NAME: Willow Grove
CLIMATE: Cool Winters, Warm Summers
COMMENTS: Only tourists and boaters enjoying Dale Hollow Lake. Known as 'the town that drowned'.
REMAINS: Under Water
About 13 miles north of this close-knit town construction for the Wolf Creek Dam began in 1942. The project was completed in 1943, the year this town drowned. Some seventy-four families lived in the town's 441.54 acreage area and more in the area outside the town. Willow Grove was a town nestled in the Obey River valley and on the eastern side of Iron's Creek. It was located thirteen miles from Celina, the county seat. Willow Grove was said to have gotten its name from a grove of willow trees, which surrounded a spring. Willow Grove was founded as a settlement by five families from New York. Four of the five families were the Edward Irons family, the Hill family, the Barber family, and the Sprowl family. They bought their land from the Cherokee Indians. The Cherokees were a very peaceable tribe. The chief of the tribe was Knettle Carrier, son of Chief Obed and brother of Chief Doublehead. There is no specific record of when this land was bought, but it was before 1785. Willow Grove was a town with a proud history just like any other small town. It had its own school system, churches, stores and small businesses, service stations, and a post office. There is no record of the first school in the area. Cordell Hull, Secretary of State under President Roosevelt, is said to have attended school there before moving on to Celina. The people of Willow Grove were not for the dam and lake. They held town meetings to discuss the building of the dam. The people could not get any action taken against the project. They did not know how to fight the government, and the government was determined to build the dam. As time went on, the people realized the dam was going to be built. They had to prepare to move their belongings, their families, and even their cemeteries to new locations. Most of the people moved several of their belongings by truck and drove their cattle and livestock in herds. The hardest thing for the people was digging up the graves from all the cemeteries. They moved most of the graves to St. John's Cemetery and Fellowship Cemetery. If they could not find anything under the grave markers, they would take a bit of dirt and rebury it at one of the other cemeteries. On July 18, 1942, the people of Willow Grove met as a whole for the last time on the school grounds. Dr. Clark gave his heart touching farewell speech to the community. I found my information at the following website where there is a lot more history on this town: http://www.lrn.usace.army.mil/history/dale_hollow.htm Submitted by: Ginger Miller