Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Confluence of the Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers

This early photograph, taken before construction began on the Jim Woodruff Dam during the late 1940s, shows the confluence or "forks" of the Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers as it appeared before the completion of Lake Seminole.
This was an important intersection on one of the most significant early "super highways" in the United States.
The Chattahoochee, Flint and Apalachicola Rivers provided water access to the modern states of Florida, Alabama and Georgia. Used by Native Americans as well as early Spanish and English explorers, the "Tri-Rivers System" was vital to the history of Gadsden County and tens of thousands of square miles of adjoining country.
This view shows four counties and two states. The left bank of the river is Jackson County, Florida. The point of land visible in the distance between the mouths of the Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers is Seminole County, Georgia. The right bank includes a small section of Decatur County, Georgia, and Gadsden County, Florida.
The earliest descriptions of the confluence appear in the records of Spanish missionaries and soldiers. Bishop Gabriel Diaz Vara Calderon visited this point in 1675. Although he did not mention the Flint, he described both the Apalachicola and Chattahoochee Rivers as a single stream - the "Apalachicoli." He officiated at the dedication of a mission called La Encarnacion a la Santa Cruz de Sabacola on the point of land formed by the Chattahoochee (flowing in from the left) and Flint (flowing in from the right).
The area was also described in Spanish reports and journals dating from 1677, 1686 and 1693. In 1716, Lieutenant Diego Pena traveled to the confluence from St. Augustine and visited a village of Apalachicoli (Lower Creek) Indians living on the former site of the Sabacola mission. He described the combined Apalachicola/Chattahoochee Rivers as the Apalachicola and the Flint as the "Pedernales."
If you are interested in learning more, please consider purchasing a copy of The Early History of Gadsden County. The book is available in both paperback and hardcover and profits benefit the West Gadsden Historical Society. For more information, please visit

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