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Dam gives way in Georgia


On November 6, 1977, the Toccoa Falls Dam in Georgia gives way and 39 people die in the resulting flood.

Ninety miles north of Atlanta, the Toccoa (Cherokee for “beautiful”) Falls Dam was constructed of earth across a canyon in 1887, creating a 55-acre lake 180 feet above the Toccoa Creek. In 1911, R.A. Forrest established the Christian and Missionary Alliance College along the creek below the dam. According to legend, he bought the land for the campus from a banker with the only $10 dollars he had to his name, offering God’s word that he would pay the remaining $24,990 of the purchase price later.

Sixty-six years later on November 5, a volunteer fireman inspected the dam and found everything in order. However, just hours afterward, in the early morning of November 6, the dam suddenly gave way. Water thundered down the canyon and creek, approaching speeds of 120 miles per hour.

Although there was a tremendous roar when the dam broke, the residents of the college had no time to evacuate. Within minutes, the entire community was slammed by a wave of water. One woman managed to hang onto a roof torn from a building and ride the wave of water for thousands of feet. Her three daughters, however, were not so fortunate: They were among the 39 people who lost their lives in the flood.

First lady Rosalynn Carter visited the college to offer her support in the wake of the tragedy. She later wrote, “Instead, I was enveloped by hope and courage and love.”


Tri-state water dispute

The tri-state water dispute is a 21st-century water-use conflict among the U.S. states of Georgia, Alabama, and Florida over flows in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin and the Alabama-Coosa-Tallapoosa River Basin. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has regulated water flow for the entire Chattahoochee River, from Lake Lanier in Forsyth County, Georgia, to Alabama and Florida.

The states filed suit in 1990 in their conflict over the water supply federal court has affirmed the Corps' authority to negotiate the conflict. As the Lake Lanier project was authorized by Congress, each of the three states is entitled to an equal portion of the water the project was never envisioned only to benefit metropolitan Atlanta, the closest large city and one that has developed rapidly since the late 20th century, greatly increasing its water consumption. The water flows are also regulated to support a variety of uses by states downriver, including preservation of marine life under the Endangered Species Act, and support for major seafood industries.


Coming of Age

At the beginning of the twentieth century, hydroelectric power in the United States came of age with three events: the development of the electric generator improvements in the hydraulic turbine and a growing demand for electricity. The first commercial hydroelectric power plant was built in 1882 on the Fox River in Appleton, Wisconsin, in order to provide 12.5 kilowatts of power to light two paper mills and a residence. Paper manufacturer H. F. Rogers developed the plant after seeing Thomas Edison's plans for an electricity power station in New York.

Early Twentieth Century.

Commercial power companies soon began to install a large number of small hydroelectric plants in mountainous regions near metropolitan areas. By 1920, hydroelectric plants accounted for 40 percent of the electric power produced in the United States.

The creation of the Federal Power Commission in 1920 increased development of hydroelectric power plants. The development of larger and more cost-efficient power plants showed that monetary support by the federal government was necessary for such hydroelectric plants to compete effectively with other power-generating plants. Then in 1933 the government saw that besides power production, hydroelectric power plants could also be effectively used for flood control, navigation, and irrigation. As a result, the government created the Tennessee Valley Authority in the southeastern United States to develop large-scale waterpower projects. In the Pacific Northwest, the Bonneville Power Administration, created in 1937, similarly focused on electrifying farms and small communities with public power.

Today.

Hydroelectric power plants generally range in size from several hundred kilowatts to several hundred megawatts , but a few enormous plants have capacities near 10,000 megawatts in order to supply electricity to millions of people. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, world hydroelectric power plants have a combined capacity of 675,000 megawatts that produces over 2.3 trillion kilowatt-hours of electricity each year supplying 24 percent of the world's electricity to more than 1 billion customers.

In many countries, hydroelectric power provides nearly all of the electrical power. In 1998, the hydroelectric plants of Norway and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire) provided 99 percent of each country's power and hydroelectric plants in Brazil provided 91 percent of total used electricity.

