Caney Creek Village Documentary to be Released March 25

Saturday, March 16, 2013
Davis G. Merrell, Jr. and Edgar Poe, Jr. on the trolley
Davis G. Merrell, Jr. and Edgar Poe, Jr. on the trolley

 Twenty-one year old, Will Moore of Ooltewah will be releasing a historical documentary about Caney Creek Village that was located near the Ocoee #2 Powerhouse in Polk County, Tennessee.  Moore joined forces with his parents, Ron and Debbie Moore of Cleveland to complete the documentary. 

     Caney Creek Village housed the workers from the Ocoee #2 project from 1912-1943.  It was closed when TVA took over in the 1940s.  Former residents:  Marilyn Lowe Kirkland, Geraldine Lowe King, John “Doc” German, Troye Moore Linginfelter, Anna Ruth Lillard Green and the late Margaret Poe Trotter shared their memories of living at Caney Creek.  The subtitle “Going Home” came from two of the residents returning to the ruins of the village.

     The documentary has original music by John Cook and was edited by Ron Moore.  Debbie Moore narrated and wrote the story.  Many historical photographs are included.  The documentary runs 45 minutes.  Copies of the DVD will be available at the showing.

    The premiere showing is free and open to the public.  The documentary will be shown on Sunday afternoon, March 24, 2013 at 3pm (est) at Walker Valley High School in northern Bradley County.  For more information go to www.oldtowncleveland.com

Additional Information

The History of Caney Creek Village (1912-43) “Going Home”

History:

Ocoee Dam #1 was built by the Tennessee Power Company in 1912.  As soon as that project was complete the company started Ocoee Dam #2, a power house, flume line and diversion dam.  The Ocoee Dam #1 created Tennessee’s first artificial lake—but it also flooded the road leading to the Ocoee #2 project.  Tennessee Power  Company built housing for the workers at Ocoee #2 dam.  The permanent housing was on the south side of the Ocoee River.  Many of the houses had concrete foundations which is all that is left of the village today.

 

The village existed from 1912-43.  The houses had indoor plumbing, running water, and electricity.  The village had a one room school house, a two story hotel, a trolley, concrete sidewalks, a tennis court and a train engine.  It was acknowledged in Ripley’s Believe it or Not as being the only town in American that had never had a car.  The residents parked their cars beside Highway 64 and walked into the village on a 150’ suspension bridge.  The houses of the supervisors had decorative fishponds in the front yards.  The remains of the fishponds can still be seen today.

When TVA took over they closed the village except for a short time when residents lived there long enough to build Ocoee Dam #3.  That dam was needed to provide extra power for the War effort.  The village officially closed in 1943.  The houses and buildings were dismantled and were moved out of the village.

Ocoee Dam #1 was built in one year.  It was built by Tennessee Power Company and is now the oldest dam in the TVA system.  The diversion dam, flume line and powerhouse are likewise still producing electricity.  The flume may be the only operating flume of its size in America.  Ocoee Dam #3 is still in operation, too.

The documentary is the project of the Ron Moore family. 

Will Moore is twenty one and a student at Chattanooga State—he took this semester off to get married.  He worked on the set of 42 while it was filming in Chattanooga.  He appeared as an extra in the hit TV series, Nashville.  He is a professional photographer and DJ.  He is presently working at McKee Foods in Collegedale.  He is married to the former Alliea Carver of Ooltewah.  He served as producer of the documentary and was the videographer.

Debbie Moore has been an elementary teacher in the Bradley County School System for 34 years.  She is an amateur historian.  She released a regional history book, Confederate Voices in 2012.   She wrote and narrated the documentary.  She and her husband Ron co-hosts a local history show, Old Town Cleveland, on WOOPfm  99.9 (www.woopfm.com)  in Cleveland each Saturday for the past 3 years.  Ron Moore works in the Families First program and was the editor of the documentary.

John Cook of Cleveland( a family friend) wrote, performed and recorded all the original songs for the project.

The former residents of Caney Creek that appear in the video:

Mrs. Margaret Poe Trotter moved to Caney Creek in 1934 when she was a sixth grader.  She graduated from high school the year the village was closed.  She was a high school teacher in the Polk County and Blue Ridge School systems having taught for over 30 years.  She shared her memories of growing up at Caney Creek including when her mother organized Sunday School for the children in the one room school house.  In the video, Mrs. Trotter displays a quilt that was made in the village in 1934.  She also shares her memories of “going home” to Caney Creek to visit the remains of the buildings on her 87th birthday in 2010.  Mrs. Trotter passed away at the age of 89 a few days after her interview for the documentary.

Mrs. Troye Moore Linginfelter came to Caney Creek Village in the 1932 as a 6th grader.  Her father was the carpentry foreman. She shared many fond memories of growing up with the mountains as a playground.  She later taught in the Polk County School System.  Now in her nineties she resides in Alcoa, Tennessee.

Marilyn Lowe Kirkland and Geraldine Lowe King of Cleveland had many happy memories of growing up in the unusual town on the Ocoee River.  Mrs. Kirkland is thought to be the last baby born at Caney Creek.  Mrs. King shared that her mother and father met while her father was working at Caney Creek.  After a courtship, he took her to the top of the flume line high above the river bed to propose.  They moved to Caney Creek where they had 5 children.

Anna Ruth Lillard Green of Benton was the oldest person interviewed.  She was a few days short of her 99th birthday when she was interviewed in May of 2012.  Mrs. Green was married in 1933 and moved to Caney Creek in 1934 and remained there until TVA closed the village.  She is the only person that could be found that had lived at the village as a young wife and mother.  She recalled that The Tennessee Power Company let the workers live in the houses for little to no rent.  They repaired and painted the houses free of charge.  But when TVA took over “it was a horse of a different color”.  She stated “You paid for everything then they said “Get Out”.  When the Green’s left their home in Caney Creek they moved back to a home that had an “out house”.

John “Doc” German of Cleveland is now 82 years old and has very vivid memories of being a young s boy growing up in Caney Creek.  He was born in the village in 1932. He recalled tying a rope to a pink Victory bicycle and riding the bike off in the river.  His buddy would pull the bicycle to safety but Doc was on his own to make it back to shore. He took the documentary crew  to Caney Creek to visit the remains of the little town that sat between the river and the mountains.  (Doc-423-715-5100)

PS- Doc is a character.  He sings and dances with the Roaring 50’s Dancing and Sing group, when he was 80 he was riding a bike 50 miles per week.  He raced in the very first race at Cleveland Speedway in 1954……that is our next documentary.

 

 The documentary is 47 minutes long.  It took 18 months (longer than it took to build the Ocoee Dam #1) to film and edit the footage.  The premiere showing of the documentary will be held on Sunday afternoon, March 24, 2013 at 3pm at Walker Valley High School in Northern Bradley County.  The event is free and open to the public.  Copies of the DVD and a book outlining the history of Caney Creek Village will be available at the viewing.  For more information: www.oldtowncleveland.com

 


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