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Flooded towns at the bottom of Lake Murray

When it was created in the 1920s, it was the largest man-made lake in the United States. Today, Lake Murray is a popular family destination – families come here to swim and relax in nature. However, when divers explored the bottom of the lake, they found that it held many secrets. This place used to
Published: December 5, 2017 - 16:15
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 16:03
Flooded towns at the bottom of Lake Murray

When it was created in the 1920s, it was the largest man-made lake in the United States. Today, Lake Murray is a popular family destination – families come here to swim and relax in nature. However, when divers explored the bottom of the lake, they found that it held many secrets.

This place used to be called the Saluda River Valley. It was settled as early as 1750 by immigrants – German, Swiss and Dutch – who founded the two main towns here, Dutch Fork and Saxe Gotha.

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When SCE&G bought the area that this artificial reservoir occupies today, most of it was occupied by forests. There was also a small community here – about five thousand inhabitants – all of whom were resettled in new homes. Empty, dead villages were left under water. Soon no one remembered any previous settlement in the area.

Murray Lake

While most ‘civilians’ are intimidated by the prospect of searching for the past in the depths of Lake Murray, there are those for whom it has become an obsession. Steve Franklin, a pilot by profession, and his companion, John Baker, owner of a local dive shop, have taken it upon themselves to bring the lake’s secrets to light. They found schools, churches, shops and cemeteries – some buildings were really well preserved.

John and Steve use sonar in their search – otherwise it would be difficult to see anything in the murky water. Most of the buildings have been eaten away by time, but there are exceptions – a stone house from the 1800s has survived intact, including the roof. The bridge that connected the two banks of the river also rests under water in excellent condition. We even managed to find the signatures of the workers who took part in the construction of the bridge and did not fail to mark it on one of the foundations of the structure.

Descendants of the inhabitants of the area have been asking divers to find the graves of their loved ones that have been left underwater. In this way, slowly the history of the site is gaining more and more missing pieces. And Steve and John, thanks to the challenges of Lake Murray, have been able to expand their diving skills with technical diving training as well. Descending to greater and greater depths, they can explore the submerged world and add numerous details to its history.

Source: wltx.com

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Gosia Harasimowicz
Żeglarka, Freelance Copywriter w włąsnej działalności Copywriter.
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