By Harvey H. Jackson

This can be the tale of the human attempt that went into finishing the most advanced feats of engineering in Alabama heritage, the construction of 4 significant hydroelectric dams by way of the Alabama energy corporation.  Between 1910 and 1930 the Alabama strength corporation equipped 4 significant hydroelectric tasks: Lay Dam (1914), Mitchell Dam (1923), and Jordan Dam (1929) at the Coosa River and Martin Dam (1926) at the Tallapoosa River. whilst the generators begun spinning and electrical energy started to move from the ability homes to farms, cities, and towns, Alabama moved from the nineteenth into the 20 th century.Constructed in distant components of the country, the dams have been certain tasks, but all of them had components in universal. the corporate needed to construct transportation networks to get males and fabric to the websites. employees, expert and unskilled, black and white, have been recruited, introduced in, housed, and fed. whilst better halves and youngsters joined the lads, employee camps turned cities, with faculties, church buildings, clinical clinics, and leisure amenities. those cities have been without delay a mirrored image in their culture--and a glance right into a destiny that electrical energy might make possible.Putting "Loafing Streams" to paintings is the tale of lifestyles within the cities and at the jobs. This tale may help us greater comprehend the impression of Alabama Power's early actions and the way Alabamians spoke back to the forces of industrialization.  

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Extra resources for Putting ''loafing streams'' to work: the building of Lay, Mitchell, Martin, and Jordan Dams, 1910-1929

Example text

At the time, and for some time to come, these dams were the largest, most complex, and most expensive construction projects in the history of the state. But they were more than that. The dams were a turning point. When their turbines began spinning and electricity began to flow from the powerhouses to farms, towns, and cities, Alabama moved from the nineteenth into the twentieth century. The state and its people would never be the same again. The origins of the Alabama Power Company have become part of Alabama folklore.

Therefore, it is hard to say just when Lay appeared at the Bates home, but it all seems to have taken place some months before Lay turned the Alabama Power Company over to Martin and Mitchell. What we do know is that with this change of command, the project got under way in earnest. Back in the spring of 1911, some men who were interested in "investing in Chilton County" went out to look at the work Lay had started earlier and came away unimpressed with the project and the progress. 6 With Congress's 1914 deadline facing them, James Mitchell and Thomas Martin moved quickly.

Jacksonville State University and my colleagues in the history department also helped. The university, and especially Dean Earl Wade, allowed me to rearrange my schedule so I could have blocks of free time to complete this project. Ted Childress, Phil Koerper, Suzanne Marshall, Buddy Hollis, and Ron Caldwell, each in their turn, took up department head duties when I was away. Linda Cain of the Houston Cole Library helped me identify sources. Audrey Smelley and Reginna Horne gave the manuscript a critical reading and offered suggestions.

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