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Friday, June 14, 2013

The Copper Basin

In these Mountains lies a small community.  This community is comprised of two towns:  McCayesville, GA and Copperhill, TN.  The community is split in half by a state line, painted in blue paint, giving tourists an opportunity to take goofy pictures.

In some places the state line runs right through buildings, including a bar and a church that can do marriages in both states.

Nestled amongst the quite Mountains, these twin cities were once the most polluted areas in the entire country.

The economy in this community was based around the local Copper Mines.

Another primary cause of the pollution in the area was, the acid factory, which I'm sure is related  to Copper in some way.

The Copper industry is not as bustling as it once was, but there are still signs of the disasters it caused.

Check out this massive 350 foot crater that was caused by a horrific mine collapse.

You may notice that, aside from the sparse pine trees there is a lack of vegetation around the crater.  Vegetation is sparse in this area due to the past pollution.   Until recently, the hills here looked like the surface of Mars.

Library of Congress

Library of Congress

Library of Congress
It was explained to me that the pollution from the acid factory killed most the vegetation.  This caused the topsoil to all be washed away by rain and end up here in lake Ocoee. 

I heard from a friend that the air pollution was so thick that you couldn't leave clothes out on the line or the air would stain them.  These days the landscape is still scarred, but scraggily pines are starting to grow.

Another point of interest include this odd little building.

While this little building still stands, Kimsey Junior College never existed.

Ducktown, TN is another small town that sits just outside of Copperhill.

Back in the early 30s the community had a grand plan.  They would build a College to serve the area.  They erected the magnificent building, which to this day is the only building designed by an architect in all of Copper Basin.

Sadly, this was an overly ambitious project.  Do to the extreme rural setting the town was never able to draw enough enrollment to open the building as a college and it set empty.  Finally, the community gave it up and turned the building into a elementary school.  The largest most amazing elementary school in the area.

Me and my wife paid a visit to this school, just to see what it looked like these days.  We poked around the back a bit a took some pictures through the back window.

It started raining really hard and we scrambled back to our car that was parked in front of the building.  My wife pointed out something unsettling.

Someone or something was watching us.  Check out the top left hand window.  After the initial shock wore off we realized that it was a mannequin.  A creepy mannequin, but a mannequin none the less.

As our nerves calmed, we realized we were still being watched.  From inside the building a shirtless man was staring at us from the front door.  We got the hell out of there.

There is also a great Mexican restaurant back in Copperhill that we always make sure we stop at.  To celebrate their building's history they posted this old newspaper clipping on the wall.

I'll let you read that yourself..........Freaky, huh?

The Carpetbagger