Tri-State Spot in the News: Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama
Image by SeeMidTN.com (aka Brent)
In the United States, there are 62 spots where 3 or more states meet at a single point, 38 of which are on land. Of these 38, perhaps none of them have made as much news over the last several years as the spot where Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama all meet.
In 1796, the U.S. congress established the border between Tennessee and Georgia to run along the longitude of the 35th Parallel. In 1826, Georgia hired Mathematician and University professor James Camak to mark the spot where the three states came together. After he performed all of his calculations, he placed a colorful stone at the site he had measured (and the stone was later dubbed the Camak Stone). As it turns out, he missed it by a mile. While it wasn’t what the Congress decreed, it still became the official border location. If there was a TV show called "Surveyors Biggest Bloopers" perhaps this would make the opening segment.
Fast forward about 180 years and people weren’t laughing any more. The state of Georgia was going through a drought and Atlanta area gardens started to get thirsty. That’s when somebody remembered part of their state had been sliced off. As it turns out, if the Camak Stone had been placed where it ought to have been, a smidgen of the Tennessee River, and more importantly the Nickajack Lake impoundment would be in Georgia. Someone daydreamed of getting a siphon as wide as the Keystone Pipeline and all of Georgia’s water consumption needs would be fixed. All they would need is to stick a pipe about 500 feet across the border and the crisis would be resolved. Georgia asked politely and Tennessee said "No." From there, it is presumed that someone got angry and wanted revenge because the really old Camak Stone was stolen in 2007. We can only assume at the motivation because there’s no evidence whodunit. In March of 2011, the marker seen in this photo was placed to replace the stolen stone from a few years earlier.
Fast forward again to March 25, 2013 where the Georgia state senate voted 48-2 to take what they think is rightfully thiers. Instead of asking for everything south of the 35th, they’re looking to add about one and a half square miles of land, or a small notch to get to the precious life-giving water. Again, Tennessee said they’re not going to let Georgia have this land, while noting it would be unfair for the people who live in this area to have to start paying GA income tax and also speculated the Peach State might steal the whole river when nobody’s looking. Alabama refuses to take a position in the matter, but they already have all the Tennessee River they need.
As it turns out, I hadn’t been paying attention to the news when three days later I was in the mood to visit the tri-state spot. I didn’t see any tanks or infantry ready to defend their territory in the area. To get here, the street turns a corner around State Line Cemetery and there’s a place for a car to park on the side of the road. From here, there’s a small opening in the trees that begins the path through the woods. The walk is about 300 feet up the side of a mountain where I was thankful it wasn’t a mile climb up the mountain. From here, you could even see the lake. I was thinking that if Georgia’s border did change, Alabama’s wouldn’t and this would still be the three state spot, but the marker would still have to be changed. Maybe someday I can have a before-and-after comparison. Still, State Line Cemetery’s name would have to be changed.
JAKARTA/PANGKALAN BUN, Indonesia (Reuters) – Ships searching for the wreck of an AirAsia passenger jet that crashed with 162 people on board have pinpointed two “big objects” on the sea floor, the head of Indonesia’s search and rescue agency said on Saturday.