In 1933, the Tennessee valley was reeling from the effects of the Great Depression, the land was over farmed, farm prices were at an all-time low, banks were folding and businesses were laying off workers or closing all together leaving people were starving and homeless.
In May of 1933, Roosevelt signed the Tennessee Valley Authority Act, creating TVA for the purpose of bring energy to the Tennessee Valley, and provide environmental stewardship and economic development in an area that was reeling from the Great Depression. At TVA’s first meeting, the board decided to build Norris Dam and what is now known as the City of Norris to house the workers.
When Norris Dam was completed in 1936, it provided flood control and electric power generation and created Norris Lake which offered recreation opportunities for residents and visitors. At the peak of construction, TVA had nearly 2,800 men at work building the dam and preparing the reservoir area. Norris Dam is one-third of a mile long, 265 feet high, made of a million cubic yards of concrete and cost $30.5 million to build.
The Norris Dam Power Plant has two generators, each with a capacity of approximately 50,400 kw, that transforms the power of falling water into electricity. Each generator is driven by a 66,000 horsepower turbine.
Norris Dam will be turning 80 years old this year. TVA is celebrating on Friday, July 29, 2016 and Saturday, July 30, 2016. Click here for more information.