It’s no secret that California is in the middle of a historic drought, which has taken a severe toll on the landscape, water resources, and lakes throughout the state. Californians have done well with their water use; “Cities cut water use by a combined 31 percent in July, exceeding the governor’s statewide conservation mandate of 25 percent, the State Water Resources Control Board reported.”
All this conservation can’t stop the drought, unfortunately, and lake levels throughout California have been decreasing steadily. While low levels of water are never a good sign, this drop has revealed a number of interesting things hiding beneath the surface. Let’s take a look at four of the most fascinating discoveries:
A Mining Town
In Sacramento, Folsom Lake has sunk to historic lows, unearthing the Gold Rush mining town of Mormon Island, which was buried by water in 1955. In 1853, the population of the town was 2,500, and it had four hotels, three dry goods stores, five general merchandise stores, and seven saloons. Because of the drought, the lake has receded far enough to where the base of buildings on the outskirts of this long forgotten town can now be easily seen.
Federal Agent’s Gun and Badge
In 1992, a Federal Agent enjoying a day out boating on Castaic Lake had placed his gun, badge, and other goods into a backpack…which promptly fell overboard. He probably thought this incident was one for the cold files, until a fisherman caught more than he bargained for on his line. 22 years later and the bag, with it’s contents, has resurfaced…hook, line, and sinker.
Near Los Gatos, as you head towards Santa Cruz, the Lexington Reservoir has been keeping a secret of its own. There’s two forgotten towns from the late 1800s that have been long hidden beneath the water. Home to a robust logging community, the first sawmill in Santa Clara County, and even a murder-mystery involving hidden gold, these two small towns were defeated by the railroads. The rest, as they say, is history.
Will history repeat itself? We say there’s not a ghost of a chance. To read more about these two buried treasures, click here.
A Stolen Car
Laguna Lake in San Luis Obispo, with it’s placid waters and quacking ducks, doesn’t seem like the place for a joyride. However, whoever stole a station wagon in 2006 had other ideas. Now that the drought has reclaimed some of the water that used to serve as a handy alibi for a long missing Subaru, this case might be cracked wide open.
While we’re sure the owner’s already collected on insurance, you can read more about this case here.
There’s plenty of other things, some not so entertaining, that the drought has revealed in California. From Ghost Towns to misplaced goods, Californians have been shown that things aren’t always what they seem, and adventure lurks around every lake…you just need to know where to look for it.