At its largest, Lake Conestee's water surface covered about 130 acres - the area inside the colored boundaries shown on the four aerial photos. This original lake was created when the current dam at the mill was constructed about 1892. As the City of Greenville grew upstream, sediment from development and industrial discharge gradually began to fill the lake. During World War II, the construction of Donaldson Air Force Base, to the west on Marrow Bone Creek, increased the rate at which the lake was filled by sediment. In the 1950s, construction of I-85 to the north further accelerated the rate of sedimentation.
Before 1943, sedimentation occurred mainly where the Reedy River and Marrow Bone Creek entered the lake. Where you now stand (indicated by *) was in the middle of an hourglass shaped lake. By 1955, sedimentation filled up much of the northern half of the lake, and the spot where you are now was just to the west of the banks of the reedy River as it re-emerged from the lake.
In 1970, the main channel of the Reedy still passed just to the east of this spot, but a new channel had already begun to emerge much further to the east against the hills. Sometime between 1970 and the late 1980s, the course of the Reedy River completely shifted to its present location, over 500 feet east of this spot. Virtually the entire northern part of the lake and much of the southern part of the lake became land.
As shown in the 2006 aerial photograph, since the 1980s much of the southern half of the lake has been filled with sediment, which has now migrated all the way to the dam. Eventually the remaining portions of the open lake may be filled in with sediment.
All the trees behind you have grown since 1955 as the land emerged from the lake. As indicated by the large dead trees in the wetland in front of you, this area also was once dry land. However, as beavers began constructing their dam, the land became a wetland and the trees died, providing a new habitat for a diversity of wildlife.
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