Friday, October 26, 2012

Knox County Schools That Face an Uncertain Future

Knoxville High School
Current photo of Knoxville High School


Knox County has requested and received proposals from potential developers for Historic High School. Knoxville High was the main high school for the city from 1910 until 1951. The original Knoxville High School building was designed in a classic revival style by Knoxville architectural firm Baumann and Baumann.  The firm designed many public buildings in Knox and surrounding East Tennessee Counties. The building was expanded in both 1914 and 1920 to accommodate increased enrollment.  Knoxville High School is one of the contributing buildings to the Emory Place Historic District.

Rule High School

Rule High School was built in 1927 as an elementary and junior high school. In 1939 a senior class was added. Rule closed in 1991. Rule High School was not maintained and eventually it was leased to Terry Minor. Unfortunately, the the building has continued to deteriorate. Rule High School has some of the best views in the county. 

View from Rule High School

South High School


South High School was designed by local architectural firm, Barber & McMurry and built in 1935-36. It was known as South Knoxville Junior High School when it opened, in 1937. The red brick building with Neoclassical design elements is typical of Barber’s work. He drew from the revival era styles to design both residential and public buildings, and was the primary architect of at least fourteen schools in Knox County prior to 1940.
The school was updated and South High School opened as one of the four schools built to replace Knoxville High School until it closed in 1976. It was not maintained until it was auctioned in 2008 to for 117,000. It is not currently being maintained and is in violation of the city's demolition by neglect policy. Currently the city plans to do some work to maintain the building.

These are just three of the larger schools that face an uncertain future.  There are other schools that are under utilized and lack maintenance.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Norris Dam and the TVA System

Norris Dam was not the first Dam built to provide electricity on the Tennessee River or it's tributaries, so why is it important? Norris Dam was the first major project of the newly created Tennessee Valley Authority. Construction of Norris Dam began in 1933, just a few months after the creation of TVA, and was completed in 1936. When the dam was completed, it provided the largest reservoir on a tributary of the Tennessee River.

The Norris Dam project displaced from 2,9003 to 3,500 families consisting of approximately 14,000 people and required the removal of 5,000 graves. The Norris Dam project was massive it it's scope and in it's impact on the families in the region.

Some photographs by Lewis Wilkes Hine can be seen on this blog, Lewis Wickes Hine, TVA & CCC – Pt 1. Also see Part 2 and be sure to read the first hand account of Virgie Brewer Perry in Part 2 or direct link here: Memories Along Clinch River.

The following dams that are now contolled by the TVA were built before the Norris Dam project. The ones marked with an asterisk are part of the Muscle Shoals area. Muscle Shoals is in Middle Tennessee, but these dams are included because of their impact of the creation on the Tennessee Valley Authority. This list is not meant to be a study of the dam projects, but is simply a list from Wickipedia that has been put in chronilogical order.

Ocoee Dam No. 1 (1911)

Ocoee Dam Number 1 is a hydroelectric dam on the Ocoee River in Polk County in the U.S. state of Tennessee. The dam impounds the 1,930-acre (780 ha) Parksville Reservoir (often called Ocoee Lake), and is the farthest downstream of four dams on the Toccoa/Ocoee River owned and operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority. Completed in 1911, Ocoee No. 1 was one of the first hydroelectric projects in Tennessee and remains the oldest dam in the TVA system.[1][2]

Wilbur Dam (1912)

Wilbur Dam is a hydroelectric dam on the Watauga River in Carter County, in the U.S. state of Tennessee. It is one of two dams on the river owned and operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority. The dam impounds Wilbur Lake, which extends for about 3 miles (4.8 km) up the Watauga to the base of Watauga Dam.[1] Completed in 1912, Wilbur Dam was one of the first major hydroelectric projects in Tennessee, and remains one of the oldest dams in the TVA system (only Ocoee Dam No. 1 is older).[2]
Wilbur Dam is a concrete gravity overflow dam 77 feet (23 m) high and 375 feet (114 m) long, and has a generating capacity of 10,700 kilowatts.[3][4] The dam's spillway has four radial gates with a combined discharge of 34,000 cubic feet per second (960 m3/s).[2] The dam is located at just over 34 miles (55 km) above the mouth of the Watauga, a few miles upstream from Elizabethton, Tennessee.
In 1907, the Doe River Light & Power Company began purchasing land rights for construction of Wilbur Dam, although the company struggled with finances and sold the project to the Watauga Power Company in 1910. Watauga Power completed the dam in just two years, and found a ready market for the dam's electricity at nearby Elizabethton. In 1927, the dam was purchased by the Tennessee Central Service Company, which changed its name to East Tennessee Light & Power Company two years later. The flood of August 1940 overtopped the dam and destroyed its powerhouse, and five years later, East Tennessee Light & Power sold its assets, including Wilbur Dam, to the Tennessee Valley Authority.[1]
Wilbur Dam was originally equipped with a flashboard-controlled spillway (similar to nearby Nolichucky Dam). In 1947, TVA outfitted the dam with a new gate-controlled spillway and raised it 5 feet (1.5 m) to accommodate the tailwaters of Watauga Dam, which was then nearing completion.[4]

