Article: Lost Beneath Lake Berryessa

Filed under: Joy's Work — Administrator at 4:23 pm on Sunday, January 12, 2020

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Check out my Alta article about the town of Monticello in Napa, which was turned into a lake and reservoir in the 1950s. Dorothea Lange documented the human and environmental toll that went into creating Lake Berryessa. Excerpt:

Goat Island in Lake Berryessa pokes up from the water like the crown of a hat. Beyond it, the hills are unusually triangular, coming to soft peaks instead of rolling mounds. Standing on the shore, I tried to imagine the island as it had been 62 years ago: not an island at all but the top of a hill. The lake is man-made, the result of a dam built across Putah Creek. The 1.6 million acre-feet of water cover a fertile valley and a town named Monticello.

The idea that there’s a town under a lake in Napa County, an hour-and-a-half drive from my house, was intriguing. Add to that the fact that Dorothea Lange, whose photographs humanized the Great Depression, shot a series on the flooding of the valley and the town, and I knew I had to see Lake Berryessa.

Read the rest here.

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