Fifty Years
It’s been fifty years—plus a couple of months—since the date of April 8, 1971, when a diversion tunnel routing the Keowee River away from its lifelong course was plugged with concrete, and Lake Jocassee was born. Fifty years since the loggers disassembled the sawmills and carted away huge round metal blades with giant wood-eating teeth. Fifty years since the rising water gently drowned most of the world’s population of Oconee Bells, and so much more. Fifty years since the film crew for Deliverance captured both the explosion of a mountain and the removal of graves. Fifty years since local families drove down to watch the Whitewater River back up in its banks and overflow into Jocassee Valley. One by one, these same families, or their children, or their grandchildren, return now to Lake Jocassee to see what has become of the place. I hope--believe--the wild energy of Jocassee still fills them with the same sense of peace and beauty that was here before the lake. ~K