Sunken Villages / Louis Helbig

Louis Helbig CNR-and-Highway-No2

Aerial views of sunken highways and industrial structures, taken along the artificially engineered St. Lawrence Seaway -a borderland hydrological project in the international margin between Canada and the United States- part of the project Sunken Villages by Canadian photographer Louis Helbig.

Louis Helbig Kings-Highway

Louis Helbig Campbell-Property-Detail

Louis Helbig Asphalt-and-Ripples

As Helbig explains on his well organized website:
July 1, 1958, is remembered as Inundation Day in the region near Cornwall, Ontario. At 08:00 a controlled explosion tore open a cofferdam and four days later an area that had been home to 7,500 people disappeared under the waves of Lake St. Lawrence, part of the newly created St. Lawrence Seaway.
On the Canadian side, twelve communities, some dating back to the 1700s, were affected. Following the old King’s Highway No. 2, upstream: Maple Grove, Mille Roches, Moulinette, Sheeks Island, Wales, Dickinson’s Landing, Farran’s Point and Aultsville were entirely destroyed; Iroquis was demolished and moved a mile to continue on in name; and, about half of Morrisburg–including its waterfront and most of its business district and main street–were levelled.
(..) On both sides, large rural tracts and property, farms, cottages, and entire islands were flooded. Sacred sites were obliterated and the historic battlefield of Crysler’s farm–where in November 1813 Redcoats, local militia and Mohawk warriors staved off a larger American force intent on sacking Montreal—disappeared.
With the communities went their infrastructure. Some buildings were moved and some graves exhumed. Roads, railways, and bridges were left to be buried along with the previous system of locks and canals. All else was levelled, razed to the foundations, cut to the stumps, burned and bulldozed.

For more context and history, including interviews with local residents pushed out by the rising waters, click through to the Sunken Villages website

read more @  bldgblog

WWT’s previous posts on transformed landscapes by:

David Maisel + Edward Burtynsk + Pétur Thomsen


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