Dahlonega (Courtesy: Jewel Hazelton)
DAHLONEGA, Ga. -- (AP) - The mysterious iron contraption jutted above the surface of a north Georgia river for decades, as children swam around it and historians wondered about its past.
Now, more than 125 years after gold explorers placed the underwater capsule in the Chestatee River murk, townspeople in Dahlonega are about to put the ancient relic on display.
The "diving bell," which allowed gold miners to explore the river bed from its underwater capsule, is set to be unveiled Friday in a park not far from Dahlonega's town square. Historians see it as a valuable link to the gold mining history of the area, the scene of the first major gold rush in the United States.
Historians believe the 15-foot-tall device is the only known surviving diving bell, or cason, from that era.