobile District sent out a press release unveiling a website for public input into picking new names by the end of 2023.
The Mobile District said that it would continue soliciting public comment about renaming the lake and dam but said the new names would ultimately be up to Congress.
However, Georgia Congressman Austin Scott, who was a member of the commission suggesting new military base names, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the commission never planned to change the name of Lake Lanier.
Gainesville area officials oppose the planned name changes. Clyde Morris from the Lake Lanier Association told the Times of Gainesville that both Lanier’s and Buford’s connections to the Confederacy are “really too remote” to justify the name changes. Morris said both men are notable for things that have nothing to do with their time in the Confederate army.