In the United States, more than 2,000 hydropower plants make hydro-electric power the country's largest renewable energy source (at 49 percent). The United States increased its hydroelectric power generation from about 16 billion kilowatt-hours in 1920 to nearly 306 billion kilowatt-hours in 1999. It runs a close second to Canada in the total amount of hydroelectric power produced worldwide. However, only 8 percent of the total U.S. electrical power was generated by hydroelectric power plants in 1999.

The largest U.S. hydropower plant is the 6,800-megawatt Grand Coulee power station on the Columbia River in Washington State. Completed in 1942, the Grand Coulee today is one of the world's largest hydropower plants, behind the 13,320-megawatt Itaipu hydroelectric plant on the Paraná River between Paraguay and Brazil. *

Canada is the world's largest hydroelectric power producer. In 1999, it generated more than 340 billion kilowatt-hours of power, or 60 percent of its electric power, far outdistancing the U.S. hydropower percentage. The former Soviet Union, Brazil, China, and Norway are among the other top hydroelectric-generating countries.


The Gilded Age Family That Gave It All Away: The Carnegies

Before Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates began pushing the world’s billionaires to give away at least half of their fortunes, one of the wealthiest men of the 19th century penned an essay with the hopes that he would inspire other industrialists to do the same.

It was the height of the Gilded Age in 1889, and Andrew Carnegie, a pioneer in the steel industry, laid out why he would be donating the bulk of his wealth – an estimated $350 million (worth about $4.8 billion today). The work, called “The Gospel of Wealth” was published 125 years ago this summer, and still undercuts the wobbly balance Americans walk between capitalism and social responsibility.

“The man who dies rich, dies disgraced,” he now-famously wrote.

That’s the reason the Carnegie clan isn’t on the new Forbes list of America’s Richest Families. When Andrew died in 1919, he left his wife her personal assets, a small cash gift and their property, which was a Manhattan townhouse and their holiday home in Scotland, Skibo Castle. His only daughter, Margaret, received a small trust, and eventually they had to sell the townhome due to its costly upkeep, biographer David Nasaw said.

“He left them enough money that they would be comfortable, but never as much money as the children of his fellow robber barons, who lived in enormous luxury,” Nasaw said in a phone interview. “Money and power were handed down from generation to generation. That wasn’t going to happen with the Carnegies.”

It was a deal they had agreed to long before he died. In fact, the Carnegies signed one of America’s first prenuptial agreements, which detailed the terms of the inheritance. That paved the way for Andrew to endow 200 libraries, the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University) and the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Barely anything is left of Andrew’s fortune, which was once valued on par with the oil tycoon Rockefellers and the banking Morgan family. The 13 fourth-generation members of Andrew Carnegie’s lineage now have the self-made wealth of white collar professionals. Their children and grandchildren make up a large fifth generation and a growing sixth.

Linda Thorell Hills, one of Andrew Carnegie’s great granddaughters, said her family has “lived conservatively and privately,” noting that it is easier to blend in since they are all descendants of his only daughter and none live with the Carnegie last name. Still, she said they’re emboldened by his legacy.

“Making one's own way in life is a healthy way to be,” Thorell Hills said. “Our family has been very much raised with the philosophy that our own individual lives are what we make of them.”

Born in Scotland to poor weavers, Carnegie immigrated with his parents to an impoverished town in Pennsylvania in 1848. His story starts out sounding eerily similar to countless immigrant tales of his time: According to his autobiography, at 13 years-old, he begun his first job, earning $1.20 a week to change spools of thread in a Pittsburgh cotton factory. He worked six days a week, and times were still hard.

Soon, that story took a turn that would soon make him one of the richest in America. He invested in the railroads, and spent time as a bond salesman. He then formed Carnegie Steel, and sold it to JP Morgan in 1901 for $480 million (what today would be nearing $13 billion).

The same year, J.P. Morgan founded U.S. Steel, and it became the world’s first company to have a market capitalization of more than $1 billion. Yet unlike many on Forbes’s Richest Families in America list, Carnegie did not leave his descendants with a stake in the company he helped build. It now trades on the New York Stock Exchange.

