L. Waldroop went to work for NP&L in 1939. He started out
on the line crew making $0.30 an hour, which netted him $12.00
a week. When asked what an average dayís work was like Mr. Waldroop
replied, "It was hard, because you didn't have the equipment that
they have today. We dug the holes with hand tools called a spade
and a spoon." He remembers using a tool called a "rocking jack"
to set the light poles and the chain on a pocket watch as a plum-bob
to make sure they were set straight. Shortly after Mr. Waldroop
began work with the line crew, the company purchased a line-truck.
He recalls that the addition of the vehicle was a big improvement,
but only "if you could get the truck to where it was needed."In
1940, the company promoted Mr. Waldroop and he began training
at the old Franklin Plant for his new position as an operator
at the soon to be completed Glenville hydroelectric plant. Mr.
Waldroop was present on the day the first switch was thrown to
start the massive generators. He remembers that the plant had
a little trouble coordinating the machines the first day and engines
made a loud bump when they started. When Mr. Thorpe and the dignitary
heard the noise, Mr. Thorpe leaned toward them and jokingly said,
"Oh that happens all the time."
Mr. Waldroop admits to knowing very
little about electricity when he was hired in 1939. When asked
why he went to work for NP&L, Mr. Waldroop quickly points
out, "I knew nothing about electricity--not one thing in the world
about it--I was just hunting a job."
"We were all green. We didn't know anything
about electricity, [but] we know we better learn something if
we where going to hold a job." So we set up our own school. They
studied the circuit layout and blueprints of the generators using
the book supplied by the plant engineer. They took shifts studying
and testing each other on their knowledge.
© Western Carolina University
NOTICE: WARNING CONCERNING COPYRIGHT RESTRICTIONS The
digitalized exhibit ìWatts in The Mountains: Rural Electrification in Western
North Carolinaî is the sole property of Western Carolina University. As such,
all materials presented in this exhibit are protected under the current law
of the United States (Title 17, U. S. Code) that governs the making of copies
or other reproductions of copyrighted material. Fair use under the law permits
reproduction of single copies for private study or research. Further transmission,
reproduction, or presentation of protected items without the written permission
of the copyright owners is forbidden This institution reserves the right to
refuse any additional copying petitions if, in its judgments, fulfillment
of the request would involve violation of the copyright law.