Salamonie Reservoir's Sunken Town Invaded by Treasure Hunters

By Daniela Salvador
By Scott Sarvay
By Rachel Martin

August 5, 2012 Updated Aug 5, 2012 at 8:47 PM EST

HUNTINGTON COUNTY, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – One of the historical towns that’s usually covered by the Salamonie Reservoir is uncovered due to the drought.

You wouldn't know by looking at it, but there were once several small towns, now swallowed up by Salamonie Lake. Monument City is one of three cities that sit at the bottom of the Salamonie Reservoir in Huntington County.

“You will see an old road bed, and some left over foundations, maybe a brick or two,” said Teresa Rody, Interpretive Naturalist with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

According to the DNR, the Army Corps of Engineers bought the towns in 1965 to make way for the reservoir.

“There were a lot of homes that would get flooded. Animals and people would lose their lives in flooding in those older times,” said Rody.

The DNR says Monument City is normally 14 feet below the lake's surface. Because of the severe drought this summer, the lake level dropped and Monument City was revealed.

Ron Lawrence and Rowena Lawrence-Richardson are brother and sister. They were 19 and 11 years old when they moved their house on the back of a truck. The 40 acres where their house once stood now is tall grass and rubble.

“It brings back a lot of old memories. You still wish you could come down over the hill. You still feel like it's part of you,” said Ron.

“Through some elderly cousins we were able to keep the family history alive and the pictures that we're able to share with folks today, just give folks a memory that there really was a community here. It was family,” said Rowena.

The DNR says 800 to 1,000 people have visited the site within the last two weeks. They say last time the reservoir was this low in the summer, was around 1976.

Officials say they are trying to protect what little is left of the town ruins. The DNR says they plan to contact Lawrence and Lawrence-Richardson, along with other former residents of Monument City to create historical works to preserve the town’s history. They will have a gathering will all the residents on Oct. 20.





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