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Grandparents move to higher ground

PAULETTE BALLARD

Guest Columnist

Barbara Yanzer told me a moment she will never forget was when her grandparents had to move to higher ground prior to the building of the Watauga Dam and Reservoir in Butler, Tenn. Her grandparents were living in one of the 125 homes that had to be relocated for this project by the Tennessee Valley Authority in 1948. The town had flooded seven times from 1867 to 1940. Old Butler became known as “the town that wouldn’t drown.”

Barbara tells me she was born in Butler and lived there until 10 years ago. The residents of “Old Butler,” as it is now called, had to move 300 to 400 feet higher before the town was flooded and is now known as Watauga Lake.

Relocating the only incorporated town in the area and the 600 residents was a massive undertaking. It required construction of 54.9 miles of roads and highways, three bridges, 66 miles of utility lines as well as 1,281 graves.

Old Butler Day is a festival held each year in October. Many of the residents who were relocated from their original homes take part in this celebration and remember how it used to be.

Paulette Ballard collects interesting, funny and unusual stories from people in and around Lincolnton. If you have a story you would like to submit for her column, e-mail it to pballardnc1029@yahoo.com. In the subject line type “For your column.” Include your name and phone number for her to contact you.

 

 

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