Ghosts of California’s past are emerging from our reservoirs. It’s a fascinating look at where we come from, and a frightening look at where we may be going if we don’t get some rain.
“We saw a rock wall and some buildings,” said Zachary Wimberely. “And some things from a long time ago.”
He was with his family, exploring the ruins of Mormon Island — a town once submerged when Folsom Lake was flooded to create a reservoir, now reemerging as the lake dries up.
Folsom Lake isn’t the only one showing its bones. The town of Jacksonville, beneath the Don Pedro Reservoir in Tuolumne County, was once home to thousands of miners – one of the biggest on the Mother Lode. Flooded in the 60s, it has reemerged once again.
“There is kind of that spiritual connection with our past, and the fact that was there the whole time and no one could see it, and now all of a sudden it’s visible … It’s kind of, hopefully, once-in-a-lifetime when it’s going to be exposed and we should take advantage of it while it’s there,” said Marcia Eymann, Sacramento City Historian.
Don Pedro Reservoir and the town of Jacksonville, Folsom Lake and the town of Mormon Island aren’t the only ones in our area.
The town of Monticello, once swallowed up by Lake Berryessa, is now reemerging. And the town of Camanche is close to seeing sunlight once again as it reemerges from the lake that bears its same name.
“We got two things to talk about here. You have the low water, drought situation, as well as the history under the Lake,” said Renee Dwyer, Zachary’s grandmother.
One look at the muddy moon-scape that once was Folsom Lake and it becomes clear: a sense of that past, and a respect for water, has never been more important.
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