Bill Davidson and His Lake Burton "Waterlou"
(Editor's note: Bill Davidson's family provided the following account of his many years on Lake Burton. It is a story that will strike a chord with longtime lake residents.)
Bill Davidson, a longtime homeowner and part-time resident of Lake Burton, passed on June 28, 2019. Bill fell in love with Lake Burton and its beautiful views after hiking and canoeing across the Rabun, Seed, and Burton Lakes while at Athens Y Camp in the late 1940’s. After graduating from Georgia Tech, Bill enlisted the assistance of a local, Verne Kastner of Kastner’s Store, to help him find the shell of a cabin on the lake which he bought in 1959.
Bill and his wife Louise named their cabin “Bill’s WaterLou”. They were married 55 years and raised their children on the lake in the summers during the 70’s and 80’s. Over the years Bill taught many children and adults on the lake how to ski and tube, including passing on those lessons to his grandchildren in the 2010’s. Skiers and friends always looked forward to Bill’s homemade ice cream. There were always late afternoon boat rides to see the setting sun, and Bill would back the boat up to see those beautiful sunsets over and over again.
As many as 16 slept in and enjoyed that original 600 square foot cabin with 1 bath – all at one time! Of course there was a humorous bathroom door sign to let you know when it was available. So many friends and family visited over the years to enjoy all the adventures the area has to offer from sightseeing and hiking, to Sliding Rock, to playing bridge after eating some of Bill’s perfectly cooked steaks. Before modern technology, Bill would climb on the roof to adjust the antenna so we could watch Wimbledon tennis or Falcons football on the 12” black and white TV, or he’d put a 78 on the turntable and sing along or dance to some classic 50’s tunes. Those were the days! For years after taking friends and family to see Karl Wallenda cross the Tallulah Gorge on a high wire, Bill would often make pronouncements about ”The Great Wallenda!”
Over the years you would hear people on boat rides say “That’s how they all used to look” when going by that old “Bill’s WaterLou” cabin. Well, that era came to an end when it was torn down in 1992 as it was finally time for an upgrade. When a neighbor noticed Louise crying, she told her it was done very carefully. A new “Bill’s WaterLou” was built on the same lot with more space for more friends and family.
Bill loved “Bill’s WaterLou” on Lake Burton. It provided him 60 years of enjoyment and memories to last several lifetimes. Probably the most enduring one is when Bill would take a boat ride down to the dam or out of Cherokee Cove to see the beautiful view, and he would say: “When I die I want to come back to Lake Burton.”