The History of the Lookout Valley Community


Richard Alexander McKeel

Chapter Nine

“Pump Storage Facility in

  Lookout Valley

            Deep within Raccoon Mountain , which overlooks Lookout Valley the Tennessee Valley Authority created one of the planets engineering marvels. This engineering phenomenon was built from 1970-1978 in the core or Raccoon Mountain . This massive underground hydroelectric Power Station with its lighted tunnels, elevator, and huge turbines helps create power for the Tennessee Valley . Actually, the ideal was dreamed up, by a similar process to that of on a bigger scale then of what was used at the Hiawassee Dam in North Carolina earlier.

            By 1961 many people in the United States Government laughed at the idea and following Rep. James Huges example and a waste of tax payers’ money. However, TVA started to put the plan into motion and more than one thousand laborers helped the pump storage plant by removing over ten million cubic yards of dirt to create the lake, and excavating 12,000 feet of lighted subterranean tunnels into the solid mountain granite, over ten million cubic yards of Earth were removed to create the dam. The schedule was very tight, and they were not finished until 1979, six years longer then it was originally thought to complete. The total cost was over 350 million dollars.

            Today, the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Pump Storage Plant produces more electricity then Chickamauga Dam. It is still considered to be an engineering masterpiece.

photo of racoon mountain's pumped-storage plant

During times of high demand for electricity, water is released from the Raccoon Mountain reservoir to generate power. When demand is low the generating turbines are reversed to pump water back to the top of the mountain.

Raccoon Mountain Pump Storage Plant 1970s





Richard Alexander McKeel

Copyright © 2004