Ocoee Dam No. 2 (1913)

Ocoee Dam Number 2 is a hydroelectric dam on the Ocoee River in Polk County in the U.S. state of Tennessee. The dam impounds the Ocoee No. 2 Reservoir and is one of four dams on the Toccoa/Ocoee River owned and operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority. Ocoee Dam No. 2— which was completed in 1913— is perhaps most notable for its design, which utilizes a wooden flume that carries water from the reservoir down the side of the Ocoee Gorge to the dam's powerhouse 5 miles (8.0 km) downstream. Ocoee No. 2 is also situated at the center of one of the nation's top whitewater rafting locations, and the dam's releases help to maintain consistent rapids on the river during warmer months.[1]

Nolachucky Dam (1912-1913)

Nolichucky Dam was built by the Tennessee Eastern Electric Company (TEEC) in 1912-1913 for hydroelectricity generation.[4] The dam was initially equipped with two generators, and TEEC added two more in 1923.[3] In 1941, the East Tennessee Light & Power Company obtained ownership of the dam when it purchased TEEC's assets.[5] The Tennessee Valley Authority purchased East Tennessee Light & Power in 1945 for a lump sum that included $1.47 million for Nolichucky Dam. TVA made various improvements, and at its height, the dam was capable of producing 10,640 kilowatts of electricity.[3] TVA used the dam for power generation until 1972, when sediment buildup in Davy Crockett Lake made continued electricity generation impractical.[2] The dam and reservoir are now used for flood control and recreation;[1] the reservoir is a wildlife management area.[2]

Cheoah Dam (1916)

The Cheoah project began in 1916 as a construction camp at the Narrows where the Little Tennessee River flowed through a narrow gorge, and was completed in 1919. the first of several constructed by the Tallassee Power Company, now Tapoco.

Wilson Dam (1918-1924)*

Construction on Wilson Dam began in 1918 and was completed in 1924 under supervision of Hugh L. Cooper.[5] The Wilson Dam actually predates the TVA, but was later placed under the authority of the TVA. The dam is 137 feet (42 m) high and stretches 4,541 feet (1,384 m) across the Tennessee River.[5] The cost to build the dam was almost $47 million.[6]

Santeetlah Dam (1925-1928)

Santeetlah Dam is a hydroelectric development on the Cheoah River (river mile 9) in Graham County, North Carolina. The dam together with a pipeline/tunnel facility, and a powerhouse form the Santeetlah Development. The Santeetlah powerhouse is located on the left bank of the Cheoah Reservoir portion of the Little Tennessee River five miles (8 km) upstream of the Cheoah Dam.Santeetlah powerhouse on the Cheoah Reservoir.  The Santeetlah Project, which began in 1925, was completed in 1928 by the Tallassee Power Company (now Tapoco).

Blue Ridge Dam (1925-1931)
Blue Ridge Dam was built by the Toccoa Electric Power Company, a subsidiary of the Tennessee Electric Power Company (TEPCO), which operated several hydroelectric plants in nearby Tennessee, including Ocoee Dam No. 1 and Ocoee Dam No. 2. Construction began in 1925, and the dam went into operation July 1, 1931. At the time of its completion, the dam had a generating capacity of 20 megawatts and was the most modern power dam in the TEPCO system, requiring a staff of just six employees.[4][5] Subsequent upgrades have increased the dams generating capacity to 22 megawatts.[5]
With the passage of the TVA Act in 1933, the Tennessee Valley Authority was given oversight of the Tennessee River watershed (which included the Toccoa River). TEPCO challenged the constitutionality of the TVA Act in federal court, but the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the law in 1939, and TEPCO was forced to sell its assets to TVA for $78 million in August of that year.[6] This sum included $5 million for Blue Ridge Dam.[1]
Soon after the dam began operations in 1931, its penstock partially collapsed. To prevent this from happening again, TVA has severely lowered the water level in the reservoir when it conducts periodic dam inspections (approximately once every five years), which require dewatering of the penstock. A project was initiated in 2010 to repair the penstock, stabilize the intake tower base, and repair and stabilize the upstream and downstream faces of the dam, thus eliminating the future need for severe reservoir drawdowns.[5]

