Film documents hydroelectric revolution that transformed Atlanta

  • Photo Courtesy John Heinen/Project 360 Media. Lake Burton and Rabun County play key roles in a new documentary film on Georgia's hydroelectric revolution that airs Sept. 24 on Georgia Public Broadcasting stations.
    Photo Courtesy John Heinen/Project 360 Media. Lake Burton and Rabun County play key roles in a new documentary film on Georgia's hydroelectric revolution that airs Sept. 24 on Georgia Public Broadcasting stations.
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CLAYTON—In the decades immediately following the Civil War, the city of Atlanta—and the entire state of Georgia—struggled to recover from the massive devastation wrought by four years of intense conflict capped by Gen. William T. Sherman’s brutal March To The Sea.

“All the infrastructure was destroyed,” said retired medical doctor, historian and Lake Burton resident Mike Maffett. “What manufacturing there was, was destroyed. There was no money in circulation. When you went to the store, you used barter and paper notes issued by local governments. It was crazy.”

For more than 40 years after the war, Atlanta languished.

Then, shortly after the turn of the century, a small group of businessmen came up with a plan that would transform both the city and the state into the economic powerhouse it is today.

It revolved around the revolutionary new concept of using hydroelectric power to generate electricity.

And Rabun County was at the heart of the revolution.

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