Eighty years ago this month, Norris Dam, one of the largest in the world at the time of construction, began protecting downstream communities from devastating floods and providing low-cost power to rural communities and industrialized cities.

The dam’s completion also signaled the dawn of a new, innovative plan that paved the way for the Tennessee Valley Authority to transform an entire region of the country and bring rural America out of the darkness.

The words, “Built For The People of the United States of America”, are displayed prominently above the entrance to the massive concrete dam, which was constructed between 1933-1936. It stands about 26 stories high, and spans 1,860 feet across the winding Clinch River, holding back over 33,000 acres of water and creating a man-made lake with over 800 miles of shoreline.

TVA is celebrating the 80th anniversary of Norris Dam and its place in history with a two-day, fun-filled event, July 29-30.  Activities will include:

  • Self-guided tours inside the dam
  • High-voltage transmission crews with a helicopter and large boom trucks
  • Underground and underwater unmanned vehicles used for dam inspections
  • Interactive shows by Dr. Energy
  • Interactive displays with fisheries biologist and archeologists
  • Food and live music
  • Big Dam Race – 8.0K road race on Saturday, July 30 – hosted by the Knoxville Track Club. (Registration required)
  • Family fun walk on nearby Songbird Trail – Saturday, July 30

More information about the celebration, including Big Dam Race information and registration, is available at www.tva.com/norris80.

Activities are free and open to the public and will run from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. EDT each day on the grounds of the dam reservation.  


Parking for all events is at the nearby Museum of Appalachia, 2819 Andersonville Highway, Clinton, Tenn., with air-conditioned shuttles running to and from the celebration site. Water bottles and sunscreen are welcome, but chairs, coolers and pets (service animals are permitted) are not allowed.

            Those with special needs (mobility and otherwise) planning to attend should call (865) 632-6000 for assistance by Wednesday, July 27.

            More event updates can also be found on TVA’s social media sites including Facebook at www.facebook.com/TVA, Twitter @TVAnews and Instagram @TVA.

            The 80th anniversary of Norris Dam, TVA’s first hydro-electric project, kicks off a year-long recognition of all TVA dams, which were planned under the 1936 Unified Development of the Tennessee River System Plan. That plan outlined TVA’s integrated resource management approach to the Tennessee River and its tributaries – the roadmap that changed the Tennessee Valley by providing flood control, improved navigation and affordable electricity along with a whole host of programs to improve economic development and the quality of life of the Valley.

            For more information about TVA and its 83-year mission of service to the Tennessee Valley, click here.

#          #          #