BY DAN MILLER
(originally posted January 12, 2005)
Two strange stories today, and I'll start with this fact..... the Savannah River serves as a boundary between Georgia and South Carolina.
My hometown of Augusta, Georgia sits on the banks of the river, and for years it was prone to flooding.
But in 1954, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completed construction on the giant Clarks Hill Dam and Lake.... and for half a century now, flooding along the Savannah has been preventable.
And the recreational area around the dam is beautiful.
A lake with 1200 miles of shoreline, ideal for boating, fishing and recreation, and a hydroelectric generator that provides power for much of the southeast.
Anyhow, both Georgia and South Carolina have always claimed, or at least shared, the lake and recreation area, since the state line runs right in the middle of the dam.
As a kid, I remember whenever we'd go there for boating, or picnics or whatever, the discussion would always include whether we should go on the "South Carolina side" or the "Georgia side".
Well, in 1988, an obscure piece of legislation passed through congress, with a provision renaming the dam and lake "Thurmond Dam and Lake", in honor of South Carolina's senior senator J. Strom Thurmond.
But most people on the Georgia side were not happy with the sneaky change..... and, even today, if you drive along the highways on the Georgia side, you'll see signs pointing the way to Clarks Hill, while on the Carolina side, the road signs direct you to Lake Thurmond.
It's amazing. You can immediately tell which side of the river someone is from, by how they refer to that dam and lake.
What got me thinking about this was a little story I saw in the Everett, Washington newspaper.
There's a lake in Washington that both the Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Geological Survey have listed as Bevis Lake.
But..... and I wouldn't make this up..... the U.S. Census Bureau officially lists the lake, in its records, as Butthead Lake.
No one seems to know for sure how this error happened..... but I'm pretty sure I know.
Somebody at the Census Bureau was having a slow, boring day..... sat down at the computer..... decided to play a little joke on somebody else..... he entered the phony name...... the phone rang, he walked away from his desk....... forgot to change what he typed in..... and the rest is history.
Rest assured, the name will stick..... or maybe, from now on, it'll be referred to as Lake Bevis and Butthead.
Yeah, two names are cool, eh, heh,heh,heh,heh.....