Ironically, Andrew’s brother Thomas went with a more traditional approach to inheritance. When he died at age 42, his will divvied up his multimillion-dollar industrialist fortune between his wife and nine children. Each received a trust fund of about $10 million, several descendants say.

But that wealth has now also dried up, the descendants added. The crown jewel of Thomas’s estate was Cumberland Island off Georgia’s coast, which Thomas bought in the early 1880s. It was there that the extended family lived and the rest came to vacation in large wooden mansions filled with antique furniture and fine china. Some Rockefellers lived there as well, after a few Carnegies married in.

Thomas Carnegie, age 12, with his older brother, Andrew. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By the second generation, the remnants of the Gilded Age were just about gone. Now the relatives have had to say goodbye to the island. Many began donating their land to the National Park Service in the 1970s because, in part, they did not have the money to continue the upkeep.

“We had the island and that’s it,” said fifth-generation descendant Lucy Foster Flight. “The money isn’t there. We’ve all done our separate things, and made our own money or not.”

A few dozen still live there, and their plots will go to the government when they die. Despite the ominous phasing out, it continues to be where the family congregates for reunions and holidays like Thanksgiving. “There’s this misnomer that we’re this really rich family and feel that we’re owed the right to be on the island. It’s really hard because that’s our home,” Foster Flight added.


If Atlanta loses one more hockey team, it will be a hat trick.

Hockey and the Deep South have always been something of a forced marriage. The Flames arrived in Atlanta in 1972 and reached the NHL playoffs six times in eight years playing at the Omni. But after years of low attendance and financial problems, the Flames burned out, moving to Calgary in 1980.

Then in 1997, the NHL awarded Atlanta another franchise, the Thrashers—named for the brown thrasher, Georgia’s state bird. The Thrashers’ sold 12,000 season tickets for their first season at Philips Arena. But in 11 seasons the team made the playoffs once, and after losing $130 million in the team’s last years, history repeated itself: the Thrashers left for Canada in 2011.

Though hockey has thrived in other Southern cities, Atlanta is left to wonder if the sport will ever return after the last NHL team arrived in the city on June 25, 1997, Today in Georgia History.


At Least 37 Die As Earthen Dam Bursts in Georgia

At least 37 persons, most of them students and their families asleep at a small Bible college, died early today when an earthen dam burst and sent a 30-foot wall of red water smashing throug the campus.

The breakup of the dam at about 1:30 a.m. sent tons of water over 187-foot-high Toccoa Falls onto the lower campus of Toccoa Falls Institute, where some 250 people lived in dormitories, houses and mobile homes.

Authorities said several people were reported missing and more than 40 had been injured. The dam, built in 1940, was on the Army Corps of Engineers' hazardous list.

Surviving students at the college prayed at an emotional service later today while law enforcement officers and civil defense workers searched the debris for bodies.

First Lady Rosalynn Carter, informed of the disaster while attending church services in Washington with the President, hurriedly flew in a presidential jet to a samll airport near Toccoa. Mrs. Carter said she would try to comfort the victims and had "a lot" of friends in the area.

Kenny Carroll of Washington, D.C., one of the frew to escape from the basement of a men's dormitory, said: "The Lord woke me up an instant before the water came in.

"I reached over from my bed and was trying to slint the door, but the water forced the door open. When I got out of bed, the water was already a foot high. We ran up the stairs and by the time we got there the whole basement was filled up. It just happened in five or six seconds."

Dave Hinkle, from Syracuse, N.Y., said a wave 30 feet high and 40 feet wide pound into the dorm's second-story windows. The four-story building was extensively damaged, and at least eight faculty houses were destroyed.

Bodies were found as far as two miles from the site of the dam, which held back 80 acre Kelley Barnes Lake.

The dam break came after two days of torrential rains. The skies in northern Georgia were partly cloudy today and at times the sun shore brightly on the devastated campus.

