The Tennessee Valley Authority is much more than just "a power company." TVA has been proving this for more than 80 years by powering the region's progress and managing the natural resources in its care for the greatest public good.
When President Roosevelt signed the TVA Act in 1933, he made TVA responsible for empowering the region's people, reinvigorating its economy and protecting its natural resources and his plan began right here—at Wilson Dam.
At the first dam to become part of the TVA system, Wilson Dam was the starting point for the Unified Development Plan for the Tennessee River—a plan that would improve commerce, agriculture and river navigation in the Tennessee Valley and bring hope to people throughout the region during incredibly trying times.
A Valley of Hardships
In the early years of the 20th century, life in the Tennessee Valley was full of adversity. Although the Great Depression was still years away, people in the Tennessee Valley already faced high unemployment, financial strife and other extreme difficulties.
The punishing Tennessee River continually flooded homes, farms and entire towns throughout the region—stripping the land of fertile soil. Primitive farming practices made crop production even more difficult. Diseases,
such as malaria, hookworm, small pox and typhoid fever, ravaged families. And the widespread lack of electricity made even the most routine daily task difficult.
In North Alabama, the story was much the same—and made worse by the notoriously treacherous Muscle Shoals, which impeded navigation and commerce along the river.
That is, until Wilson Dam provided the spark that would help show the people of the Tennessee valley a new way forward.