Petersburg, Ga

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(Emily Rose Bennett/Staff) The site of former city of Petersburg peeks out from low waters on Wednesday, January 23, 2013. Two centuries ago, Petersburg was Georgia's second-largest city, situated at the confluence of the Savannah and Broad rivers. The post office closed in 1850 when only a few residents remained, and in the 1940s the ruins, foundations, and streets were inundated when Clarks Hill Lake was built.
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(Emily Rose Bennett/Staff) Red bricks litter the site of the former city of Petersburg, Ga.,on Wednesday, January 23, 2013.
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(Emily Rose Bennett/Staff) Ken Boyd, conservation biologist with the Army Corps of Engineers, holds a rusted piece of metal that most likely was part of some machinery at the site of the lost city of Petersburg, Ga.,on Wednesday, January 23, 2013.
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(Emily Rose Bennett/Staff) Ken Boyd, conservation biologist with the Army Corps of Engineers, holds a rusted piece of metal found at the site of the lost city of Petersburg, Ga.,on Wednesday, January 23, 2013.
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(Emily Rose Bennett/Staff) A brick foundation is seen on the site of the former city of Petersburg, Ga.,on Wednesday, January 23, 2013.
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(Emily Rose Bennett/Staff) Pieces of rusted metal scatter the ground at the site of the lost city of Petersburg, Ga.,on Wednesday, January 23, 2013.
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(Emily Rose Bennett/Staff) Ken Boyd, conservation biologist with the Army Corps of Engineers, inspects a piece of intact brick foundation at the site of the lost city of Petersburg, Ga.,on Wednesday, January 23, 2013. Two centuries ago, Petersburg was Georgia's second-largest city, situated at the confluence of the Savannah and Broad rivers. The post office closed in 1850 when only a few residents remained, and in 1940 the ruins, foundations, and streets were inundated in the 1940s when Clarks Hill Lake was built and the lost town was gone forever.
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(Emily Rose Bennett/Staff) A tree stump and its roots are exposed at the site of the lost city of Petersburg, Ga.,on Wednesday, January 23, 2013.
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(Emily Rose Bennett/Staff) A tree stump and its roots are exposed at the site of the lost city of Petersburg, Ga.,on Wednesday, January 23, 2013. Two centuries ago, Petersburg was Georgia's second-largest city, situated at the confluence of the Savannah and Broad rivers.
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(Emily Rose Bennett/Staff) A tree stump and its roots are exposed at the site of the lost city of Petersburg, Ga.,on Wednesday, January 23, 2013. Two centuries ago, Petersburg was Georgia's second-largest city, situated at the confluence of the Savannah and Broad rivers.
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(Emily Rose Bennett/Staff) Red bricks litter the site of the former city of Petersburg, Ga.,on Wednesday, January 23, 2013.
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(Emily Rose Bennett/Staff) Dead tree trunks stick out of the water by the site of former city Petersburg, Ga., on Wednesday, January 23, 2013.
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(Emily Rose Bennett/Staff) The skeleton of a fish is exposed at the site of the lost city of Petersburg, Ga.,on Wednesday, January 23, 2013.
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(Emily Rose Bennett/Staff) The site of former city of Petersburg peaks out from low waters on Wednesday, January 23, 2013.
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(Emily Rose Bennett/Staff) Ken Boyd, conservation biologist with the Army Corps of Engineers, holds a rusted piece of metal that most likely was part of some machinery at the site of the lost city of Petersburg, Ga.,on Wednesday, January 23, 2013.
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(Emily Rose Bennett/Staff) Ken Boyd, conservation biologist with the Army Corps of Engineers, holds a piece of pottery at the site of the lost city of Petersburg, Ga.,on Wednesday, January 23, 2013.
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(Emily Rose Bennett/Staff) A dead tree trunk is exposed at the site of the lost city of Petersburg, Ga.,on Wednesday, January 23, 2013.
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(Emily Rose Bennett/Staff) Red bricks litter the site of the former city of Petersburg, Ga.,on Wednesday, January 23, 2013.
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(Emily Rose Bennett/Staff) Ken Boyd, conservation biologist with the Army Corps of Engineers, holds a rusted piece of metal that most likely was part of some machinery at the site of the lost city of Petersburg, Ga.,on Wednesday, January 23, 2013.
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Bricks that once formed foundation walls at the lost city of Petersburg are seen beneath the clear water of Thurmond Lake. The Colonial settlement occupied a prominent peninsula at the confluence of the Savannah and Broad rivers 70 miles upstream from Augusta. When water levels fall, the ruins of the city re-emerge. ROB PAVEY/STAFF
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Petersburg founder Dionysius Oliver's vast holdings included thousands of acres along the Broad and Savannah rivers conveyed through land grants after the Revolutionary War. SPECIAL
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In its heyday from 1790 to around 1820, the city of Petersburg had hundreds of residents, cobblestoned streets, nine stores, schools and doctor's offices and - although briefly - its own newspaper. Today, the only remaining evidence of the once bustling tobacco town are the worn bricks and other artifacts scattered along Thurmond Lake's barren, windswept shoreline. ROB PAVEY/STAFF
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The Colonial town of Petersburg was carefully laid out with 86 half-acre lots, all of which had been sold by 1808, according to historical accounts. The town also had a network of waterfront docks and warehouses that catered to the tobacco trade. SPECIAL
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The ruins of Petersburg are within Bobby Brown State Park in Elbert County, where this historical marker offers visitors more insight into the area's colorful past. SPECIAL/CORPS OF ENGINEERS
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Stinchcomb Methodist Church dates to the Colonial era, and its historic cemetery includes the graves of several Petersburg citizens - including the town's founder, Dionysius Oliver. SPECIAL/CORPS OF ENGINEERS
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Petersburg's prominent residents included William Wyatt Bibb, a physician and namesake of a Georgia county who later became Alabama’s first elected governor. SPECIAL
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Dionysius Oliver, who founded Petersburg and was authorized by the Georgia Legislature to build a tobacco inspection warehouse at the confluence of the Broad and Savannah rivers, died in 1818 and is buried at Stinchcomb Methodist Church in Elbert County. SPECIAL/CORPS OF ENGINEERS
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Revolutionary War soldier Dionysius Oliver, who established the town of Petersburg in 1796 and named it after his birthplace in Virginia, is buried in the cemetery at Stinchcomb Methodist Church in Elbert County. SPECIAL
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This 1880 magazine sketch shows the long, slender "Petersburg boats" that were used to move goods between the city of Petersburg and Augusta. The wooden, shallow-draft vessels were poled through the shoals and could navigate sections of the river off limits to steamboats and larger ships that stopped at Augusta. AUGUSTA CANAL AUTHORITY/SPECIAL
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The Augusta Canal, built in 1845 to harness the power of the Savannah River for the industrial and economic development of Augusta, featured locks that enabled cargo boats to move upstream through Piedmont shoals to access upstate towns including Petersburg. AUGUSTA CANAL AUTHORITY/SPECIAL
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The long, slender wooden vessels poled back and forth along the Savannah River's rocky shoals above Augusta were widely known as "Petersburg boats," after the Colonial town they were originally built to serve. The Augusta Canal tourboats in use today were modeled with the same design. SPECIAL
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In 1795, as Petersburg prospered and grew, map makers gave the Piedmont town equal prominence with Augusta, 70 miles downstream. SPECIAL
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Rusted remnants, such as a cast-iron machine wheel, are scattered along the bottom of Thurmond Lake and become visible when water levels fall. ROB PAVEY/STAFF

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