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Looking Back, Looking Ahead

The Launch of Bay Pointe on Lake Lanier

A century before this deep-water bay on a Lake Lanier peninsula became a premier lakefront community, it was wilderness—there were few people living in this remote valley, and undeveloped land was plentiful and cheap. When the Great Depression devastated the United States economy in the 1930s, across much of the country, you could barely give land away. Rafe Banks, III, a sixth-generation Hall County resident and prominent area attorney, recalls that this is when his grandfather handed down a large parcel of land to Rafe’s father.

“It was in the middle of nowhere and wasn’t worth much at the time. Mother tells the story that when my father took her to see it, they drove, and drove, and drove, and got to 'Nowhere,' and there it was.”

Although this area in Southern Hall County would remain largely undeveloped for decades, in the 1950s The Army Corp of Engineers built the Buford Dam and flooded the 37,000-acre valley to create Lake Sidney Lanier. Much of the Banks’ land ended up under water, and the Banks family subsequently ended up with several miles of shoreline. Over time, they built a lake house, a dock, and a family tradition that transcended generations.

“It was idyllic—a Norman Rockwell place where we would gather with friends and family and have fun for many years. Banks, who helped build the house when he was high-school senior, has fond memories of fraternity parties here in the 70s, and special memories of later teaching his four children to ski here. “We had 30-plus acres to roam, and we would run all through the cove and play on the water until dark. It was a wonderful place.”

A few years ago, Banks’ widowed mother, Jane Banks, who created many lasting memories at the lake house with her husband, four children and their families including 13 grandchildren, made the tough decision to sell the land. This was the genesis of Bay Pointe, a unique waterfront community in a highly desirable location midway on the east side of Lake Lanier. This neighborhood offers residents a permanent home with the lifestyle and location of a vacation home. A private close-knit community with fewer than 40 lots, its location offers deep-water access and harbor-like protection for boats within a beautiful natural setting. Boating is a breeze since each lot comes with a deeded and Corps-approved boat slip at the community’s dock, complete with water and power hookups.

Nearly half of the neighborhoods lots are lakefront lots, and the interior lots have remarkable hilltop views of the lake and lush peninsula. Mature trees are plentiful, many of them hardwoods. A view of the tranquil, expansive lake is never more than a few steps away. A new home has been built on the site where the Bank’s lake house stood for nearly 50 years. Jane Banks, who Rafe lovingly describes as an extremely bright and strong-willed individual and a pillar of the Gainesville community for many years, still resides in Hall County and says that for her their lake house was a special place to relax.

“It was a great place that brought family and friends together—more than would have otherwise happened. Whenever I was tired or upset, I could just go and sit on the porch and look at the lake, and all was better.”

Meet the team representing Bay Pointe: Patsy Mercer is the lead agent. The Chambers Team has been conducting business in the local area for nearly 40 years and the team includes Patti Chambers, Bobby Chambers, Sally Chambers Kirchner, Renae Ackerman, Laurie Weber, LeAnne Gilleland Richardson, and Wendy Watson.