Building the World

June 12, 2013
by buildingtheworld

Bright Idea – TVA

Did the United States become a society driven by electricity because of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)? Tesla proved water could produce electricity;  the Hoover Dam, followed closely by the Tennessee Valley Authority, supplied it. But it took Norris town to show people how to use this new energy. Designed as housing for the women, men and families who came to the Knoxville area to work on the TVA, Norris was a showcase for electricity. At a time when few homes had wired power, the town offered refrigerators in every kitchen, and overhead lights on the porches of every house (porches were a hallmark of Tennessee life and remain popular today, evidenced by Porch Rocker and Parton songs). Well-lighted public schools invited new environments for learning. Peak/off-peak and low rate/high use policies were another innovation, encouraging development of all things electric. Can Norris and the TVA reveal ways to demonstrate products and power from new energy sources, such as solar? What is the next bright idea?

Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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September 18, 2012
by zoequinn001

The Civilian Conservation Corps

CCC boys constructing a fence, from Library of Congress at

Big Ridge State Park in Tennessee is a 3,687 acre wooded vacation spot with cycling, hiking trails, boating, camp grounds, and historic sites. Its creation (completed in 1937) was a collaboration amongst the Tennessee Valley Authority, the National Parks Service, and the Civilian Conservation Corps. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was one of FDR’s New Deal programs in which young men from around the country were recruited in order to help create what is now the National Trail and Park systems of the United States, as well as help to recover and restore land that had been over farmed. In exchange for their work these young men received a few dollars a month, three square meals, clothing, and housing, which at the time of the Great Depression was quite an appealing way of life. The CCC had far-reaching implications for the United States, not only in the form of the still beloved National Parks, but in the generation it helped to foster and the impact these men had.

To learn more about the CCC and its relevance to today, watch PBS’s “American Experience: The Civilian Conservation Corps”:

Creative Commons License
Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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