Midwestern Drought Resurrects Buried City 24 Aug 12

Monument City, Indiana, a small town that’s been submerged for 47 years, is now resurfacing as the Midwestern drought continues to cause area water levels to recede.

Monument City was one of three small towns submerged in 1965 when the Army Corps of Engineers constructed a dam in the Salamonie River in an effort to create a water reservoir. Schools, homes, community buildings and more were all buried by walls of water, and Monument City’s 100 residents were relocated to other areas.

As remnants of Monument City emerge, those who remember the old town are sharing their recollections of what it once looked like and how they felt when the area was deliberately flooded. Dick Roth, 81, who attended the City’s high school and now lives a half-mile away from the former town, said in an NBC News report, “I just couldn’t believe they could put that much water there, but they did.”

A nearby visitor center has displays commemorating the sunken town, and workers are on-hand to relay the history of the area and to offer guided tours. Additionally, they’re encouraging former residents to come share their stories. Undoubtedly, the recent uncovering of Monument City will become part of the town’s tale and told to future generations.

Indiana Department of Natural Resource officials say it’s a rare site indeed to see the Salamonie River so low and a testament to extreme conditions caused by the drought. In addition to Indiana, nearly one quarter of the 48 contiguous states are in periods of exceptional drought and some forecasters say conditions could continue in some areas until November.

Although the drought is a plague to farmers and generally hampering the Midwest’s economy, the unexpected emergence of forgotten towns is providing an interesting historical aspect in an otherwise dire situation.