Named for the nearby tidal lake of the same name, the community of Green Lake began to develop in the late 1840s, although records indicate there were some settlers in the area before that time. A group of wealthy planters from Kentucky migrated to the area about 1849, along with their families and many slaves. They established extensive cotton plantations and built large and impressive homes.
Early in its history, in 1851, a tornado struck the settlement, but miraculously caused little property damage and no injuries. A private school was established in 1852 and served children of the Green Lake and surrounding communities.
The outbreak of the Civil War caused many changes in Green Lake. Following the U.S. surrender by General David Twiggs in 1861, Federal troops camped near here awaiting transport ships. With its agricultural economy based largely upon slave labor, Green Lake declined following the war when landowners, facing a labor shortage, began to leave the area. By 1875, most of the original settlers were gone.
Although in existence a relatively short period of time, Green Lake contributed to the history of Calhoun County.