Buggs Island or Kerr Lake?

Buggs Island or Kerr Lake?

So is it Bugg’s Island, Kerr Lake or Kerr Reservoir?

All three names belong to the same 50,000 acre body of water that straddles the Virginia / North Carolina line.


Constructing the damThis has been a touchy subject in the area since the dam was constructed between 1944 (when the Flood Control Act of 1944 was passed) and 1952 (when the dam was officially dedicated).

The project originally held the official title of the Bugg’s Island Reservoir Project, named after the small island immediately downstream from the dam owned by the Bugg family, who originally purchased it back in 1752.  

However, in 1952, just before the dam was opened, the North Carolina congressman whom had worked so hard to secure funding for the project lost his re-election bid.  The congressman’s name?  John H. Kerr. And, because of this, the United States Congress renamed the project in his honor.

Upset at the last-minute name change, Virginia State Senator Albertis S. Harrison introduced a joint resolution in the Virginia Senate proclaiming that the body of water created by the dam shall “forever more” be known as Bugg’s Island Lake. The measure passed both houses unanimously.


Map of the lake
Click to download full-size map

The owners and operators of the lake and surrounding shoreline, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, refer to it officially as the “John H. Kerr Reservoir.”

Some local businesses and residents refer to it as “Bugg’s Island Lake,” and others refer to it as “Kerr Lake.”  

We love the story and the local pride behind Bugg’s Island, though, and we’ll make sure that history isn’t lost!