Nantahala on the route

Motoring through the Mountains - 1930s: Nantahala

Swain County
Altitude: 2,025 feet

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In 1929, the newly formed Nantahala Power and Light Company planned a hydroelectric development on the Nantahala River. As noted in this August 27, 1929, issue of The Ruralite (Sylva, N.C.), the impounded waters of the proposed 175-foot high dam were to be directed through a five-mile long tunnel to a powerhouse at Nantahala, N.C. However, at the end of July 1931 the company halted construction of the Nantahala project as a result of the Great Depression and a resulting lack of need for additional electrical production in the region overall. Not until 1940 did work resume on the Nantahala Development.

Nantahala in the 1890s  |  Nantahala in the 1910s

To the West: Topton


To the East: Hewitt

Return to the Map for the 1930s

Sources & Readings

  • Bishir, Catherine W., Michael T. Southern, and Jennifer F. Martin. A Guide to the Historic Architecture of Western North Carolina. Chapel Hill and London: University of North Carolina Press, 1999.
  • “History of the Nantahala Power and Light Company.” Typescript, Nantahala Power & Light Company manuscript collection, Hunter Library, Western Carolina University.
  • Huddleston, Dale, ed. Swain County, N.C., Centennial, 1871 – 1971: Official Souvenir Centennial History. Waynesville, N.C.: The Mountaineer, [1971].
  • “Power Co. Will Build Nantahala Dam This Fall.” The Ruralite (Sylva, N.C.), August 27, 1929.
  • Swain County Genealogical and Historical Society. The Heritage of Swain County, North Carolina, 1988. Bryson City, N.C.: Swain County Historical and Genealogical Society, 1988.