Collection Title: Jackson Purchase Oral History Project – Kentucky Dam Project
Series Number: OH219
Interviewee: Sears, Richard E.
Interviewer: Meyer, Jeff
Date interviewed: November 13, 1995
Processed by: Dieter C. Ullrich on November 19, 2013.
Date processed: November 19, 2013.
Description: 2 sound discs (86 minutes)
Abstract: Richard E. Sears describes his experiences as a draftsman and electrical engineer working with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) on the Kentucky Dam. He recalls the region prior to the construction of the dam, including the lack of industry, rural road system and ferries crossing the river. He recollects participating in the National Youth Administration at Paducah before being hired by the TVA. He discusses the hiring process, salaries, his duties and responsibilities, labor union relations with management, public safety operations, living conditions at the Kentucky Dam Village, racial relations (no mixed race work crews in his department), work related accidents and construction problems. Biographical / Historical note: Richard E. Sears was born at Paducah, Kentucky on April 28, 1915. He was raised in Paducah, attended local public schools and graduated from Tilghman High School in 1933. He attended Murray State Teachers College from 1933 to 1934 and the University of Kentucky from 1935 to 1938, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering. He briefly worked with the National Youth Administration at Paducah before he was hired by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) in the spring of 1939 to work on the Kentucky Dam. He remained at the Kentucky Dam until 1948 when he was transferred to another TVA construction site. He continued to work for the TVA on numerous other projects including the Watauga, Boone and South Holston Dams in Tennessee and the Shawnee Fossil Plant near Paducah. He retired from the TVA in 1976. He died on March 25, 2008.
General information: No user access to original recordings. Use audio user copies, digital derivatives, transcripts, and/or tape indexes. This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code). Permission for reproduction must be requested from Murray State University.