Bill Stacy, 19, who lived with his parents in a traiier, said: "I heard a bunch of people screaming and hollering. There was this terrible screeching noise . . . The trailers were all over the place - some floating, some just caem apart."

Gov. George Busbee, who flew to Toccoa, said the state would begin monitoring "as of this moment" 84 dams in Georgia that have been classified as highly hazardous by the Corps of Engineers. The classification does not mean that a dam is defective, but that a rupture would cause considerable loss of life and property.

Busbee said the dams would be examined, not because they posed imminent danger, but because of the recent heavy rainfall.

He said the state would investigate the Toccoa break, but that "this is no time to start blaming anyone."

The president of the college, Kenn Opperman, said the dam, weakened by several days of hard rain, had been inspected recently. However, he didn't know whether any government agency took part in the inspection.

"We had some flash flooding and as a result of that we inspected the dam," he said. "I'm of the opinion that it was a routine inspection."

The creek had risen to near flood stage Saturday night, and three volunteer firemen were advising area residents to leave as a precaution. Two of the firemen were killed when the dam broke.

Eldon Elsberry, the lone survivor of the trio, said, "I looked up and I saw red water that was really starting to move" down Toccoa Creek. "We ran and got into a jeep. We were going to turn the sirens on the wake the people up. We didn't get to the bridge."

The jeep was swamped, pitching Elsberry and his companions into chest-high water.

"The truck was starting to slide and we knew we couldn't get over the bridge," Elsberry said. He said he grabbed a tree, "and when the tree gave way, I grabbed a breath of air. My right foot got caught when I tried to take my boots off."

Elsberry said he was swept 125 feet downstream. He grabbed a tree and scrambled up onto the bank to safety.

The dam and lake are on property owned by the college, and water from the lake normally filters down a scenic, 187-foot rock drop known as Toccoa Falls. It then runs into a creek, which meanders through the campus of the nondenominational school, which has about 600 students and faculty and is operated by the Christian and Missionary Alliance of Nyack, N.Y.

The college's residential buildings were on a lower part of the campus at the foot of the falls. Classrooms and administration buildings are on higher ground.

Opperman said water spilled over the dam a year ago, causing $100,000 damage to roads and the grounds, but that he knew of no trouble with the dam in his 38 months at the school.

A school spokesman said the dam once provided water and electric power for the school. In recent years, the lake was used only for recreation.

City officials shut off water and natural gas to the 9,000 residents of Toccoa as a precaution against disease and fire.

Rosalynn Carter toured the flood area in a helicopter and later met with reporters.

"Jimmy wanted me to come here to express his concern," she said. "The federal government will cooperate in any way possible under the law," to provide aid.

"It is a terrible tragedy. You have my support and Jimmy's support as you rebuild."

Asked about the dam being on the "high hazard" list, she said, "Sometimes it takes a tragedy to make us do things we should have done before."

The First Lady planned to visit 12 hospitalized survivors before flying back to Washington. Presidential assistant Greg Schneiders said he would spend the night in the area.

In the last five years, there have been two serious dam collapses in the United States. When the Buffalo Creek Dam in West Virginia collapsed in 1972, 118 persons died. And on June 5, 1975, the 305-foot Teton Dam in Idaho - also earthern - burst and sent 80 billion gallons of water into surrounding farmland. Eleven persons died.


Lake Allatoona Camping and Cabins

There are a large number of campgrounds around Lake Allatoona which means there is a wide range of camping services and amenities available. In addition to the U.S. Army Corp of Engineer campgrounds and Georgia's Red Top Mountain State Park, there are also facilities for overnight stays at Allatoona Landing and Holiday Harbor marinas.


Ensure you special day is perfect with a Smoky Mountain backdrop!

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10 Worst Ways History Has Repeated Itself

You've probably heard the quote: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" [source: Santayana]. Sure, it's a little dramatic, and you wouldn't be blamed for letting loose a loud sigh and eye roll if someone said it to you in a preachy way. But the man who wrote these words, philosopher George Santayana, actually had a good point. Continuity is necessary to progress — or, in normal-people words, we gotta remember how we've done stuff in the past in order to do it better in the future.

