* schools: United States -- individual schools TVA Village School No. 1



U.S. School Clothes: TVA Village School No. 1 (1937)


Figure 1.-- Here we see the 4th grade class in TVA School-Village No. 1 in June 1937 at the end of the school year. With the onset of TVA, people moved into the Village No. 1 homes nd the school opened. It was a rather small class only 14 children. The 4th grade children would be 9-10 years old. It was summer time by June and very warm and the children are dressed accordingly. There was no air conditioning in schools at the time, even in the Deep South. We can see their school in the background. One girl wears short pants rather than a dress which was not very common at the time, especially for school. Many of the boys also wear shorts. It is a little difficult to tell, but we also see several of the boy wearing button-on shorts. The belted shorts were also probably button-om outfits.

With World War I raging in Europe, the U.S. Government began to give some thought to defense. The United States at the time was virtually without an army or a sizeable arms industry. One of the first responses was the National Defense Act signed by President Wilson (1916). One of the projects authorized was nitrate-manufacturing plants and a dam to provide needed hydropower. Nitrates could be used for either ammunition or fertilizer. President Wilson selected Muscle Shoals, Alabama as the site of the dam and nitrate plants. The factory which beame known as Factoy No. 1 was designed to produce ammonium nitrate using the Haber process. In addition to the dam and factories, the plan included an industrial village to house the construction and than the factory workforce. Construction of the village began (late-1918). Noted architect Harold Caparn designed the village in the shape of a handbell. Houses surrounded the handle, body, and clapper. A school was siuated at the base. The completed village included 112 homes, 2 school buildings, and one large apartment complex to housed unmarried officers. Maud Lindsay, an author of children's books, was chosen to be the first kindergarten teacher. Events in Europe proceeded more raidly than the dam construction. Germany asked for an armistice (November 11, 1918). This ended the War and meant that the United States would not need an expanded supply of ammounium nitrate. The Government closed the plant. And all the newly built houses and schools stood unoccupied. The project languished for a decade and for the most parts the houses remained unoccupied. A few were used by the Alabama Power Company workers at the dam. This change with the election of President Roosevelt and the New Deal (1933). Soon after his inaguration, President Roosevelt created the Tennessee Valley Authority (May 1933). Although based on the Tennessee River, much of the project was developed in northern Alabama through which the Tenessee River flowed. Senator Norris championed the project. The Mussle Shoals industrial complex would be used for fertilizer production and as a development center and the forerunner of additional dams and projects further up the Tennessee River as TVA became a New Deal show case. Here we see the 4th grade class in TVA School-Village No. 1 in 1937. TVA would privide the enormous power needed by the Oak Ridge atomic project during World War II. After the war, the streets, playgrounds, and school were deeded to the city of Sheffield by TVA. The houses were auctioned to the public.

World War I: National Defense Act (1916)

With World War I raging in Europe, the United States was adamently opposed to involvement. Important steps were taken to provide food and other relief supplies to civilian adversely affected. This at first meant Belgium, but American relief efforts would eventually saved untold millions throughout Europe. The United States made no effort to prepare for possible entry into the War. This mindset began to change with a German U-boat sank the liner HMS Lusitania and Americans wnt down with the ship (1915). The first step toward preparadness was The National Defense Act of 1916 guaranteeing the state militias' status as the Army's primary reserve force (1916). It was, however, a very small step. The United States at the time was virtually without an army or a sizeable arms industry. And this situation was little changed when Congress reacting to German provocations declared war on Germany (1917).

Wilson Dam (1916-24)

One of the projects authorized by the National Defense Act (1916) was nitrate-manufacturing plants and a dam to provide needed hydropower. Nitrates could be used for either ammunition or fertilizer. President Wilson selected Muscle Shoals, Alabama as the site of the dam and nitrate plants. The dam after the death of President Wilson was named wilson Dam. It was not completed until after the war (1924). The factory which beame known as Factoy No. 1 was designed to produce ammonium nitrate using the Haber process. The Haber process could not produce the amount of nitrate needed. Factory No. 2 was built using the cyanamide process. The Dam swas remammed Norris Dam ax it became a major part of the Tennessee Valley Authority.

