Reunion brings back memories of Fontana town

The children of workers who constructed the Fontana Dam in the 1940s are holding their annual reunion this week, returning to the place they were raised to reminisce of about life growing up in Fontana Village, a town built from scratch to house some 5,000 workers and their families.

Fontana Village, which is now a resort, was originally created by the Tennessee Valley Authority as a way of keeping workers and their families content so they would stay with the grueling construction project. The village was complete with 15 dormitories, countless homes, two churches, a hospital, schools, a general store and barber shop, a recreation hall, swimming pools and a ball field.

For the children of the dam workers, the village was a brave, new world in the Appalachian wilderness. Between 1942 and 1946, there were more than 600 students from 46 states who attended school at Fontana Village. History was made in November 1944 when the lake began to fill, and power generation became a reality the following spring.  Once the dam was completed, home as they knew it was no longer necessary. Most all of the children and their families scattered back across the country to the states from which they came.

Today these “Dam Kids” still stay in touch by returning to Fontana Village.

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