Norris Dam’s 80th Birthday Public Celebration

We threw a big dam party, and everybody came! Thanks for helping us have such a great time, and celebrating the Norris—the first dam TVA built in service to the people of the Valley.

We welcomed thousands of guests, from the youngest children getting their first glimpse of the dam to TVA retirees who’d worked there for many years. Many had family histories intertwined with the building or operation of the dam; others grew up living and playing on the reservation or reservoir. Here are a few of the nice things people wrote in our guest books:

“I was here 80 years ago for President Roosevelt’s dedication of Norris Dam and I was 8 years old. I'm glad to be back 80 years later for this celebration.”
—J.R. Robinette

“Thank you for allowing us to come visit Norris Dam. This is a great opportunity to teach our children about the history of operations like this. My kids sang Happy Birthday to the dam. Here's to 80 more!”
—The Bivens family

“It has been fantastic! We were worried about our physical limitations, but everyone has been exceptionally kind and helpful....We are so happy we made the effort to get here. Thanks so much!”
—Don and Patsy Lawson

“Thanks to TVA I am able to enjoy Norris Lake, a big part of my growing up. Many years of great times and memories. I live on this lake, and I have not seen anywhere as beautiful as Norris.”
—Gary Gaylor


The Unified Development of the Tennessee River plan stressed TVA was to provide flood control, navigation and electricity for the region. TVAs dams are tangible evidence of its primary mission: improving life in the Tennessee Valley. We’re celebrating the 80th anniversary of the plan with an in-depth look at 32 dams it comprises.

 

“No Flood of Worry”

During World War II, Ernie Pyle described the common man's fight using simple language. But his fame began before the war as he documented the American experiment known as TVA, which was being constructed at Norris Dam. It was, he wrote, "like a dream that has solid stuff in it." Click here to read more about Pyle's take on Norris.

Design for the Public Good

As TVA brought public power to the people, TVA architect Roland Wank worked to put design to work for the people—starting with his visionary plan for Norris Dam, which he considered a kind of modern sculpture. Read more about how his vision shaped Norris and other TVA dams.