Calderwood Dam (1930)
Photo by Brian Stansberry

Calderwood Dam is a hydroelectric dam located along the Little Tennessee River in Blount and Monroe counties, in the U. S. state of Tennessee. Completed in 1930, the dam is owned and maintained by Tapoco, a subsidiary of the Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa), although the Tennessee Valley Authority controls the dam's reservoir levels from Fontana Dam further upstream.[1] Calderwood Dam is named for Alcoa engineer Isaac Glidden Calderwood (1871–1941), who supervised much of the company's early Little Tennessee River operations.[2] In 1989, Calderwood Dam was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The listing was expanded in 1990 and again in 2004 to include most of the dam's substructures.[3]

Norris Dam (1933)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Arnwine Cabin Part 2

"In the summer of 1933, amid the agony of a national depression, the Tennessee Valley Authority began to acquire land in the rocky, sloping meadows of upper East Tennessee. Its purpose was to create a storage reservoir and hydroelectric facility at the confluence of the Clinch and Powell rivers, the northeastern tributaries of the Tennessee. Thus the federal agency began a course of action which transformed thousands of human lives and effected multitudinous environmental and economic changes, the repercussions of which are still being felt today." (McDonald and Muldowny p.3)

This quote from Michael J. McDonald and John Muldowny's book, TVA and the Dispossessed, describes the conditions that set the stage for the little Arnwine cabin to be moved from the shores of the Clinch River in Grainger County and eventually be placed in John Rice Irwin's Museum of Appalachia.

When Dave Tabler mentioned that he was going to the Museum Of Appalachia's Fall Homecoming, I told him to be sure to see the Arnwine Cabin. This tiny one room log cabin is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is a little piece of history and it belonged to my family. I was sure that he would not want to miss it. So, when Dave asked me to write about the history of the Arnwine Cabin, I thought it would be an easy task. After all, I had been to the cabin several times, I knew a bit about it, I had some records and the recollection of the stories that my Grandmother told me. Easy peasy, right?

First, I wanted to go back to the museum because all the pictures were of the side door or of a new door that was added to the cabin. So, on Friday, my daughter, my granddaughter and I drove up to the museum. I had to climb back in the weeds next to the fence to get a picture of the front of the cabin. I should have taken this as a hint that this was not going to be as easy as I had thought, but in for a penny, in for a pound. After all, it was a beautiful Fall day in East Tennessee and I was having a great time with my daughter and granddaughter.

I had already obtained a copy of the application for placement on the National Register of Historic Places. They date the cabin from the late 1700's to the early 1800's. The builder of the cabin is listed as old Wes Arnwine. Now, the problem is that are are no records of a Wes Arnwine who could have built the cabin during this time period, so who actually built this cabin?

Since I know who lived in the cabin last- Aunt Lisa Jane and Polly Ann Arnwine. I am tracing their family back to learn who could have built the cabin.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Arnwine Cabin Part 1

Arnwine Cabin at the Museum of Appalachia

My family wasn't much for for telling family stories, but one summer I spent a lot of time with my Grandmother. On the warm Summer evenings we would sit up late into the night.  I would rock my daughter to sleep in the gentle breezes coming from Cherokee Lake and sometimes she would share a story. I knew that the Arnwine family was related to my Grandmother, so when John Rice Irwin had the Arnwine Cabin placed on the National Register of Historic Places, I wanted to know about this family. My Grandmother's Grandmother was Sarah Arnwine. Sarah was the sister of Elisa Jane and Polly Ann Arnwine, the last two members of the Arnwine family to live in this tiny cabin. Sarah, Elisa Jane and Polly Ann were born just around the time of the Civil War to William Arnwine and Mary Dyer. It is possible that William built the cabin, but it is more likely that is was built by his father or or his Grandfather.

Although the cabin in now in Anderson County, it was built near the banks of the the Clinch River in Grainger County. The Arnwine families lived near Arnwine Cemetary(sic) Road at a place known as Arnwine Ford. ( 36 22 05, -83 35 36). When the Daniel Arnwine first came to the area the fords or shallow places  were used as a safer place to cross the river. Claiborne County is on the North side of the river.