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TVA's Norris Dam Celebrates 80 Years With Public Party


  TVA's Norris Dam means different things to different people. Not unlike a puzzle cube, the dam's meaning and legacy change as different sides come into view. The dam was the Tennessee Valley Authority's first major project, launched within months of the agency's creation in 1933.

Norris brought electricity to an impoverished region, served as a model for the Tennessee State Park system and helped establish flood control along the Clinch River and, further downstream, the Tennessee River itself. But its construction also drowned a valley, displacing nearly 2,900 families and flooding an area nearly 34,000 acres in measure.

On July 29 and 30, the TVA throws Norris Dam an 80th birthday bash. The public will be allowed inside the dam for the first time in years. TVA historian Pat Ezzell speaks with WUOT All Things Considered host Brandon Hollingsworth about the dam's effects and its namesake, Nebraska Senator and TVA supporter George Norris.

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