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Oral History Interview with Jerry Plemmons, November 10, 2000. Interview K-0506. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007).
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  • Abstract
    At the time of the interview, Jerry Plemmons, a lifelong Madison County resident, worked for the French Broad Electric Membership Corporation, consulting on energy conservation and working toward community development. In this interview, he reflects on the influence of development, particularly highway construction, on Marshall, North Carolina, a town known as "a mile long, street wide, sky high, and Hell deep." Plemmons sees roads as both constructive and destructive forces—they bring new money and new people to communities, but they also offer residents the chance to leave, invite environmental damage, and balloon property values, thus driving out longtime residents. Rural North Carolinians, then, must work not only to protect their economic and environmental stability, but also the stability of their community values.
  • Today's farming is not the farming of Plemmons's youth
  • Electric power comes slowly to Madison County
  • New roads bring in businesses, but can let them out as well
  • Hope that his town can lure business
  • Decline of solidarity and self-reliance in Madison County
  • Older residents can pass their knowledge to newer ones
  • Pros and cons of economic growth
  • Damaging aspects of economic growth
  • Lead-up to the construction of the I-26 corridor
  • Fear that the I-26 corridor will displace mountain residents
  • Seeking balance in a time of growth
  • Learn More
  • Finding aid to the Southern Oral History Program Collection
  • Database of all Southern Oral History Program Collection interviews
  • Resources for Educators
  • Change in the Mountains
  • Subjects
  • Farm life--North Carolina
  • Madison County (N.C.)
  • Express highways--North Carolina
  • Plemmons, Jerry
  • The Southern Oral History Program transcripts presented here on Documenting the American South undergo an editorial process to remove transcription errors. Texts may differ from the original transcripts held by the Southern Historical Collection.

    Funding from the Institute for Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this title.