When you put it that way, it seems like common sense. You eat ice cream too fast and you get a headache. So next time you slow down a little. Clearly. But if history is full of warnings, we haven't always been very good at heeding them. The past is bursting with people who made mistakes similar to those of their predecessors, and, lo and behold, they suffered similar consequences. These tragedies are especially sad because they are so preventable.

So did all of history's disasters happen because some poor sap dropped the ball? Not really. Sometimes bad things happen that no one can control. And sometimes they happen over and over again to the same people. It's simply bad luck.

Either way, there are plenty of examples of repeat tragedies. Here are some of the worst.

10: Military Miscalculations

Take it from Vizzini, the bald kidnapper in The Princess Bride: "Never get involved in a land war in Asia!" Or, at the very least, get out of Russia before winter. That's the lesson both Napoleon Bonaparte and Adolph Hitler learned during their failed attempts to attack the massive Eurasian country. True, these were pretty bad dudes and the world is better off because they lost but the horrific suffering of their armies nevertheless made the invasions similarly "inconceivable!"

In June 1812 Napoleon assembled an army of 600,000 to invade Moscow and subdue his former ally, Czar Alexander I [source: PBS]. As he marched into Russia, it was typhus-carrying lice, not enemy soldiers, that began to take a toll on his forces. But despite typhus and trench fever, a weakened French army reached Moscow on Sept. 14, declaring victory in the largely vacated city [source: Knight]. On the return trip, however, temperatures plummeted to -22 degrees Fahrenheit (-30 Celsius), freezing the beleaguered soldiers' lips together and killing thousands of horses. Facing such harsh conditions with little food, as few as 10,000 men made it back home [source: Minard].

Fast-forward to 1941 as Hitler's army began its own June invasion of Russia, known as Operation Barbarossa. Believing victory would take only a few months — and despite owning several books about Napoleon — the Nazi leader sent his troops into battle ill prepared for the impending winter. Again, plummeting temperatures and a lack of warm coats and hats meant many returned home without ears, noses, fingers and even eyelids [source: Roberts].

In late 2007 the United States economy went into a tailspin. The stock market dropped like a lead elephant while the only thing going up, it seemed, was unemployment. Predictably, commentators soon began to make doomsday comparisons between the "Great Recession," as it became known, and the Great Depression of the 1930s. But was this really a repeat?

Certainly, the similarities were concerning. Both were preceded by periods of prosperity. Both came at a time when banks were experimenting with new ways of doing business (consumer credit in the 1920s and pooling mortgage debt in the 2000s). Both even followed asset bubbles, which occur when prices exceed what something is actually worth (Florida real estate and the stock market in the 1920s, and tech companies and real estate in the 2000s) [source: Geewax]. And then there was the sharp stock market decline in the first 18 months after the initial crash: 45 percent during the Great Depression and 54 percent during the Great Recession [source: Jacobsen].

By and large, however, the Great Depression was much worse. Its 43-month duration made the 18-month Great Recession seem mild by comparison. In the period after the 1929 crash, unemployment went up 19.3 percentage points compared to rising just 5.7 percentage points after 2007. And remember all the banks that failed during the Great Recession? There were 443, which seems high until you consider that some 9,000 closed during the Great Depression [source: Geewax]. Ouch.

You know those messages that get forwarded around email or Facebook claiming to reveal supposedly shocking coincidences between two historical events? If you're like many people, you probably can't find the delete button fast enough. But if not, you might have seen the one about the remarkable similarities between the assassinations of Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy.

While some of those claims have been debunked (it is the Internet after all), some are true. Yep, both presidents were shot on Friday with a fatal bullet to the head after being warned not to go out. Their successors were both named Johnson Andrew was born in 1808 and Lyndon in 1908. Both assassins — John Wilkes Booth and Lee Harvey Oswald — have 15 letters in their names. And, most peculiarly, Booth escaped from a theater and was captured in a warehouse (well, a tobacco shed), and Oswald fled a warehouse and was caught in a theater [source: Snopes].

