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Elkinsville: Washed Away by ProgressElkinsville: Washed Away by Progress (2003)

DVD; approx. 44 minutes
Item #EV02

In southern Indiana, just south of Bloomington and nestled between rolling, forested hills lies the state’s largest inland lake. Lake Monroe contains more than ten thousand acres of water and provides recreation for boaters, hikers, swimmers, and campers. The city of Bloomington and surrounding communities rely on it for a water supply. But underneath the jet skis and fishing boats lie the remains of a town that was washed away by progress.

Elkinsville: Washed Away By Progress is about that lost town. This once peaceful farming community in Brown County was displaced by construction of Lake Monroe in the 1960s.

Through an extensive collection of photos and interviews with former residents, the town of Elkinsville has been brought back to life. The program shows where these residents once lived and worked, and provides a glimpse of Indiana history seen through the eyes of people who can never go home again.

This program recounts the failed efforts by officials to find an adequate water supply for the greater Bloomington area and the circumstances that led the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to construct a dam across Salt Creek, thus creating Lake Monroe. The new lake helped control downstream flooding, provided Bloomington with a reliable water supply, and spurred tourism and economic development in southern Indiana. But it didn't come without a price.

The cost was the entire town of Elkinsville. With their land take away by the power of eminent domain, the residents had no choice but to move on.

Every year an Elkinsville reunion is held to remind people of the town that once was. Though saddened to move, most of the former residents express no bitterness, but rather, fondly remember their old town and enjoy the lake that washed it away.

Produced by WTIU in association with Tabletop Productions.

Production support was provided by the Fourwinds Resort and Marina.