The shores of Lake Burton, Georgia, are rich in flora and fauna—over 4200 plant species to be exact. But there’s a richer tale to be told about the bottom of the lake.
There, you’ll find storefronts and homes, hitching rails and sidewalks, chimneys and woodpiles, all home to the fishes that now inhabit the once thriving northeast Georgia town of Burton.
Jeremiah Burton set up a post office and general store in what became known as the town of Burton in 1875, and ran it for a number of years.
The Lake Burton Dam, one of the first in the United States built for generating power, was completed on December 22, 1919. It stopped the natural Lake Burton, which was the eastern-most of the Tallulah River Watershed six-lake series that follows the natural course of the Tallulah River.
Before long, the dammed waters washed over the town that had been home to about 200 people, burying it forever in a watery grave.
Now, the 2775 acre water body is the largest of Georgia’s power lakes. It has 62 miles of shoreline that wanders in and out of numerous coves and scenic spaces. Several species of bass, crappie and trout swim in and out of what remains of the town below.
History of LaPrade’s Marina
John LaPrade, a land agent for the Georgia Railway and Electric Company, scouted the Lake Burton area and set up a construction camp for workers when they began building the Lake Rabun dam. Drawn, no doubt, to the beauty of the newly formed lake, LaPrade stayed and started a business as a fish camp on the shores of Lake Rabun six years later in 1925.
With lake-side cabins and a reputation for some of the best southern cooking, LaPrade’s red-eye gravy on grits, biscuits, sugar-cured ham and cornbread took the business through the depression years into the more profitable 40s and 50s, when Buford LaPrade took over from his father.
In 1972 the Nichols family bought out the business, but kept it running in the 1930s fish camp style that everyone had become accustomed to.
Time moves on, however, and by 2002 LaPrade’s was closed and sold to investors. Re-purposing some of the existing wood in the buildings and using mostly local materials for the remainder, some 10 million dollars later the Vinings Marine Group (VMG) re-opened LaPrade in 2006 as one of their ten marinas.
LaPrade Marina Today
Today the historic traditions of LaPrade’s have been restored to the Lake Burton area with one of the newest marinas in Georgia. Peter Anzo and his wife, Tina, designed it, adding in all their dream features. Indeed, Peter calls it, “our baby.” They live at the lake and Tina manages the day-to-day business operations.
Cooking, southern style, kept the business thriving during hard times, and continues to be important to its 21st century edition. The Lakeside Grill & Bar (open May to September) offers a full menu for family dining, with special pricing on the Guppy’s Menu for the youngest visitors. Saturday and Sunday breakfasts feature a not-to-be-missed assortment of biscuits: buttermilk, golden chicken, smoked sausage, or sausage and cheese. The Chophouse Restaurant provides upscale dining inside or on the covered deck from April through November.
LaPrade’s Adirondack style facilities with the scenic Lake Rabun as a backdrop are popular for many types of events. Reunions, club events, even weddings, can all be booked into the pavilion area. From Mardi Gras celebrations to Caribbean Night, there’s always something happening during the open season at LaPrade’s! fall foiliage
The marina has new covered slips with electric lifts that can accommodate boats to 27 feet long. Boaters find the extra-long finger piers great to use. Valet service is available to get your boat in or out of storage when you’re ready. Uncovered storage slips are also available. Anzo is excited about the latest developments at the marina, which include individual boat houses available for rent with 99 year leases.
Visit LaPrade’s Marina
25 Shoreline Trail Clarkesville, GA 30523; Phone: (706) 947-0010; Fax: (706) 947-9909.
Open: March 1 to November 30 (telephone or check website for seasonal hours as they change throughout the season)
Water depth: 5 feet in season (the lake is lowered over winter). The lake has a 30.6 foot boat limit with no heads or berths.
Services: Slip rentals, boat rentals, boat repair and service, two pavilion rental, boat and waverunner sales, cabin rentals, marina store with gear, bait and tackle, gourmet food and gifts.
Boat Ramp: Public ramp available, parking for vehicles.
Rentals: Ski boats, pontoon boats, kayaks and canoes, paddle boards.
Getting there by water: On west shore of Lake Burton, Georgia, two miles south of Moccasin Creek State Park, which is GPS co-ordinates: Lat: 34.84583 Lon: -83.5875
Getting there by land: LaPrade’s Marina is located Highway 197, two miles south of Moccasin Creek State Park and the Lake Burton Fish Hatchery.
Article originally researched/published in Heartland Boating in 2012.