The Park Built on Forgotten Ghost Towns
Fifty years ago, thousands of residents were forced from their homes for a massive dam. But then squatters reclaimed their homesteads and nature slowly took back the land.
Photos by Rebecca Cheong
On a cold yet sunny November morning, Gregory Miller and his son Michael travel to the land where their family’s farm once stood. Both are big men, in size and in spirit. Like many people from America’s Appalachian Mountain region, they are reserved and fiercely independent. During this trip, they carry with them the quiet fury of righteous indignation.
Greg hasn’t been back to the farmstead in several years, but chose to mark the fiftieth anniversary of his forced removal from this place by bringing his thirty-year-old son here for the first time. It’s a solemn occasion, with long periods of silent recollection punctuated by the piercing shotgun blasts of nearby pheasant hunters.
“Those rocks over there, near the edge of the dirt road,” Greg says, “they’re all that remains of the farmstead. That’s it. Just the foundation of the barn and the hole where the silo used to be. I haven’t ever been able to find exactly where the house was.” He speaks with a thick Penns…
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