20131226_140046By Trent Tibbitts

I went on an adventure today to find a local landmark,  the electric dam. I have heard tell of it my whole life, but in my 39 years, I have never been to it. I was off work for the week of Christmas and got some new hiking pants as a gift from my sweet wife Wendy,  so it was a good time to go. The weather was nice,  high in the mid 50’s.

Since I had never been,  first I had to know where I was going. There are no roads to the site anymore.  It was going to be a hike. But where to start. I knew of the general location.  A area about 2 miles square. I knew it had to be on a creek, but what creek. I knew of a road named the electric dam road,  but it was a dead end way before the dam. I had heard it was behind two different churches and knew them well. I knew from reading a little history that it was on the old Owen’s mill site. I had seen the location of the mill on a old Civil War map, but today’s roads are different than then. However,  the Churches were marked. 20131226_185039 All this information gave me a good idea where to look.  I tried to find information on the Internet but there was zero.  A well keep secret.  I then went to Google Maps and started to hunt. It took some time. All together I spent a good hour researching and looking. Then I found it on the satellite map, or what I thought was it. The creek runs in a forest and is hidden form view but I could make out white water, it had to be the dam.

I plotted my course and committed it to memory. I picked one of the two churches as my starting point.  It was a short 7 or 8 minute drive from my house to the church.  The only supplies I took was a water bottle. From the church I walked a old logging road for 1/2 mile or so, then turned right into the pine forest.  I followed a dry stream down hill to Punkingvine Creek.  The story goes that the name comes from early settlers who would plant crops in the creek bed during times of drought.  It had to be pre civil war because my map list it as Punkingvine.  I then headed down stream. It was another 1/2 a mile to the dam. It took me 30 minutes from the time I left the truck to get to the dam. I didn’t know what to expect.  I had only seen a few old photos. It was a little bigger than I thought it would be. 20131226_140423 I walked out on the top of it to the hole that had been blown in it. That’s right,  someone blew up the dam. The story I got from dad is that fokes up stream didn’t like the pond the dam created. People were getting sick and blaming it on the pond.  That is when someone blew up the dam. The creek was up and running fast from a rain earlier in the week. A lot of water had fell and I could tell by the mud on the ground that the creek had risen out of it’s banks and flooded the small narrow valley.  The hills leading down to the creek are steep.  There is not much room between the base of the hillside and the creek.  It is almost a gorge. 20131226_141107 I would imagine that during the highest point the water would have overshot the top of the dam. Four days later, a lot of muddy water was still going through the breach.

The dam is around 25 to 30 feet high and 80 or so feet long. The top of the dam is about five feet wide and the base is around 20 feet wide. It is made of concrete, with local stone as filler. Other than the concrete, only a small section of piping remains. It looks to have housed one generator.  IMG_530533068925964The dam was built starting in 1905 on the site of the George Owen’s mill.  It supplied power to Dallas until 1927. I was told by a relative that her grandfather worked there up to the time of the explosion.  IMG_531057575029479George came to Paulding county in 1848. He then married Nancy Bone and his brother married Mary Bone. Both where daughters of Bailey Bone, who is my great,  great,  great, grandfather. The road from Burnt Hickory to Dallas once passed close to the mill and a covered bridge crossed the creek.  IMG_531409816911803Parts of Sherman’s army took this road to the battle of Dallas and New Hope Church.   Other parts destroyed a church to build a bridge a mile down stream.  Sherman brought a lot of death to the fokes living in Paulding but that is another story for another day.  Most natives of Paulding still hates Sherman.

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After a few photos,  it was time to get back to the truck.  I took the same path back. I did come across a old deer stand and old home place that I did not see on the way in.20131226_144647 The timber had been harvested several years ago and the pine trees looked to be 15 years old. They had been planted and were spaced 20 feet apart. This made the woods very open with tall grass growing under the trees. I made it back to the truck with no problems.  I took the opportunity to visit the grave of my great grandfather Arthur Crew who is buried at this church along with other relatives. 20131226_151044

This hike is just what I needed. It had a little adventure,  a little local history and a little family history.  I hope to explore more of Paulding’s hidden places. 20131226_150723

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