TVA Heritage tells the story of the agency through the people and events that have shaped its history. It's a story of vision, conflict, and personal and political strugglein short, all the typical elements of any great human endeavor.
When the TVA Act was amended in 1959, a 25-year political struggle over the agency and its operations was essentially resolved and TVA was established as a stable, self-sufficient provider of power for the public good.
In the 1920s, Senator George Norris and automaker Henry Ford tangled over public ownership of Wilson Dam in Alabama. The upshot was the nation's first great experiment in regional public powerTVA.
The seeds of the TVA idea were sown long before Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the agency into existence. Many of them were planted by Gifford Pinchot, who advocated a unified approach to the complex task of resource management.
Boyish in appearance but hardheaded and knowledgeable, David Lilienthal built the TVA power system according to one guiding principle: affordable power for everyone in the Tennessee Valley.
In a poetic 1933 article for Fortune magazine, author James Agee introduced TVA to the world at large.
A Canadian transplanted to the American South, Director Harcourt Morgan had ties to the land that anchored TVA in the Tennessee Valleys people and culture.
Politically, TVA was one of the strangest hybrids in the alphabet soup of New Deal agencies. But FDRs experiment in public power has stood the test of time.
When a local newsman visited TVAs Knoxville headquarters in 1933, the curtain had just gone up on the TVA story. What he didnt know was that this was the opening of a long-running hit.
Arthur E. Morgans farsighted vision and exacting discipline built a system of dams and social management that changed the lives of millions of Valley residents. But what he couldnt manage was human nature.
In the 1930s, TVA turned selected farmers into instant experts on erosion control and asked them to pass the idea along to their neighbors. Before long, Valley agriculture was on the road to recovery.
In the 1920s and ’30s, much of the soil in the Tennessee Valley was worn out to the point of worthlessness. Potent fertilizers developed by TVA helped bring the land back to life.
When TVA set up shop in the 1930s, smallpox and typhoid were still claiming victims in the Tennessee Valley. Twenty years and half a million TVA vaccinations later, they had become rarities.
When Bob Rice and his boys came to town, crowds turned out to hear the stump orators, the country singers, and the good news of TVA electricity that would change their lives.
New urban theorists are hard at work designing the town of the future. But Norris, Tennessee, built by TVA nearly 70 years ago, beat them all to the punch.
TVA regional planner Flash Gray possessed a feisty temperament and the ability to take the long view. His contributions to the agency have enriched the whole Valley.
Spurred by wartime necessity, TVA put up the tallest dam east of the Rockies with record speed. The dam no one could get to eventually became the most visited in the TVA system.
The thought probably never crossed the minds of Axis war planners, but Americas World War II arsenal included a potent secret weapon: TVA.
While the men of the Tennessee Valley fought World War II overseas, the Women Officers of Public Safety helped protect vital TVA facilities here at home.
The cartographers of TVAs Maps and Surveys division were among the most admired mapmakers in the country. And that was before they played an important part in winning World War II.
The style of TVAs dams has had an undeniable influence on modern architecture. But when the world-renowned architect Le Corbusier visited America in 1946, he was most impressed by TVAs transformation of the Tennessee Valley.
Wendell Willkie's spirited opposition to TVA forced the agency to prove its right to exist. His gracious behavior in defeat helped make TVA's existence an accepted fact.
During World War II, Ernie Pyle described the common mans fight in the common mans language. But his fame began before the war, when he set out to explain the American experiment called TVA.
Meet Red Wagner, the Everyman who rose through the ranks to become one of TVA's most influential planners and leaders.
So its not the linchpin of the TVA river system. Ocoee Dam No. 2 and its funky flume were front and center at the Olympics, and that flume is now ensconced on the National Register of Historic Places.
Hardworking, dedicated, and well-informed, Chairman Gordon Clapp broadened TVA’s postwar power base to ensure an unfailing supply of electricity for the people of the Tennessee Valley.
Blunt and outspoken, travel writer John Gunther had a habit of letting the chips fall where they may. His tough talk may even have won him a place on a Nazi hit list. But when it came to TVA, he purred like a kitten.
The TVA Historic Collection houses everything from an antique electric bug zapper to an entire helicopterthe artifacts of 67 years of service to the Tennessee Valley.
In the 1930s TVA was prepared to try anything to get the region back on its feeteven turning Tennessee Valley clay into fine porcelain.
As TVA brought public power to the Tennessee Valley, TVA architect Roland Wank put design to work for the people.
When TVA set out to transform life in the Tennessee Valley, Charles Krutch set out to capture the process on film. The result was high art.
When TVA set out to reclaim the environmentally devastated Copper Basin, the results could be seen from outer space.
When President John F. Kennedy came to Alabama on TVAs 30th birthday, he was met by flag-waving coeds and a grim-faced George Wallace. His purpose was simple: to claim TVA as a forward outpost on Americas New Frontier.
Scorned at the outset as a scheme worthy of Rube Goldberg, TVAs pumped-storage generating plant inside Raccoon Mountain became one of the engineering wonders of the Tennessee Valley.
Whats in a name? When it comes to TVA dams, nothing less than a pocket history of the Tennessee River and the people who settled the Valley
Libraries set up to serve TVA dam builders enriched the lives of countless people in remote communities across the Valley
TVA is so obviously a regional and national treasure that we often forget its global impact. But in 1945, Jean-Paul Sartre, one of the worlds greatest thinkers, came to America for the first time, and he proceeded directly to the study of TVA.
True or not, the real-life folk tale of Erastus R. Lindamood sheds light on TVAs concern for the Valleys most valuable assetits people.
TVAs pavilion at the 1982 Worlds Fair in Knoxville, Tennessee, featured a salty dog, two barges, one floating garden, schools of popcorn-gobbling carpand, eventually, a million visitors.