in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina lay various rural
communities. Historically, the communities of Appalachia have
been known for their geographic isolation and cultural distinction.
These isolated communities in western North Carolina had much
in common in the days prior to electrification. The majority of
families relied on agriculture for their source of livelihood.
The landscape of the townships was speckled with family farms.
Melba Nevius recalls that some of the primary crops in Old Glenville,
included "cabbage, taters, and turnips." Otealia Baldwin's family
raised chickens, hogs, and cows on their farm in Nantahala before
the dam construction. The towns themselves were very small, consisting
generally of a general store or two, a post office, schools, corn
mills, and churches.
Everyday life was different before power
was brought to western North Carolina. Household chores were more
labor intensive. Water had to be carried from springs in buckets.
Some families were fortunate enough to have hand pumps that propelled
water to their homes before the days of electric pumps. Springhouses
were built over the springs to refrigerate perishables. Laundry
was washed in nearby streams. Meals were cooked on wood fired
fire stoves, making cooking a very uncomfortable duty in the heat
of the summer. Also, kerosene lamps burned dimly inside the houses
at night as children did their school lessons.
The entrance of NP&L into these
townships brought many changes to the landscape. Several communities
such as Nantahala, Aquone, and Old Glenville were entirely relocated
to make way for the reservoirs needed to supply electricity to
the area. Also, electricity eased the strain of everyday duties
and chores of the individuals within the area. NP&L's arrival
in the westernmost counties of North Carolina altered the original
communities. However, all of these changes were welcomed in the
name of "electricity!"