NOVEMBER 22, 1938
ATLANTA, On Board the President's Train, Monday—Once on the train yesterday afternoon in Washington, various and sundry officials crowded in to say good-bye to the President.
He will not see some of them again for some time, as, for instance, Secretary of State and Mrs. Hull, who will go on a long journey and carry heavy responsibility before we meet again in Washington. To one of his official family the President said:
"You can reach me any time on the telephone."
I could not help smiling when the official answered:
"Yes, I know, but I promise not to do so."
Then the train was off and everybody seemed to relax at once and become conscious of the weariness which they had not noticed under the stress of last minute excitements and preparations.
At 9:30 this morning we got out at Chattanooga, Tenn., to drive to the Chickamauga Dam. In the course of the drive we saw Lookout Mountain with all its historic memories, enjoyed the beautiful views and the fine roads winding up the mountains and along the ridges, and finally we saw Judge Will Cummings' farm.
From the point of view of conservation, this particular part of Tennessee is perhaps one of the most revealing places which I have visited in the country. Here you can see the dam which will improve navigation and over the top of which is built a main highway to add to the ease of communication. This dam is also a potent factor in flood control and will produce a certain amount of electricity. The cheapening of power means much to the people in this area, but that is not the most important thing which is coming to them through TVA work, and Judge Cummings' farm exemplified that.
Here reforestation is going on, but even more important, land rehabilitation is proceeding apace. Besides terracing and treating the soil so that crops have a better chance of resisting periods of drought, he is planting cover crops, raising cattle and sheep—in short, making use not only of all that TVA can do for him, but following the whole farm program and pointing with pride to fields whose top-soil was rapidly being washed away and which are today producing good crops.
I could not help asking if his own intelligent farming was proving an incentive to his neighbors, and he assured me that all the land around there was gradually being brought back to fertility. This means something in increased income to this generation and to the state and nation today, but it means far more than we can calculate to the future generations.
Back on the train again at 12:45, and until we were miles out of Chattanooga, the President was still waving from the window of his car to little groups of people along the railroad tracks. I had thought that the entire countryside had driven down to line the streets of Chattanooga, but we were almost through our lunch before I could stop saying, "Wave to those people over there," pointing to the left or right out of windows of the car.