Saturday, January 7, 2012

Drinking in the Dog River

I never know where I'm going with these columns until my deadline looms. I get a little frantic, and I finally sit down to write. This week I've been thinking about historical myths - those bits and pieces of historical lore that get mixed in with actual facts - and how the myths and true facts become muddled in the first place.

The muddling is easy for historians and educators to do. We seem to perpetuate the myths Don't get me wrong - I don't think we intentionally do this.

One reason has to do with new primary sources and how they are constantly being located and examined. The new information counter what we previously thought was fact. Another reason is the structure and content of classroom resources over the last two hundred years does not always set things straight for various reasons.

I don't want this column to perpetuate myths. Therefore, I've agonized over every word, sentence and fact wanting to make sure everything I share here regarding the history of Douglasville and the surrounding area is factual. However, we don't have many scholarly published sources. Mostly, what we have is a plethora of stories that must be waded through and measured very carefully against what we know regarding the facts.

This week I want to discuss the Dog River - the source for our drinking water. For some people it is hard to describe the Dog River as a river because it's more of a creek in places. It begins south of Villa Rica in Carroll County and flows into the western side of Douglas County. Then it travels south and eastward until it spills into the Dog River Reservoir in the southern end of the county. Finally, the water flows into the Chattahoochee River.

However, don't let the fact the Dog River is used for drinking water, and a quick glance at the quiet lake to fool you. advises, "[The seven mile stretch of the Dog River from Highway 5 down to the reservoir] is according to American Whitewater, a Class 3+ section of whitewater."

Many a Douglasville has gone to shoot the rapids along the Dog River on transfer truck sized tire tubes in past summers. However, it is important to remember they are classified dangerous by the experts. Many other Douglas County residents enjoy the 300-acre Dog River Reservoir lake for fishing and boating

I became interested in the Dog River as I began reading about the various mills in Douglas County during the 1800s. I found it interesting to discover the original name for the river was not Dog River but Trout Creek, the name Native Americans in the area prior to the 1870s had given it.

Then I had to wonder - how does a creek, a river-creek change from Trout to Dog? There are a few stories, and here is where the historical myth connection comes into play...

THANK YOU for visiting “Every Now and Then” and reading the first few paragraphs of “Drinking in the Dog River“ which is now one of the 140 chapters in my book “Every Now and Then: The Amazing Tales of Douglas County, Volume I”. 

Visit the Amazon link by clicking the book cover below where you can explore the table of contents and read a few pages of the book…plus make a purchase if you choose!


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