|Posted on Nov 30th, 2016
A Brief History of Lake Auman
(An Oral History Through Interviews with Mr. Fred Lawrence)
Originally, the majority of the land which would make up Seven Lakes West belonged to Clyde Auman, Billy Johnson and the MacDonald family. Mr. Fred Lawrence bought assembled acreage in 1976. He hired the engineering firm of Pate, Mullen & Associates to lay out the lake and design the dam.
There were several ponds and a five-acre lake (Watts Pond) on the property. Mr. Lawrence found that there were approximately 30 springs within the property and he had the engineering firm test these springs to determine if there was sufficient water supplied by these springs to insure that the lake behind the dam would be filled.
After hiring a Raleigh firm to test drill bore holes every 100 feet across the site of the proposed dam to test for clay content, the engineering firm approved the site and said that it would cost about $1,000,000 to complete the dam. These cost estimates escalated when the Army Corp of Engineers changed the specifications for earthen dams following the failure of a dam in Taccoa, GA. At that time Mr. Lawrence had already spent about $1,300,000 and the dam still required 35 to 40 feet to completion. The base of the dam had to be increased by 100 feet in width.
During this time, interest rates had climbed from 7% to over 20% and gas prices had risen from $0.35 to a $1.35 a gallon. Mr. Lawrence did not have the capital to finish the project and was forced to sell the whole development to the Prigden brothers.
Unfortunately, they did not have the capital either and Mr. Lawrence was forced to go to court to recover the land. By 1985, with the dam 25 feet short of completion, Mr. Lawrence was forced to declare bankruptcy. Attorney Don Billings was appointed trustee by the court and eventually took control of the development by order of the court. (note: Mr. Lawrence said that he had already spent $9,000,000 on Seven Lakes North, South and West and if the court had given him the same deal they gave Mr. Billings, he would have been able to finish the dam.)
Photo above shows how Pine Island was once accessible by a road!
The dam was completed in 1986. The final dam construction cost was approximately $2,200,000. It stands 95 feet in height (to the roadway) and spans almost one half mile.
The lake created contains almost 800 acres of surface and has an average depth of about 32 feet. There are points within the lake in excess of 100 feet in depth, the deepest being an area no larger than half an acre and measuring, at full pond, 107 feet. The lake contains an estimated 8.6 billion gallons of water, enough that it would take an hour and forty minutes to all flow over Niagara Falls.
There are about 13 miles of shoreline. Carolina Fisheries stocked the lake with Largemouth Bass, Bream and Catfish in 1987 and fishing was prohibited until 1990. Lake Auman was officially dedicated in 1994 when it reached “full pond”.
Today’s Lake Auman that started with a Fred Lawrence dream
Note: This article was excerpted from “The 2012 revision of the Lake Auman Master Plan.” To read the full plan, visit the link below: