"We aren't upset that our town is gone," said self-appointed spokesman Cecil Crookshanks, "We understood the need of the dam and believed our sacrifice would be remembered when they named the dam after our little community, like we were promised."
The community was purchased by the US Army Corps of Engineers for the construction of Summersville Lake in the early 1960s. It does appear they broke more than a promise -- per Wikipedia:
The US Corps of Engineers broke a long-standing tradition in naming what was called the Summersville Project. Tradition holds that the project will be named after the town nearest the site of construction, unless named for a person (such as Hoover Dam). However, the town of Summersville was not the one nearest the dam. The village of Gad (located near the present-day marina) was literally flooded at the opening of the reservoir. After briefly considering the name "Gad Dam," it was instead decided to name the project after the next nearest town – Summersville. [LINK]
Janet Dooley and Fred Stevens grew up in the farming community of Gad, a town that once sat along the Gauley River, off Salmon Run and where the Summersville Lake is now. It was submerged under the new lake when the Summersville Dam was constructed in the early 1960s. They each remember the town fondly. "It was fun. It was a good, clean life; hard work and plenty of food, and a good family," said Dooley, who now lives in Summersville.
Dooley also recalled the Gad town store, where she used to work. "They didn't sell milk and bread, or soft drinks and ice cream. They had kerosene; you went in another room and got a gallon of kerosene, and they had material and tobacco. I suppose they had Prince Albert tobacco – chewing tobacco and matches," she said. "Mom made all of our own butter, and she made our clothes and lye soap,"
It was a simple way of life, Stevens said. "It was just a low-key life, you left your doors open. You can't do that anymore -- mainly because of all the water."
Cecil Crookshanks agreed with Stevens' description of Gad. "It was neighbors helping neighbors. We all went to church together, we all went to school together, we all grew up together. We became just a very tight-knit community. That kinship that was lost when Gad was destroyed and families were forced to move away. They tried to erase all of that when they refused to name the dam after us. We demand they either drain the lake and give us our town back -- or keep their promise and change the name of the dam!"
Ken Edwards with the US Army Corps of Engineers is dumbfounded. "We can't go changing names of bridges, lakes and dams willy nilly! This was a decision made by engineers over 40 years ago, but I happen to think they made the right call -- can you imagine what a laughing stock West Virginia would be if we had a dam named, 'Gad Dam'?!"
For more information, contact Ken Edwards at the US Army Corps of Engineers in Looneyville, WV (304) 555-5400.