These are pretty intriguing similarities, but before we declare a rip in the space-time continuum, consider this: There are a lot of other things that weren't similar. Lincoln and JFK weren't shot with the same gun. It wasn't the same time of day. Heck, it wasn't even in the same city. Perhaps, as some experts believe, it's simply human nature to look for patterns even if there really aren't any [source: Shermer].

When people think of genocide, chances are their minds quickly turn to the Holocaust. During the horrific event, Nazi Germany systematically rounded up and imprisoned Jewish, gays, Roma people, communists and others who did not fit into Hitler's worldview. There, some 11 million concentration camp prisoners ultimately died from starvation, exhaustion or execution. It was so terrible, in fact, that German schools now mandate teaching of the Holocaust in hopes that future generations will never repeat the mistakes of their past [source: Frontline]. And other countries have pledged to stop it if it does happen. "[N]ever again will the world . fail to act in time to prevent this terrible crime of genocide," U.S. President Jimmy Carter proclaimed in 1979 [source: Holocaust Museum, FAQs].

But did you know there have been as many as two dozen instances of genocide since the Holocaust? [source: Inter-Parliamentary Alliance] That figure depends on how genocide is defined, but generally it involves violent crimes carried out against a group of people with the ultimate intent to exterminate them. Take Cambodia's Khmer Rouge, which, between 1975 and 1979, killed as many as 2 million political dissidents — a shocking one-third of the country's population. Just 15 years later, during a 100-day span in 1994, Rwanda's Hutu government killed between one-half and 1 million Tutsis. Such crimes continue in the 2010s, as some leaders have accused Syrian president Bashar al-Assad of killing his own people to retain power [source: Holocaust Museum, Cases].

It's a classic Hollywood storyline: A new disease pops up and spreads worldwide, much faster than science can come up with a cure. But this isn't just the stuff of action films. It's called a pandemic, and it's happened more than once in our history.

One that's still pretty well-known, despite the passage of several hundred years, is the Black Death. The plague originated in Asia, reaching Europe by the late 1340s where it killed a staggering number of people. Because the records back then weren't entirely thorough, no one is completely sure how many died, but estimates range from 25 million to 100 million [source: Filip]. Either way, it was nothing to sneeze at. In some cities, so few people survived that there was no one to bury the dead [source: Kennedy].

That kind of stuff only happened before modern medicine, right? Not exactly. There's another pandemic that started just four decades ago and continues to claim lives today: AIDS. This disease originated in Africa as early as 1920 but didn't spread worldwide until the 1980s [source: McCoy]. Since then, somewhere between 63 million and 89 million people have been infected with HIV, and 30 million to 42 million of those have died [source: UNAIDS]. That means, incredibly, that AIDS may have killed as many people — or even more — than the Black Death.

Yet, despite all that we know about such diseases, they still live on thanks to unsanitary conditions, cultural misunderstandings and a lack of education. Even the plague still rears its ugly head from time to time, particularly in developing countries in Africa and Asia. Which makes you wonder: Will we learn from these past pandemics, or are we setting ourselves up for another one?


AQUATIC CENTER AND WATER PARK

Opened in 2011, the Cumming Aquatic Center & Water Park features an Olympic-sized indoor swimming pool for training and competition. During the spring and summer the outdoor water park, featuring a water slide, lazy river, and splash-play area, is open for kids of all ages! Classes such as swimming lessons, water fitness, CPR, and more are available year-round in the Center’s instructional pool.

For scheduled events and additional information visit the official Aquatic Center website.


Georgia Historical Society (GHS) is the premier independent statewide institution responsible for collecting, examining, and teaching Georgia history. GHS houses the oldest and most distinguished collection of materials related exclusively to Georgia history in the nation. Founded in 1839, the Georgia Historical Society is the oldest continuously operated historical society in the South.

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Watch the video: Dam In Woodstock, GA Giving Way.. (December 2021).