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Smith Mountain Lake - Underwater town - Fact or Fiction?

Discussion in 'Mid-Atlantic States' started by mushing_madness, Aug 30, 2007.

  1. mushing_madness

    mushing_madness Angel Fish

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    I'm wondering if anyone has heard the legend of an underwater town located in Smith Mountain Lake - somewhere around Vista Pointe? There are rumors around the net, even a possible picture or two, but I have yet to find hard evidence of a town...or a location.

    Does anyone have information on this supposed town? Even a name of the town? It seems plausible for as large as SML is, and the depths, and the probable number of homes, barns, etc that might have been there.

    I have Garmin Recreation Lake software that shows submerged roads, as well as submerged timber throughout the lake. I cannot, however find any reference to a town (village, hamlet, or other).

    Just trying to determine fact or fiction. If it is fact, then I will be looking to get coordinates.

    Thanks for the help!

    MM
     
  2. TravisD

    TravisD Assistant Instructor

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Westminster, MD
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  3. mushing_madness

    mushing_madness Angel Fish

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    I've seen that page, as well as a few others out there. Some claim that marinas used to charter people out to the site, but nobody really mentions which charters, when that was, or every posts any contact info.

    Hence the reason I'm doing some searching!

    Anyone out there in the know about this myth????? Can you add something to turn it to fact????

    ALL help is appreciated!!!!

    MM
     
  4. DivingPrincessE

    DivingPrincessE Great White

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Miramar & Fort Lauderdale, FL
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    I have wondered this myself as we have a house on SML. While the underwater town would be very interesting...I can't even find anyone that charters any kinds of dives here. I think it would be very difficult to dive here because of the constant boat/jet ski traffic. I doubt that many of the people here would know what a Dive Flag means.
     
  5. drydiver

    drydiver ScubaBoard Sponsor ScubaBoard Sponsor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Philadelphia, PA
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    A non-diver mentioned this to me recently, he seemed to have some local knowledge of it. I will check with him and post if it sounds reliable.
     
  6. DivingPrincessE

    DivingPrincessE Great White

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Miramar & Fort Lauderdale, FL
    3,423
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    I just stopped by the SML visitor center (at Hales Ford) and they have no information on "the town." They also said that no one charters dives here, and even if you have your own gear its very dangerous to dive here. They said this is mostly due to boat traffic and the trees under there that can cause entanglement. Don't know how accurate the info is...but that is what I was told so I'm sharing it
     
  7. mushing_madness

    mushing_madness Angel Fish

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    My nautical maps show LOTS of underwater timber! I've found a few photos of the reservoir as it filled. They logged the top 1/2 of the valleys, but left timber standing in the lower 1/2 and bottom. Most of the lake has timber fields in it. I don't know if it is standing timber, or loose timber that was left laying.

    Personnally, back in Wisconsin we would dive quarries that had underwater forests. They were quite fun to dive...a bit spooky...definitely a possibility of entanglement, but also very interesting. It made for good practice at problem solving as you needed to make your way through the forests. Also were good for collecting fishing lures that the locals snagged on.

    I contacted the SML Association - they are a group that looks out for the wellbeing of the lake. They had no knowledge of any underwater structures such as a church or small village/town. They suggested that I contact AEP who is in charge of the dam. Their number is: 1-800-956-4237. I did not call, due to long distance, and work duties. If someone has a chance...give them a call. I may get around to it later in the week - we'll see.

    I'll keep my eye on this thread for updates and news.

    Thanks!!!

    MM
     
  8. telemonster

    telemonster Barracuda

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Northern Virginia
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    I did some research on the town some time ago, and from what I remember there was supposidly a town in place before the area was flooded. Like the other people stated, from what I've read (google, and probably on here) that it was very murky water, bad visibility, and the trees that are at the bottom make for a bad entanglement hazard.

    I'm thinking the best way to find it would be to get hold of some old photographs of the area before it was flooded, then try to compare it to modern times, using some landmarks.

    I have no idea if there is an economical technological way to find it... renting sidescan sonar equipment or some such. The USGS may have old landsat aerial imagery that can be purchased as well, not sure.
     
  9. drydiver

    drydiver ScubaBoard Sponsor ScubaBoard Sponsor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Philadelphia, PA
    5,213
    288
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    Same guy said that the Army Corp of Engineers came in and filled gas station tanks and some buildings (?) with sand prior to flooding. I think he knows a local old timer or something . . . I asked for more details, he is working on it.
     
  10. Ice9

    Ice9 Divemaster

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Alexandria, VA
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    Ok, I've heard about this before, and it always bothered me how nobody had maps to show the town, or even where it used to be. So, I've been messing around in the USGS website for a while and found these aerial pics from 3/1/1949. Although you can't make out any specific buildings, there is something there.

    You can easily see what appears to be man-made structures. Even Google Earth has a notation about the Anthony Ford Bridge (historical), that I think you can see in the 1947 pics.

    Here they are, in "then and now" pairs:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The town's name was Monroe, VA and is was established in 1818. Apparently it was never much of a metropolis... This site has interesting info on it:

    The Forgotten Town of Monroe, Pittsylvania County, Virginia - 19th-Century History
     

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