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History of the Caney Fork River

The history Caney Fork River was the ruling force behind the lives and land of those who lived upon the banks the Caney. This is where the history Caney Fork River begins in the words of my ancestors in 1801. “The Caney Fork River would become the way of life, where everything ‘centered’ around the river and history Caney Fork River.

“Many years ago in the words of my ancestors on the banks of the Caney Fork, trees were cut into logs and skidded to the edge of steep bluffs overlooking the river. They would be assembled into large rafts tied together with rope and saplings from the trees. Most of the log rafts had roofs over parts of the log raft with a area for cooking and sleeping. The men on board were exposed to the elements of terrible weather. This would be a long hard trip down the Caney Fork and Cumberland rivers.”

“These log rafts were builded for carrying goods and logs from the rafts to sell down river in Nashville, but sometimes the rafts would never make the trip. For many rafts would be torn apart by wind, storms, and running aground at low water levels.” The Caney Fork was a treacherous, dangerous, and unforgiving river for the brave souls that navigated her waters. “Rafts were usually tied up and camps were set up on the banks of the Caney at night. This trip could take a few days to weeks depending on the river and weather conditions before arriving in Nashville. The men would sell their goods and logs, begin their journey by foot back home to the Caney Fork.” As the history Caney Fork River goes! Five generations later, the best location is still the same on this great river of ours for our own family! This is a small part from the history Caney Fork River of my ancestors.

In the history Caney Fork River many hundreds of log rafts have made the trip down the Caney Fork and Cumberland Rivers to the lumber mills in Nashville. Since the Center Hill Dam project was authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1938 and the River and Harbor Act of 1946. The Center Hill project was built by the U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers, of the Nashville District for flood control on the Cumberland and lower rivers, generation of electric power, and at the same time provides many recreation facilities for Middle Tennessee.

Construction began in March 1942 and was delayed for three years by World War II. Center Hill Dam closure was started November 27, 1948 and completed December 1949. The first power unit was placed in commerical production in December 1950 at Center Hill. When the reservoir is full the water is backed up to the tailwaters at the Great Falls in Rock Island. The Center Hill Dam impounds the second largest flood control reservoir owned and operated by the U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers, of Nashville District. Center Hill Lake is located on the Caney Fork River in the Cumberland River Basin. It covers parts of DeKalb, Putnam, White, and Warren countries in Tennessee. The water flowing through Center Hill Dam contributes to navigation on the Caney Fork, the lower Cumberland, the Ohio, and the Mississippi Rivers. Since the Center Hill Dam was construction neither rafts or boats can make the trip from Rock Island to the Cumberland River. At this time anew era begin in the history Caney Fork River.

These quotes have been handed down from generation to generation. I treasure these words from my family history Caney Fork River.

- Janis Martin