I ainít angry but Ö
The most useful fact about history is that those who write it seldom lived it. The references Iíve seen to Fairfield, while sincere and reasonably reliable, donít get to the depth of the town, its people, its nuances and its flaws and strengths.
Arguably, Fairfield, Indiana, had no strengths. In truth, the town began to die in 1937 through no fault of its own. That year, devastating floods ravaged the Ohio Valley. The toll in life and property was unfathomable. Fairfield stayed high and dry and its crusty old covered bridge withstood the onslaught. Other bridges along the East Fork of the Whitewater River werenít so fortunate. Downstream inCincinnati, the horror stories of high water are well documented.
Congress went to work and, as part of F. D. Rooseveltís overall program of dragging the nation out of the Great Depression, passed a monumental flood control project. Dams were constructed, creating such bureaucracies as theTennessee Valley Authority
The East Fork of the Whitewater was on the target list. World War II came along, projects were shelved and the flooding was controlled in most places. Then, in the late 50s, more flooding cast a focus on the Whitewater Valley. By the mid-60s, talk of a federal reservoir project grew louder. By 1965, it was all but a certainty.
By the end of 1967, it was a reality. The school was closed and people began to move away.
By 1970, Fairfield went out of business.
I saw the town die, watched it plundered and vandalized, finally burned to the ground, plowed under and inundated. At the time, it made no difference.
A couple of generations have come since Fairfield died. Nobody whoís under the age of 35 will have any memories of the place. That may be just as well. Franklin County is dotted with nondescript towns, all linked together by narrow asphalt roads and iron bridges, all leading to one place:Brookville Lake.
To us, itís Fairfield Lake.
Somebody could have at least afforded us that dignity.