When Franklin Roosevelt became President in 1933, nearly one-fourth of Americans were unemployed. FDR set about immediately establishing the programs of the “New Deal” to address this critical problem. Two of the most successful were the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps). The WPA put men to work constructing public buildings, parks, bridges and roads while the CCC concentrated on natural resources conservation. Terrell Finley, Administrator of the Mountain Gateway Museum in Old Fort, talks about the profound impact that both organizations had on McDowell County:
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In the early days of McDowell County, strong personalities often had a sizeable and lasting impact on the community.
The accomplished inventor Col. Daniel W. Adams of Old Fort worked to bring water, electricity and telephone service to the town. Adams also served as a mountain guide and designer of municipal fountains, among a myriad of other interests and abilities. He also built a very architecturally eccentric home, which can be seen in the photo to the right.
Charlie McKinney of North Cove/Little Switzerland is a legendary figure as well, known for other “talents”, including the ability to provide four dozen young heads for four dozen new hats from J.D. Blanton’s store in Marion. Terrell Finley (above) of The Mountain Gateway Museum talks about Col. Adams:…and Bill Carson of the Orchard at Altapass tells us about the “colorful” Charlie McKinney: