“It’s Easier to Pick a Tourist Than It Is a Bale of Cotton”: The Rise of Recreation on the Great Lakes of the South

Local fishing guide Earl Keayhey (left) and Miller Adams of Chicago (right) at Watts Bar Resort Village, Watts Bar Lake, Tennessee, April 1953, Image ID 16996, Dept. of Conservation Photograph Collection, Fishing series, courtesy of the Tennessee State Library and Archives.

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“It’s Easier to Pick a Tourist Than It Is a Bale of Cotton”: The Rise of Recreation on the Great Lakes of the South

by Ian Draves
Southern Cultures, Vol. 20, No. 3: Southern Waters

"In May 1933, the United States government enacted legislation establishing the Tennessee Valley Authority. Within several decades, the TVA's construction of dams in pursuit of its goals transformed a millennia-old network of free-flowing rivers into a chain of slow-moving reservoirs creating a new landscape or, more properly, a new lakescape."

In May 1933, the United States government enacted legislation establishing the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA ). The TVA Act charged the new federal agency with multiple responsibilities throughout the Tennessee River watershed, a region spread across Tennessee, western North Carolina, northern Georgia and Alabama, southern Kentucky, southwestern Virginia, and a small part of northeastern Mississippi. Within several decades, the TVA’s construction of dams in pursuit of its goals transformed a millennia-old network of free-flowing rivers into a chain of slow-moving reservoirs creating a new landscape or, more properly, a new lakescape.