Watts in the Mountains:

After the state of North Carolina issued a charter for NP&L in July 1929, the company grew rapidly. NP&L acquired many of the existing, small hydro-electric power systems in the area during the initial phase of consolidation. Most of these acquisitions resulted in a reduction to the cost of electricity.

During his twenty-one years as NP&L president John Edward Stirling Thorpe's vision and ability led to the development of the area's water resources. New facilities constructed during World War II and the Korean War included The Cedar Cliff and Tennessee Creek Developments. These projects consisted of a series of dams and powerhouses along the East Fork of the Tuckasegee River.

The construction and maintenance of facilities brought up the issue of safety during this time of rapid growth. The company addressed worker safety by issuing procedures and competing in regional safety competitions.

In 1965 the combination of growth and new technology made it feasible to increase distribution. The conversion of systems led to a collateral objective to improve the appearance of facilities. The modernization of facilities continued to be a high priority of the company through the next two decades.

By 1988, Duke Power had purchased the company and upgraded its systems. Still operating independently, NP&L continued their tradition of commitment to the community. In 1998 the company officially became the Nantahala Division of Duke Power. Today these dedicated employees continue to supply the hydroelectric power needed to sustain many western North Carolina communities.


Company Timeline

Company Growth

Cost of Electriciy

Thorpe Powerhouse Dedication

Thorpe Obituary

Tennessee Creek


Worker Safety


Duke Energy

Nantahala Division

Project Home Page

WCU Special Collections

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