The Dispossession Of The “Back Of Beyond”: TVA’s Fontana Project And The North Shore Communities

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Lance C. Hardin (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site:
Julie Shepherd-Powell

Abstract: In 1941 the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) began construction of Fontana Dam, further dispossessing communities in the vicinity of the recently- created Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Despite initial misgivings local leaders came to embrace TVA’s involvement in their area due to expectations regarding job creation, capital spending by the federal government, and tourism revenue; this encouragement of TVA involvement was at the expense of local residents living in the footprint of the dam and its resulting reservoir, including the communities on what became known as the “North Shore,” an area between the reservoir and the existing national park. Although this area was not needed by the TVA, the agency found it more expeditious to dispossess the impacted North Shore families and give their land to the national park rather than rebuild their flooded access road. TVA ignored its own policies of minimizing fee simple acquisitions through its powers of eminent domain. A group of six landowners pursued a legal battle with the TVA, winning convincingly twice in federal court before ultimately an unfavorable decision by a Supreme Court stacked with appointees of President Franklin Roosevelt. TVA’s published statistics on population relocation distorted the actual impact on North Shore landowners.

Additional Information

Hardin, L. (2020). The Dispossession Of The “Back Of Beyond”: TVA’s Fontana Project And The North Shore Communities. Unpublished Master’s Thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2020
North Shore Hazel Creek, Fontana Dam, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Population Readjustment, Tennessee Valley Authority

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