Poster Title

Preliminary Plans for Land Between the Lakes: The Early Sources of Later Controversy

Institution

Murray State University

Abstract

The development of Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area between the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers came to be associated with controversy and tenacious resistance to the project on the part of residents of that area. However, this was not always the case. In the early years, there was considerable support for the project from a host of local residents, business leaders, and public officials. They were united in their belief that Land Between the Lakes would be a tremendous opportunity for the area, bringing in millions of dollars in added revenue for an area that was traditionally very poor. In fact, there was such enthusiasm for the project that control of development was turned over to the Tennessee Valley Authority in order that the project be undertaken with greater speed. Despite the enthusiasm that surrounded the planning stages of the project, this paper will show that there were discreet signs of the discontent that was to come. Actions taken and other actions that were deliberately not taken by the Tennessee Valley Authority led residents of the area to believe very strongly that TVA was trying to cheat them out of what was theirs. Why was there such a wide disparity between the intentions of the Tennessee Valley Authority regarding development and what residents understood their intentions to be? To answer the question, this paper will examine the early attention given to the project in local and national newspapers, government documents, and TVA press releases.

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Preliminary Plans for Land Between the Lakes: The Early Sources of Later Controversy

The development of Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area between the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers came to be associated with controversy and tenacious resistance to the project on the part of residents of that area. However, this was not always the case. In the early years, there was considerable support for the project from a host of local residents, business leaders, and public officials. They were united in their belief that Land Between the Lakes would be a tremendous opportunity for the area, bringing in millions of dollars in added revenue for an area that was traditionally very poor. In fact, there was such enthusiasm for the project that control of development was turned over to the Tennessee Valley Authority in order that the project be undertaken with greater speed. Despite the enthusiasm that surrounded the planning stages of the project, this paper will show that there were discreet signs of the discontent that was to come. Actions taken and other actions that were deliberately not taken by the Tennessee Valley Authority led residents of the area to believe very strongly that TVA was trying to cheat them out of what was theirs. Why was there such a wide disparity between the intentions of the Tennessee Valley Authority regarding development and what residents understood their intentions to be? To answer the question, this paper will examine the early attention given to the project in local and national newspapers, government documents, and TVA press releases.