It’s Official: Norris Dam Is on the National Register of Historic Places

AUGUST 1, 2016—TVA’s Norris Dam has been named to the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP)—just in time for the 80th anniversary of the day the dam began operations. The National Register is the official list of the Nation’s historic places worth of preservation.

Norris is the first TVA-built dam to achieve this honor, which was presented to TVA historian Pat Ezzell by U. S. Representative Chuck Fleischmann (pictured below) at a special dinner held at the dam on Thursday July 28, 2016.

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“My great-grandfather and my family are honored to have this magnificent structure bear his name,” said Dr. David Norris Rath, great-grandson of Sen. Norris. “It is a wonderful tribute to the work he did to bring TVA to the region.”

Local and state elected officials that included Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, and a granddaughter of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, also spoke at the dinner in the dam’s historic powerhouse.

"My grandfather signed the TVA Act to create a major component of the great social experiment that was the New Deal,” said Laura Delano Roosevelt. “Eighty years later, TVA is still successfully fulfilling its multi-faceted mission of energy production and rural electrification, environmental stewardship and economic development. Norris Dam is a magnificent physical reminder of this mission, and of the many ways in which TVA has contributed to a better quality of life for people living in the seven states of the Tennessee Valley."

This year also marks the 80th anniversary of the Unified Plan of the Development of the Tennessee River, the document that outlined how, through its integrated resource management approach, TVA was going to provide flood control, navigation and affordable electricity to the people of the Valley. (Click here to read more about the plan.)

TVA has also submitted the other 24 dams it built as a direct result of the unified plan (see sidebar, right) for inclusion in the NRHP. The dams are located in five states—Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina and Tennessee—and for each one, that State Historic Preservation Officer must review the forms and decide on eligibility. Then, the Keeper of the National Register must make the final decision on whether the property is granted National Register status.

Earlier in July, U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn) and U.S. Rep. John Duncan Jr. (R-Tenn) introduced a Congressional Resolution honoring TVA and Norris Dam for its long and proud history of service to the Tennessee Valley. State Senator Randy McNally sponsored a similar resolution in the Tennessee General Assembly.

Currently, Wheeler and Guntersville dams are being reviewed by the National Register for inclusion. All the other TVA-built dams are in the process of state review.

Most of the dams acquired (not built) by TVA are already listed in the NRHP: Ocoee No. 1 and Ocoee No. 2, Great Falls, and Wilson. Not only is Wilson Dam listed in the Register, it is also a National Historic Landmark—an honor designated by the Secretary of the Interior because of exceptional value in illustrating U.S. heritage.

More Historic TVA Dams

TVA will submit 24 other power-producing dams it built as a direct result of the Unified Development of the Tennessee River System for consideration by the National Register of Historic Places. These are:

• Wheeler Dam
• Pickwick Dam
• Guntersville Dam
• Chickamauga Dam
• Hiwassee Dam
• Watts Bar Dam
• Fort Loudoun Dam
• Fontana Dam
• Kentucky Dam
• Cherokee Dam
• Douglas Dam
• Ocoee Dam No. 3
• Apalachia Dam
• Watauga Dam
• South Holston Dam
• Boone Dam
• Fort Patrick Henry Dam
• Chatuge Dam
• Nottely Dam
• Tims Ford Dam
• Melton Hill Dam
• Nickajack Dam
• Normandy Dam
• Tellico Dam