Marker celebrates Sherling Lake’s history, importance

Published 5:15 pm Monday, May 1, 2023

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The City of Greenville and the Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce honored the Sherling family on April 25, hosting a dedication ceremony unveiling a new historical marker at the front entrance of Sherling Lake Park. 

The marker celebrates the history of Sherling Lake, recognizing the donation of property for the lake to Alabama in October of 1947 by the family of Daniel M. Sherling and W.T. Smith Lumber Company and the transfer of title of the lake to the City of Greenville in 1970. 

“This place right here is really, really special and we are about to start taking a look and doing more things out here, [adding] walking trails and horse trails. We are looking at building some cabins,” Greenville Mayor Dexter McLendon said. “I just felt like it was time for us as a city to remember the Sherling family for what they did and It’s an opportunity for the city to say thank you.”

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Many in the Sherling family attended the celebration including John Sherling, Grandson of Daniel M. Sherling, for whom the Lake is named.

“This is a very nice gesture by the city and by those involved and I know that my grandparents would be very proud of to see what this has turned into,” Sherling said. “They were fortunate enough at the time to have something to donate and it’s turned out really well.”

The marker reads, in part:

“Commissioned and opened to the public in 1950, Sherling Lake is part of the Alabama Department of Conservation’s efforts to construct public fishing lakes throughout Alabama in the 1940s. Greenville Chamber of Commerce President A.G. Johnson spearheaded the idea to submit a bid to the Department Conservation to make Greenville part of the department’s plans. The Family of Daniel M. Sherling and W.T. Lumber Company generously donated the property for the lake in October 1947. The facility is named for Sherling, who passed away before construction got underway.” 

The addition of the course was designed to enhance tourism and economic development in Greenville and Butler County, increasing its overall exposure to potential visitors. According to an article in The Greenville Advocate dated May 30, 1991 the course was formally announced with a ceremony at Sherling Lake where Dr. David G. Bronner, chief executive officer of the Retirement Systems of Alabama, Sunbelt Golf Corporation President J. Robert Vaughan, Mayor of Greenville Ernie Smith, and course designer Robert Trent Jones were in attendance.  

The article included a resolution by the Greenville City Council which reads, “It is advisable and in the interest of the City and the public interest that portions of the real property surrounding the Lake should be developed as a public golf course in order to enhance the enjoyment of such real property by greater numbers of the public, benefit the preservation and the maintenance of the Lake, as well as improve the quality of life of the citizens of the City of Greenville and surrounding areas, promote tourism and industrial development in the area and promote residential and other developments in the surrounding area.” 

 Local attorney and Greenville citizen Frank Hickman said the lake and addition of the golf course were significant to the development of the Greenville community for quality of life issues, attraction, for bringing visitors, and exposing people to the community. 

“You can argue what Greenville is or what Greenville is not right now but I don’t think there is any question that Robert Trent Jones [Golf Trail] has been a tremendous asset to this community,” Hickman said. “I don’t think you would see the number of motels at that interchange without Robert Trent Jones. There is no question that the golf course has assisted with the food industry and housing; it’s been an asset and brings people here.” 

According to the course was named by Golf Digest as the third best new public course in America in 1994 and in 2016 saw the culmination of a three-year total renovation of the original 27 championship holes. It is speculated that more than 30,000 rounds of golf have been played at Cambrian Ridge since it opened in 1993. 

“Something that happened in 1946 turned around and brought us a world championship golf course to Greenville Alabama,” McLendon said.