The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, Digital Edition > My Day
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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Charleston, West Virginia. On the train, Tuesday—Yesterday was a most beautiful day. The air was cool, the sun was warm. We first left the train at Chattanooga, Tenn., and drove to Chickamauga Dam. I had been there when the President laid the cornerstone, but yesterday it looked like a beautiful lake dotted with white sails. There was a large yacht tied to the dock and several barges in the offing filled with people. Every inch of space on the dam itself was covered with human beings.

The President spoke from his car over the radio, and I think very few of the people who waited below could see him. When we drove up, the roads were lined with people. At every little village or crossroads some sight-seers were gathered bearing the sign: "Welcome Mr. President."

Eventually, these great dams mean safety for thousands of homes, which before were under frequent threat of flood. They also mean navigation with cheaper transportation for goods, and cheaper electricity for thousands of homes. This yardstick has brought the cost of electricity, furnished by private companies, down to a far more reasonable level.

Back on the train after the ceremonies at the dam, we had lunch and were ready to leave the train again at 2:00 o'clock to drive from Knoxville to Newfound Gap, where the dedication of the Great Smokies Park took place. The drive goes through the most beautiful scenery. Once in the Park, I think you are impressed by the wonderful care which is being given the area.

I saw no signs of forest fires, or of blights which have killed so many of our trees in other parts of the country. There is much virgin timber in these woods, but you have to go a little off the main road to see it. A policy of careful wild life conservation will probably bring back much of the game which has disappeared.

I looked with special interest at the people along the route. In the autumn of 1932, I was with my husband on a trip through Kentucky and a part of Tennessee. It was not a pleasant trip. Too many people looked starved. Too many houses looked unkempt. Too much land was washing into the creeks and rivers.

Strange to say, conservation of land and conservation of people frequently go hand in hand. There is much conservation of both which still needs to be done where we drove yesterday. There are hillsides of corn which should never have become fields and cannot produce sufficiently good crops to pay for the labor which goes into the planting and cultivating.

But over and over again you sill see gulleys where green shrubs and trees are planted, which means that erosion there will stop. I saw few children yesterday who looked hungry or ill clad, as they did eight years ago. Many women still look sixty when they are thirty. Life is not easy but I felt progress is being made.



Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Charleston (W.Va., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, September 4, 1940

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
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Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007

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Digital edition published 2008, 2017 by
The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project

Available under licence from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

Published with permission from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

MEP edition publlished on June 30, 2008.

TEI-P5 edition published on April 28, 2017.

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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.