BCHGS holds fall meeting
Published 9:22 am Wednesday, November 10, 2021
By Haley Mitchell Godwin
The Butler County Historical and Genealogical Society held their fall meeting at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 31, at The Lodge at Sherling Lake Park. A presentation on the history of Sherling Lake Park was given by Walter Parmer. Refreshments were served afterward.
Parmer discussed the park’s history and its positive economic impact on Butler County. The presentation included details of the early settlers of the area. The 350-acre site for Sherling Lake Park was donated by the McGowin family of W. T. Smith Lumber Company and the Dan Sherling family.
The park was officially opened by the Alabama Department of Conservation in June 1950.
President of the BCHGC, Barbara Middleton, said the society had a great and informative meeting on what turned out to be a beautiful day on the lake. An arrangement of Daikagura (which means Great Sacred Dance) Camellias, were on display at the meeting courtesy of Middleton.
The BCHGC has been preserving the history and heritage of Butler County and its people since 1964.
Membership dues for the BCHGS are $20 per year, due in January and include four quarterly publications. Checks can be mailed to BCHGS, P O Box 561, Greenville, AL 36037. A membership form and more information can be found on their website. http://sites.rootsweb.com/~albchgs/membership.html.
The following article was released in the Greenville Advocate in 1950 and paints a vivid picture of what the opening day of the lake was like.
646 Fishermen Help Open Lakes; 4057 Fish Caught First Day In Sherling Lakes, Weighing 1337 Pounds
By Thomas A. Ford, Editor, Dept. of Conservation
The ancient expression “Pity the poor fish” was more than just a trite comment Wednesday, June 14th, as 646 fisherman helped Greenville, Butler County and the Alabama Department of Conservation officially open the new Sherling Lakes to the public. The twin lakes, first of the state’s ten managed public fishing lakes to be opened, are seven miles north of Greenville, just off U.S. 31.
Opening day records revealed that the 646 fishermen and fisherwomen caught a total of 4,057 fish; 3,503 bream, 521 bass, and 33 non-game fish. In pounds, the total was 1,337, distributed as follows: bream, 1,086; bass, 227; and non-game fish, 24 pounds. The small bass catch was attributed by veteran fishermen to the fact that these wary gamesters played hard to catch after being dazzled by the vast array of earthworms, catalpa (Catawba to oldtimers) worms, plugs and flies that descended in the depths of the 44 acres of water.
A quick check of automobiles in late morning showed 13 counties—Jefferson, Mobile, Montgomery, Butler, Pike, Covington, Lowndes, Baldwin, Autauga, Dallas, Crenshaw, Conecuh and Elmore—and the states of Florida and North Carolina were represented.
More than 130 cars were waiting at 6 a.m. when Game, Fish and Seafoods Chief C. Graham Hixon fired the gun and Greenville Chamber of Commerce Lakes Committee Chairman Archie G. Johnson opened the gates by way of an official opening ceremony.
Built with Game, Fish and Seafood Division surplus funds and operated by the Parks, Monuments and Historical Sites Division, the Sherling Lakes cover 44 acres. The upped lake has 12 and the lower lake 32 acres. A daily catch limit of 15 game fish—not to include more than five bass—has been set. A 50 cents charge is made for fishing. Boats may also be rented. G. C. (Gipp) Steindorff has charge of the lakes.