The New South's New Frontier: A Social History of Economic Development in Southwestern North Carolina / Edition 1

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Overview

From the foreword:

"[This] well-researched, broadly conceived, and gracefully written narrative charts the economic transformation of the upper Little Tennessee River Valley [and] revises long-standing misconceptions about the people, economy, and culture of southwestern Appalachia. . . . While Taylor’s book has much to teach us about Appalachian economic development, it also reminds us of the power of myth in southern history." --John David Smith

This book explores the origins of exploitative development in the Great Smoky Mountains and finds some surprising similarities to developmental patterns in the rest of the South. Focusing on the economic transformation of the southern Appalachians, Stephen Taylor examines the dynamics of rural versus small-town forces in the western North Carolina mountains, the region sometimes known as the “back of beyond,” a name that pays homage to the mythic past of Appalachian isolation. 

 The capitalist ethic permeated the area: people accustomed to just “getting by” tended to embrace a money economy with open arms and wallets but retained their ability to survive on what they could produce, just in case prosperity fled again. As they sought more cash and more of the material goods that it made available to them, town dwellers actively participated in the exploitation of the area’s natural resources. After the mines and logging companies left, the National Park Service and TVA’s Fontana Dam harnessed what remained--scenic beauty (where the forest had not been clear-cut) and hydroelectric power. In the process they reduced the few options remaining to area residents to develop the local economy; the only asset left to market was the region’s romanticized image as an isolated backwater.

 Focusing with sensitivity on the ordinary citizens who made the region what it has become, Taylor demonstrates how government plans and business goals affected the culture and community life of a particular region. The national implications of this study will be of interest to scholars studying the New South and the history of tourism and of economic development.                           

Stephen Wallace Taylor teaches history at Georgia College and State University, Milledgeville, and at Macon State College.

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Product Details

Table of Contents

List of Figures
List of Tables
Foreword
Preface
1 A Southern People in a Mountain Region 1
2 Railroads, Good Roads, and Sawmill Villages 16
3 A Second Niagara Falls 36
4 Machiavelli and Monopoly in the Mountains 60
5 I'm from the Government and I'm Here to Help 78
6 Managing People and Land 95
7 Building a Road to Nowhere 123
Epilogue: A View from the River 144
Notes 149
Bibliography 173
Index 183
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