FEBRUARY 23, 1955
NEW YORK—After my lecture to the American Association of University Women in Oak Ridge, Tenn., on Friday night, Mrs. R. Coin Mason, our hostess, insisted on driving us back to the hotel in Knoxville, though it meant that she had a long drive alone in the middle of the night before reaching her own home. I found her a most delightful and charming person, thoughtful and kind and eager to do everything for our comfort and pleasure. I hope very much I shall have the opportunity some time of seeing her again.
On Saturday morning we started out early with Mr. Gilbert Stewart Jr. to see what we could of Tennessee Valley Authority changes since my last visit. We drove first to Norris, Tenn., to pick up Mr. Paul Evans, director of information for TVA, who was kind enough to accompany us the rest of the day.
Norris, itself, has not changed much. It is still a charming residential area. Many people working in Oak Ridge and even in Knoxville live there.
We revisited the Norris Dam, which was the first of the TVA dams. I was particularly interested in the relief map in the reception room of the headquarters building, which shows the whole development along the Tennessee River.
As we all know, the three chief purposes for creating TVA were to improve navigation, control floods and develop power. In this twenty-first year of its development TVA has done much to improve the lives of the people in the area.
A great many American sightseers visit the area during the year and the number of foreign visitors is astonishing. Engineers from all over the world move in for short or long periods of time.
TVA is not just an achievement that should be studied by our own citizens as an example or pattern of what might be wisely adapted in many other areas of the country; it serves as a demonstration and place of study for countries throughout the world.
I sometimes wonder if the Congress realizes that TVA is perhaps one of our strongest manifestations against communism. Visitors come to see what a democracy has done to improve the opportunities for private enterprise and to make the life of the people through a whole area infinitely better than it was before this development took place.
One has to look at TVA as a whole, or otherwise one does not grasp its full value. The improvement in navigation has meant that shipping by water gradually has gone up, and private enterprise has profited from this. Savings from prevention of destructive floods are very great, but savings in terms of preventing the runoff of top soil and the subsequent loss of productivity in the area are incalculable. This is one of the phases of flood control that has never been carefully enough explained to our people in the light of the future preservation of productivity of the soil.
The development of power, of course, has made enormous installations, such as those at Oak Ridge, possible. Without TVA and the Oak Ridge project we might well have lost World War II.
This development of power not only has brought tremendous changes to industries throughout the area of the eight states sharing in TVA benefits, but even more interesting and impressive is what has happened to farms and homes. With the development at Muscle Shoals of fertilizers along with the demonstration farms that have been established, changes in standards of living are plainly seen even in remote mountain areas.