Village No. 1

In addition to the dam and factories, the plan included an industrial village to house the construction and than the factory workforce. Construction of the village began (late-1918). Noted architect Harold Caparn designed the village in the shape of a handbell. Houses surrounded the handle, body, and clapper. A school was situated at the base. The completed village included 112 homes, 2 school buildings, and one large apartment complex to housed unmarried officers. Maud Lindsay, an author of children's books, was chosen to be the first kindergarten teacher

Muscle Shoals Controversy

Events in Europe proceeded more raidly than the dam construction. Germany asked for an armistice (November 11, 1918). This ended the War and meant that the United States would not need an expanded supply of ammounium nitrate. The Government closed the plant. And all the newly built houses and schools stood unoccupied. Henry Ford offered to buy the dam and plant which could be used make fertilizer (1921). He saw the potential for an important industrial comolex in a poor, agricultiral area based on the electrical power generated by the river. Thomas Edison was interested in investing in the project. Ford was, however, only willing to pay a fraction of the cost of building the dam. Congress rejected Ford's offer as insufficient The effort to reject the Ford offer was led by progressive Senator George Norris. The Government, however, had to pay more money to complere and maintain the dam. The dam was finally completed (1924). President Coolidge appointed fomer South Carolina Senator, Nathanial Deal, to a commision to investigate the resulting costly deabacle. Progressive Senator George Norris and public power vadvocate had no confidence in Presidebt Collidge or the Commission. The project languished for a decade and for the most parts the houses remained unoccupied. A few were used by the Alabama Power Company workers at the dam.

Tennessee Valley Authority (1933)

Everything changeed with the election of President Roosevelt and the New Deal (1933). Senator Norris of Nebraska and progressive lion promoted the use of the facility thought the site should be utilized for public use. Soon after his inaguration, President Roosevelt created the Tennessee Valley Authority (May 1933). It was one of the first New Deal alphabet agencues created during Roosevelt's First Hundred days. Although based on the Tennesse River, much of the project was developed in northern Alabama through which the Tenenessee River flowed. Senator Norris championed the project. The Wilson Dam would be TVA's first dam on the Tennessee River. The Mussle Shoals industrial complex would be used for fertilizer production and as a development center and the forerunner of additional dams and projects further up the Tennessee River as TVA became a New Deal show case. Inexpensive hydropower was an important assett for the region. Another important function of the TVA dams would be flood control. Before TVA, the region was periodiclly hit by devestating floods.

The School

Here we see the 4th grade class in TVA School-Village No. 1 in June 1937 at the end of the school year. With the onset of TVA, people moved into the Village No. 1 homes nd the school opened. It was a rather small class only 14 children. The 4th grade children would be 9-10 years old. It was summer time by June and very warm and the children are dressed accordingly. There was no air conditioning in schools at the time, even in the Deep South. We can see their school in the background. One girl wears short pants rather than a dress which was not very common at the time, especially for school. Many of the boys also wear shorts. It is a little difficult to tell, but we also see several of the boy wearing button-on shorts. The belted shorts were also probably button-on outfits. Many of the boys probably wore knickers during cooler school months.

World War II

TVA would not only provide the power needed to promote the development of the Tenneessee River Valey, but also provide the enormous power needed by the Oak Ridge atomic project during World War II. Oak Ridge was an important part of the Manhattan Project which brought the Pacific War to a close. It provided the enriched uranium 235 used for the Hiroshima bomb. It was the enrichment process that required huge amounts of electrical power. America thanks to TVA and other projects had spare electrical generating power, Germany and Japan did not.

Post-War Era

After World War II, TVA deeded the streets, playgrounds, and school were deeded to the city of Sheffield. The houses were auctioned to the public.







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Created: 4:22 PM 6/12/2016
Last updated: 11:37 PM 8/29/2020