May 18, 1933 President Franklin
Delano Roosevelt signs bill proposed by U.S. Senator George
Norris of Nebraska to create a regional federal agency to confront
poor economic conditions in the Tennessee Valley. That same
day, TVA acquires Wilson Dam from the War Department.
1936 The first TVA-built hydroelectric dams,
Norris and Wheeler, begin
operations, contributing flood control, navigation, and power
the TVA region.
1939 A three-judge federal court
upholds constitutionality of the TVA Act in the “18 Company
utility companies with interests in the Tennessee Valley.
Also, TVA begins building its first
coal-fired steam plant, Watts Bar, to meet increased demand
for electricity anticipated with the coming of World War II.
1941 President Roosevelt asks
Congress to approve funding for Douglas Dam in east Tennessee,
which had been recommended by TVA engineers as the best
choice to meet an urgent need for power for national defense.
Pearl Harbor, the President’s defense program receives
quick approval from Congress. TVA construction forces complete
the dam in only 13 months.
May 1943 Large-scale production
of ammonium nitrate for fertilizer use
and munitions production is started at Muscle Shoals.
1945 Kentucky Reservoir is filled,
opening the Tennessee River to year-round commercial navigation
from Knoxville, Tenn., to Paducah, Ky., and
on to the Mississippi River.
1945-1950 Postwar, new industries
are attracted to the region by an abundance of low-cost
power, flood-free sites and navigation. The number
of TVA electricity
customers nearly doubles.
June 1951 TVA and the National Fertilizer Association
sign a memorandum of understanding for the exchange
1955-56 Coal-burning capacity
surpasses hydro, and “the largest of all the world’s
steam plants”—Kingston—is completed.
1959 To enable TVA to meet its power needs without
reliance on congressional appropriations, President
signs a law
amending the TVA Act and authorizing TVA to sell
bonds in public markets to finance its own operations.