Sunken City: Story of Aitch, Pennsylvania
We’ve heard of ghost towns and abandoned cities in horror movies. The thought of walking into a town and seeing no living people in sight can scare anyone to death. Right in our own backyard, there is a story of a sunken town that resides at the bottom of Raystown Lake. Have you ever heard of the city of Aitch, Pennsylvania? This interesting ghost town has a past like you’ve never heard of.
In the early 1800s, after learning that the town was to receive a new post office, five of the richest and most powerful men in the area fought over who got to name it. They could not come to a decision and finally thought it would be fair to take a letter from each of their names and combine it to create a name all on its own. Aitch was born from the names of Anderson, Isenberg, Taylor, Crum and Henderson.
Years later, there were construction plans drawn up to create a dam. The area was well known for its massive amounts of hydro-electric power. Estimated over 5,000 horsepower worth of power were to be harvested from said dam. After an agreement of 60,000 barrels of cement for construction, they soon began to boast that this dam would generate enough electricity to power the entire state of Pennsylvania. Planners were also very excited about the growth of the local economy with the tourism this lake would attract. Building plans for cottages, buildings and other tourist attractions began and so did the plans to move folks from their homes, homes that would soon be covered in millions of gallons of water.
Skeptics retell this story in many different ways, some more gruesome than others. Some claim that there are watery ghosts that live at the bottom of the lake, these being the souls of residents who refused to leave their homes due to the lake being built. Worse stories have been told saying that many more residents had the water dumped without warning, that “the Army Corps of Engineers purposely drowned the people of the town and left them to decompose in the deep, cold waters of Raystown Lake,” as written in an article about the lost town. But the actual plan of action went as follows. Homeowners were asked to leave and were going to be reimbursed for the amount of land they were leaving. They were given ample time to gather their belongings, clear out their businesses and move their motor vehicles.
A Raystown Lake supervisor commented, “The structures in the village of Aitch (like all areas inundated by the construction of Raystown Lake) were either demolished and removed, or relocated. There were no fatalities as a result of the Lake's construction.”
So, what are some of your thoughts? Does this ghost town really still thrive under Raystown? Are spirits lurking at the bottom of the lake? If you’re a skeptic, don’t dive too deep. Just remember to enjoy the lake, while you can! *evil laugh commences*