Learn more about the history of the City of Alcoa with the purchase of the historical
Centennial DVD ($20) or book ($35).
These items are available for purchase from the receptionist in the lobby of the Municipal Building during regular office hours of 8:00 am – 4:30 pm., Monday – Friday with the exception of holidays. Cash, check and credit cards are accepted as payment. For more information call 865-380-4700.
The Little Tennessee River and its tributaries were considered a good source of the hydroelectric energy essential to the aluminum production process. To produce one pound of aluminum required 10 kilowatts - the amount to burn a 40-watt bulb for 10 days. Access to the L&N and Southern Railroads served as a helpful feature of the area as well.
With all the construction projects in the early years, a strong labor force was necessary to complete the development. ALCOA built 150 company owned homes for its employees.
Workers were primarily from Blount County, except for Mexican labor used for Blount Reduction Plant and to work in the factories. By 1920, ALCOA employed 3,672 workers on a payroll of over three million dollars. African-American labor recruited from Georgia and Alabama, as well as Cherokee Indians, had been recruited to extend the railroad from Calderwood to Cheoah. It was these workers and construction crews for the Cheoah Dam project that necessitated construction of an extensive town site at Calderwood, originally called Alcoa. Camps for over 1,000 employees, with a hospital, schools, stores, good water supply, and other facilities, were design to keep them and their families in health and contentment.
Edwin S. Fickes, Chief Engineer of ALCOA, explained the situation to his chief, Arthur V. Davis, and Mr. and Mrs. Babcock and suggested incorporating a municipality to comprise all the section in which our interests were located so that the taxes paid would be used to benefit the property taxed rather than the old town of Maryville.
Dr. J. Walter McMahan, ALCOA'S medical director at the North Maryville installation was elected state senator from the fourth district in November 1918. It was he who introduced in the General Assembly in the spring of 1919 a special bill for incorporation. Maryvillians, who were reconciling themselves to the presence of an industrial giant in their midst by anticipating the good things that might accrue from a broadened tax base, were rudely shocked not only at the incorporation, but that ALCOA should give the community its name, rather than to retain the North Maryville designation that had to that point identified the section.