Sunday, November 16, 2008

Old Willow Grove

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Yes, another adventure for the fearsome threesome! On the coldest day of November, so far, Brookie, Chris and I were on a boat traveling across Dale Hollow Lake! We froze our butts off, but it was worth it! The Gravedigger, Darren Shell, was our guide and we took another history tour, this time of the Old Willow Grove that is under water. It ran cold chills over me seeing the past come to life. Be sure to watch my smilebox to see the photos. Willow Grove School's foundation is at the top of the water, a houseboat got stuck on it last week! Eddie Irons is supposedly still cemented in the steps of the school! We visited a couple of cemeteries that were relocated before Dale Hollow Lake was made, Old Sulphur Cemetery and McCluskey Cemetery. The grave indentions are there and amazing to see. I can't explain the feeling you get when you visit these old grave sites. Even though we have this wonderful, beautiful lake, you remember what people must have endured leaving their homes behind, their relative's graves being relocated. How sad that must have been. The grave indentions won't be visible much longer, Darren's noticed quite a difference since last year. As Darren said, "Mother Nature is reclaiming its ground." I feel honored to have witnessed a little of our local history before it disappears forever.

"History with its flickering lamp stumbles along the trail of the past, trying to reconstruct its scenes, to revive its echoes, and kindle with pale gleams the passion of former days." Winston Churchill

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Gravedigger Tour

Sound a little scary? Nah, not too much. I'm a sucker for any kind of ghost story. On October 17, Brookie, Chris and I went on the Gravedigger Tour at Willow Grove Marina and Park. It's mostly a walk while the Gravedigger (Darren Shell) tells the history of Dale Hollow Lake and how people were moved out to make way for the lake in the 1940's. The government bought the land and forced families to move. There were over 100 cemeteries that had to be relocated. As you walk through the park, Darren points out interesting spots along the way. There's a spot you can smell hay where there is no longer hay to be seen, but it could be the hay from the Colson Farm, the Colsons who lived there in the early 1900's, who had to move away once the dam was built and the lake was made. Another spot along the way is where Eddie Irons lost his life on his 18th birthday riding his birthday gift, a spirited horse. He was buried near his home. When Willow Grove School was built, his grave was found and he was reburied under the school. Then Willow Grove needed a bigger school and Eddie was unearthed again. I can't remember how many times Poor Eddie was unearthed, but his final resting spot was inside the school steps. Eddie was cemented in this time. In the 1940's when the destruction of everything in the proposed lake's path was demolished, the school steps and foundation remained. They blasted and blasted with dynamite, but it didn't crack! Eddie is still down there, so they say. Interesting huh? If you are interested go to this website and read the interesting stories Darren has told. He's written some great books and for us who live around the lake, they are must-reads. There is more history on the Gravedigger Tour, but I'll let you go listen for yourself. Oh, don't forget your camera so you can capture the "orbs" and mist which show up on your camera where most of the history in the park is located. Don't trust me, check it out yourself on-line or at Willow Grove . . .
Pictured is Brookie with the Gravedigger, Darren Shell, and one of my photos full of orbs.

"But, put your home in a community where you think you would like to live; where there are churches, schools, and in an enterprising community that will help you to be better citizens. So far as knowing what you aught to do, I do not. I do not know myself. I do not know what I am going to do, myself. I do not know what is right to do. I do not know what I can do, but by the help and direction of the Almighty God, I am going to live somewhere and try to make an up-right, useful citizen the remainder of my active life, which is not long, and I trust that you will do the same." Dr. Clark to the people of Willow Grove, July 18, 1942, trying to offer hope to a group of people in desperate need . . .


Hi...welcome to my Corner! Not sure what will be here, but wanted to create my own space...seems to be the going thing and I enjoy reading everyone else's, so maybe someone out there will enjoy mine! Anyways, welcome and enjoy your stay!