SML Residents and local leaders alike celebrate 50th anniversary

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BEDFORD COUNTY (WSLS10) - Residents and local leaders alike came out to enjoy Smith Mountain Lake and its accomplishments.

The SML Regional Chamber of Commerce dubbed March 7th ‘Full Pond Day'. On this day back in 1966, the lake was completely filled with water and recognized as a lake for the first time. The chamber said construction began back in the early 1900's. It took two and a half years to fill the lake.

Its water stretches across 580 miles of shoreline and holds a special place in the hearts of water enthusiasts and nature lovers.

"We ended up sitting on a bench at that point right over there, and my wife looks out at this beautiful fall day - and this lake with its emerald green water and said, ‘For this, I would sell our place'", said Bill Piatt, a member of of the lake's planning committee.

In honor of the lake's 50th anniversary, many community leaders spoke about the lake's progress and unveiled one of three historical markers that recap the significance of ‘Full Pond Day'.

"It will be a lasting legacy forever," said Vicki Gardner, the executive director of the SML Regional Chamber of Commerce. "There are three signs that were set up today: one in Pittsylvania, one in Franklin County and of course, the one here at the state park."

The chamber also filed paperwork with the postal service, giving the lake it's very own mailing address.

"So now Smith Mountain Lake is actually on a tourism map of Virginia which it was not before," said Piatt.