This is a photo of Lake Chatuge in Hayesville, North Carolina that was built in 1941 by the Tennessee Valley Authority under President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal to control flooding in the Southern Appalachian Mountains and to bring power to our region.
Thousands of ripples cut
across Lake Chatuge glittering
like aluminum at wake of day,
sailboats merge with distant
mountains every tint and tone.
Skeletons of the past emerge
during the water’s drawdown,
ruins of the 1940’s surface—
roadbeds of communities covered
by a million yards of concrete.
Pieces of farm machinery pierce
the cracking mud, broken plates
from home places litter
flat river rocks, foundations
strong as when laid remain.
Corncribs and barns were leveled,
log cabins burned, eroded farms seized
and the Ledford’s cemetery moved,
as the TVA bulldozed the land
bringing light to the mountains.
--Brenda Kay Ledford