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As It Was: Lost Creek Lake Submerges Whole Communities

About 10 years after the 1964 Christmas-week flood wiped out bridges and more than 200 homes along the Rogue River, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built a dam near Shady Cove, Ore., submerging whole communities under Lost Creek Lake.

Shady Cove residents Kim and Dennis Ellingson are working on a book to be titled “The Lost Villages of Lost Lake.”  The Medford Mail Tribune interviewed the couple about their research discoveries.

The dam’s waters submerged the communities of Laurelhurst and McLeod and such landmarks as Uncanny Canyon, Casey’s Auto Camp, the Rogue’s Roost hunting lodge, the McLeod Bridge and a bridge that had replaced the Peyton Covered Bridge, lost in the 1964 flood.

The Mail Tribune quoted Kim Ellingson, who said the residents of the drowned communities can’t make a pilgrimage back to their hometowns.  For them, she said, “The whole town where you grew up doesn’t exist anymore – and no one knows it was there.”

The newspaper said the Ellingsons felt they were racing against time to record the fading memories of places and people displaced by the lake waters. 

Source: Aldous, Vickie. "Stories lie hidden beneath Lost Creek Lake." Mail Tribune, 14 Sept. 2017 [Medford, Ore.] , www.mailtribune.com/news/20170914/stories-lie-hidden-beneath-lost-creek-lake. Accessed 23 Sept. 2017.

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Kernan Turner is the Southern Oregon Historical Society’s volunteer editor and coordinator of the As It Was series broadcast daily by Jefferson Public Radio. A University of Oregon journalism graduate, Turner was a reporter for the Coos Bay World and managing editor of the Democrat-Herald in Albany before joining the Associated Press in Portland in 1967. Turner spent 35 years with the AP before retiring in Ashland.