Raccoon Mountain Visitor Center Reopens Saturday

Friday, August 12, 2016
After almost two years of being closed, TVA’s Raccoon Mountain Visitor Center reopens to the public with new exhibits on Saturday
After almost two years of being closed, TVA’s Raccoon Mountain Visitor Center reopens to the public with new exhibits on Saturday

After almost two years of being closed to accommodate an electrical cable upgrade project, TVA’s Raccoon Mountain Visitor Center reopens to the public with new exhibits on Saturday. The visitor center is open from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily this summer, and is ADA accessible. 

“We are excited to see the visitor center reopen,” says Ken Cornett, senior manager at TVA’s Raccoon Mountain Pumped-Storage Facility. “I think the public will be eager to see the new displays and stand out on the observation deck and see the great view of the river gorge.” 

TVA closed the Raccoon Mountain Visitor Center about two years ago to install new electrical cables down the 38-floor elevator shaft that would connect the electrical generators inside the mountain to the power grid. 

"Folks may not realize that the visitor center is a working part of the facility, but it is,” says Mr. Cornett. “We ran several thousand feet of new electrical cable through the center and down the elevator shaft to the generators 1,500 feet below.” 

Mr. Cornett explains that the new cables are safer and lighter than the ones they replace because the cables are air cooled versus oil cooled. “Safety is essential to TVA, and these new cables increase the safety and reliability of this facility,” says Mr. Cornett. That’s critical, as Raccoon Mountain is key to helping TVA supply reliable and affordable power to homes and businesses throughout the Valley, said officials. 

Over the years, tens of thousands have visited the center, and now they again have access to displays explaining Raccoon Mountain, TVA’s history and its activities today. Two new displays include updated photos and videos that describe TVA and its operations. 

“We are very proud of the visitor center,” says Tony Giggy, BVI project manager for visitor centers. BVI is TVA’s retiree organization dedicated to educating the public about TVA. “The majority of our volunteers are TVA retirees and they will be able to share firsthand knowledge of TVA and its operations.” 

Mr. Giggy notes that, “One of the key features of the center is the large map of the TVA River System that allows visitors to track how water flows through the Tennessee Valley.” 

While the Raccoon Mountain Visitor Center is a learning opportunity, access to the equipment inside the mountain is not available for safety and security reasons. However, visitors can take virtual video tours of Raccoon Mountain Pumped-Storage Facility, as well as more traditional hydroelectric generation facilities, via a monitor inside the visitor center. 

About the Raccoon Mountain Pumped-Storage Facility
Visitor Center Hours—Daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET from April through October; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. November through March. Closed for major holidays and during adverse weather events.
Facility Construction—Began in 1970 and completed in 1978
Reservoir—Holds 107+ billion gallon and takes 28 hours to fill up
Dam—8,500-foot-long; largest rock-fill dam ever built by TVA
Intake tower—230 ft. high; 80 ft. taller than the Statue of Liberty
Electrical Generation—1,600 MW or enough to power 935,000 homes
Recreation Trails—30 miles of biking and hiking trails

Baseball Legend Cal Ripken, Jr., Music, Larger-Than-Life-Sized Balloons Highlight Pigeon Forge’s New Music In The Mountains Spring Parade On May 4

With Cal Ripken, Jr. leading the way, Pigeon Forge’s (Tennessee) new Music in the Mountains spring parade is set for May 4 at 6 p.m. (Eastern) on the city’s Parkway with entries from Tennessee, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Virginia and Georgia plus several new elements to extend the celebration into the weekend.   Mr. Ripken, a member of the National Baseball Hall ... (click for more)

This Week’s Tennessee Tourism Round Up

Spend a date night around the campfire, experience a 3D Rolling Stones’ concert, find out the latest runway fashions, interact with dinosaurs, savor barbecue or a slawburger and take a Tennessee Whiskey adventure. Here’s what’s going on across Tennessee this week. For a complete list of events, visit tnvacation.com/calendar. Ongoing  Nashville – Fifty photos in ... (click for more)

Mayor Berke Plans Affordable Housing Fund, Expansion Of Innovation District; Creation Of Council Against Extremism

Mayor Andy Berke, in his annual State of the City Address on Thursday, said he plans to establishing the city’s first Affordable Housing Fund. He said the city plans to commit $1 million to the fund "that will be used exclusively to aid the creation of affordable and workforce housing throughout Chattanooga. These funds will be used to supplement federal funding, various ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Man Who Was Recently Charged With Murder Is Accused In Another Earlier Shooting

Chattanooga Police have charged Britian Crutcher with the September 2017 shooting of LaSandra Burdette. Ms. Burdette, 26, was shot just after 3 a.m. in the 2000 block of Ocoee Street in Avondale. Her vehicle was involved in a minor wreck just before the shooting. The shooter was in another vehicle. Police recently charged Crutcher in the homicide of 28-year-old ... (click for more)

A Tribute For My Brother – Sgt. Jonathan Gardner, U.S. Army

Seven years ago today, my family and I found out that my brother, Sgt. Jonathan D. Gardner, was seriously injured by a roadside bomb, (explosively formed penetrator - EFP), while on a mission in Kuwait. The EFP went through the bottom of his seat and put a softball size hole in his upper thigh. The doctors said that if the bomb had entered the Humvee an inch to the right, he ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Black Telephone

If you have never seen one in an antique store you wouldn’t know that the first telephones were contained in a not-so-small wooden box that had a snout-looking mouth piece and a separate speaker that you would hold on your ear while you talked. This was many years ago when phones were fun as compared to today’s tiny cell phones that rudely interrupt us from the task-at-hand both ... (click for more)