Sunday, March 15, 2020

Underwater Towns

Sculpture by sculptor Jason deCaires Taylo

Ever since I saw the movie "In Dreams" (awesome scary movie with Annette Bening and Robert Downey Jr) with a scene of divers diving in a lake where a town was underneath, swimming amongst headstones and a church, I have been fascinated with the idea of abandoned sunken ghost towns.

Smith Island Chesapeake

This island in the Chesapeake is lost to time. It is 3 miles long and 1 mile wide and at sea level. It's lost a good deal of its citizens to poor crabbing and fishing conditions. The graves are topped by heavy stones so when there's a high tide or flooding rains, the bodies don't wash away to sea. At the rate of shrinkage, the island will be gone by the end of this century.

Sharps Island

Around the beginning of the 19th century, Sharps Island was a roughly 600-acre (240-hectare) farming and fishing community at the mouth of Maryland's Choptank River. At one time it boasted schools, a post office and a popular resort hotel, where vacationers from Baltimore and other locations would arrive by boat to while away the lazy summer days. But between 1850 and 1900, the island lost 80 percent of its land mass, and by 1960 it had been reduced to a shoal. Today it is entirely underwater, marked only by a partly submerged lighthouse.

Remember the movie "Deliverance?" Here's a dive to that town, Lake Jocassee, SC - to the underwater graveyard.

(Here's the cemetery on a dive...)

(Above: Loyston, TN, photographed before being sunk by a lake created from a dam)

Loyston, TN

Loyston (Wikipedia) was a community in Union County, Tennessee, USA, that was inundated by the waters of Norris Lake after the completion of Norris Dam in 1935.[1] Established in the early 19th century around a foundry built by its namesake, John Loy, over subsequent decades the community's location along State Highway 61 helped it grow into a trading center for local farmers. By the time the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) began making plans to build Norris Dam in the early 1930s, Loyston had a population of approximately 70 residents, and consisted of a post office and several small businesses. Prior to inundation, TVA conducted extensive sociological surveys of Loyston's residents, and the community was documented by photographer Lewis Hine. Most of Loyston's residents relocated elsewhere in the area, with many forming the community of New Loyston in the hills to the south.

Lion City, China

Lion City

China has one of the most sought-after places to dive and see a sunken city. "Lion City" was flooded for a dam that was put in. 

What they were left with was a most gorgeous town that was sunk, perhaps the most picturesque in the world, dating back about 1300 years!

Towns that re-emerge from the muck

How about a town that was underwater 25 years and then reemerged? This happened in Buenos Aires.

This town above in Argentina in 1985 was flooded by a broken dam. Today, it is exposed again -

Folsom, CA

Folsom, CA was once a prospecting town

Folsom reportedly had four hotels, a school and seven saloons during the boom times but after the wealth ran out, only a few families were left by the 1940s. The town was finally torn down for the Folson Dam project which flooded the site on which it stood during the 1950s. Mormon Island, which is a California Historical Landmark, came into view for the first time in 60 years due to the recent dry spell.

The stone foundations of the town are now visible along with piles of rusty, square-headed nails, tool parts and broken bottles.

Xuanping in China flooded 5 years ago after an earthquake and now it is reemerging.

How about some underwater churches? 

- Movies to get you in the mood - 

Deliverance:  Male buddies go on a canoeing trip down a river that will be no more once they flood a town. Their trip, however, takes on a dark side as they encounter some rather feral mountain people.

In Dreams:  A man with a dark past involving a flooded town becomes a terrifying killer of children. A housewife and mother somehow taps into his dreams and soon she's being drawn into the killer's reach.

Hard Rain:  Total mayhem for a town when a dam breaks. 

Cabin By the Lake:  A killer rents a cabin by the lake where he drowns women, poses them underwater and revisits them each time he rents again.

Beneath Still Waters: (gonna give the whole description because this is eerie):  In 1965, in Northern Spain, a dam will be built to bring progress to the location of Desbaria and the town of Marienbad is near to be completely flooded. Two boys, Teo and Luis, cross the security boundary to play in the evacuated town and Teo listen to voices in the abandoned church. They find a group of strange people chained in the watered basement, Teo releases their leader Mordecai Salas and is killed by him. Forty years later, in the celebration of the fortieth anniversary of Debaria Dam, the teenager Antonio vanishes in the lake while swimming with his girlfriend Susana and their friend Clara Borgia. The police divers, with the support of the outsider cameraman journalist Dan Quarry that is filming the submerged Marienbad to write a matter about the town, try unsuccessfully to find the body. When eerie things happen in the spot, Dan and the local journalist and daughter of the builder of the dam Teresa Borgia disclose dark secrets about Marienbad, Salas and his evil cult of the power of the flame. 

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