Nestled 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!"

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