Dahlonega’s Mysterious Diving Bell
When: 5:30 p.m. Feb. 5
Where: Dahlonega Gold Museum State Historic Site, 1 Public Square, Dahlonega
How much: $3.50-$6
More info: 706-864-2257, www.gastateparks.org/DahlonegaGoldMuseum
In November, Dahlonega welcomed its newest historical attraction: the Chestatee River Diving Bell, a piece of 19th century technology rescued from the river’s depths.
On Feb. 5, visitors can go see the bell at Hancock Park, just off the square at the corner of North Park Street and Warwick Street, then take the short walk over to the Gold Museum to learn more about it.
Author Chris Worick has done extensive historical research on the bell and serves as the Chairman of the Chestatee River Diving Bell Committee. He will be presenting his work at the museum beginning at 5:30 p.m.
The use of underwater diving bells can be dated to antiquity. The idea of placing men in submersible crafts with a limited amount of oxygen for work underwater had many potential applications. Inventor Philologus H. Loud had one purpose in mind: to mine gold.
But Loud’s diving bell led to his financial ruin, and Oct. 18, 1876, the diving bell and its boat were deliberately sunk under mysterious circumstances.
For the next century, the bell remained beneath the murky water of the Chestatee River.
It was a still a curiosity when it was fished out of the river in 1981. After a restoration, it was unveiled in Hancock Park on Nov. 30.