Midwest drought reveals Indiana ‘ghost towns’

The severe drought scorching much of the nation's Midwest has lowered water levels so drastically that towns that were intentionally submerged decades ago are starting to surface.

The historic drought has dried the Salamonie River in northeast Indiana so much that its receding banks are now revealing the remnants, bricks and foundations of Monument City, Ind., NBC News reports.

The small town of 100 was one of three whose residents were relocated before the Salamonie River was dammed and the municipality submerged in order to build a reservoir in 1965.

[Photos: Drought strikes many states]

"Our school didn't have a gymnasium," Dick Roth, 81, who attended the defunct high school in Monument City said in the piece. "Our gymnasium was outside, which is a cement slab."

Slabs of foundations and red bricks that once walled the homes and buildings of the riverside community are becoming visible and bringing up memories for those who once lived there, like Roth.

Officials of a nearby visitor's center that has a display honoring the once-sunken towns are giving guided tours of the areas, hoping former residents will come and tell more stories and share their oral history, NBC noted.

[Related: Drought diaries, stories from the historic drought]

The drop of water levels in lakes and rivers is a startling example of the toll of the historic drought, which is also hampering the economy in the Midwest.

A recent report says the drought is leveling off in the Midwest. However, it's not much consolation with about 62 percent of the continental U.S. mired in drought conditions. About 24 percent of the U.S. is experiencing extreme or exceptional drought—the two worst classifications.