Northern California January 26, 2020
The Once Bustling Mining Town Of Kennett In Northern California Now Lies At The Bottom Of Lake Shasta
It sounds like a strange urban legend that couldn’t possibly be true…but it is. There’s an underwater town hiding at the bottom of Lake Shasta and the history behind it is truly fascinating. Back in the day, the town of Kennett was a promising Gold Rush-era mining town. However, the town’s fate was sealed even before construction began on the now-iconic Shasta Dam. This strange piece of history is something that every Northern Californian should know about so that the memory of Kennett and the people who inhabited it lives on.
It's no secret that Lake Shasta is one of Northern California's most iconic destinations for recreation, photography, or simply surrounding yourself in nature. Most people would never have guessed that at the bottom of this beautiful reservoir are the remnants of a century-old mining town.
The town of Kennett started off as a humble railroad construction camp in the 1880s. Like many Gold Rush-era towns, the settlement grew and grew, eventually becoming a permanent mining town around 1884.
At the time, there were two mines that were considered rich copper producers. Rising metal prices during World War I turned Kennett into an official "boomtown", boasting expanded mines, smelters, and railroads in order to meet the demand. Of course, this boom didn't last.
After the war ended, demand for copper naturally decreased. The sudden economic downfall couldn't support the expansions that Kennett has constructed in order to keep up with demand. Kennett simply couldn't recover and the town's largest mine, The Mammoth, officially closed in 1923.
As a result, people began to leave Kennett and the town was disincorporated in 1931. Meanwhile, the government started to consider building a dam right where the town of Kennett lay. After all, its location along the Sacramento River made it ideal for the construction of what would be Shasta Dam.
Construction on the dam began in 1935. There was no public hearing to ask the remaining Kennett residents their opinion, and the diminished population was essentially forced out as the dam began to form. Some residents sold their land to the government before leaving but others waited it out until the very end, only abandoning their homes once the water began to rise.
Kennett was completely submerged by 1944, just one year before Shasta Dam was completed. What remained of this once prosperous town now lies at the bottom of Shasta Lake.
Looking at this gorgeous body of water today, it's hard to believe there's an underwater town at the bottom of it. The next time you visit this extraordinary destination, be sure to keep the lost town of Kennett in mind.
Did you know about this fascinating underwater town? It just goes to show that NorCal is full of incredible history—even in the places you’d least expect. Check out another historic destination when you read about
The Creepy Abandoned Town Of Bodie In Northern California.