Dale Hollow Lake always seems to grab my attention. Whether it's a skiing dog in sunglasses, a bobcat sighting, or a new gorgeous vacation home along the shore, I love the lake.

Today, when scrolling through the Dale Hollow Lake Facebook group. I came across some incredible aerial photos that piqued my curiosity.

The photos showed a structure at the bottom of the lake with a status that read, Willow Grove School. What in the world was this? An old school underwater? Why? What was the story of Willow Grove and why was it under Dale Hollow Lake?

The answer is one of legend and necessity. First, let's start with the legend of the school and what lies beneath its front stairs.

The legend of Eddie Irons and Willow Grove School

Explorer YouTube channel, Diggin with Seven explains the legend of Eddie Irons like this,

One of the most interesting aspects of the Willow Grove School is that Eddie Irons was poured into the front steps of the front porch of the school. Lake historian Darren Shell tells the story of young Eddie’s death and burial, then how he was accidentally dug up more than once, and eventually poured into the steps of the school. The Corps of Engineers attempted to free Eddie from the front porch of the school prior to flooding the town of Willow Grove, but the dynamite slightly damaged the concrete of his now watery tomb. As a result, Eddie Irons remains entombed in the concrete of what remains of the school’s front porch.

According to lakecumberlandboaters.com,

The young man died tragically at the age of 18 after hitting his head on a limb of a walnut tree while riding horseback. He was buried on top of a shale hill where his casket was discovered in 1936 when the Willow Grove High school was built on the site...After its discovery, it was put back where it had been found, and cement steps for the high school were placed on top of the burial site.

Why is Willow Grove School underwater?

WKRN, out of Clay County, TN, says that the Dale Hollow Dam and Reservoir were completed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1943. During the creation of the reservoir, the town of Willow Grove, including the Willow Grove School, was submerged.

From the sky, an ariel view can usually see a faint outline of the school. Recently, because of low water levels, the submerged school was seen more clearly than it has in years.

Take a look.

Shane Pendergrass/Facebook/YouTube
Shane Pendergrass/Facebook/YouTube
Shane Pendergrass/Facebook/YouTube
Shane Pendergrass/Facebook/YouTube

Here is the video Shane took of the underwater school.

This video takes you down into the lake for an up-close view of the submerged school.

The history of the city that drowned, Willow Grove, TN.

Thank you to Shane Pendergrass for the use of his incredible aerial photos.

See more from Dale Hollow Lake.

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