Marion County Sheriff's Deputy Dave Zahn found remnants of Old Detroit while the lake was at low levels due to drought.

Marion County Sheriff’s Deputy Dave Zahn found remnants of Old Detroit while the lake was at low levels due to drought.

Courtesy of Dave Zahn/Statesman Journal

Heavy rainfall is washing away memories of the summer’s drought but not a surprising historical discovery made at Detroit Lake when it was at its lowest level in 46 years.

Marion County Sheriff’s Deputy Dave Zahn is one of a few people this fall who spotted a 19th-century utility wagon lying lakeside in the mud when the reservoir drained to 143 feet below capacity. He’d expected to see remnants of Old Detroit — the 200-person town abandoned and flooded when the dam was finished in 1953 — but nothing like what he actually found.

“I went on a treasure hunt down along the river, figuring I’d find foundations or something like that,” Zahn said. “Then I saw a piece of old history right there.”

With the wagon, he also found a cement-lined octagonal pit that no one’s been able to identify.

To read more, visit the Statesman Journal.