1) View the presidential election maps. How are they helpful to understanding the New Deal? What do the maps tell us about the New Deal coalition or the patterns of support for Roosevelt?

2) View the urban population maps. Which of the eight selected counties do you think were most likely to have the greatest number of homes with electricity? Why?

3) View the map showing the percent of farmers who were tenants in 1930. Discuss the relevance of this data to understanding the development of Shenandoah National park.


Shenandoah National Park

1) Regarding the creation of Shenandoah National Park, do you believe the relocation process was fair? Why or why not?

2) For the mountain families, what were the advantages and disadvantages of moving from the Park?

3) Why might a mountain family like living in one of the Homestead developments? Why might they not like living there too?

Rural Electrification

4) Why did Franklin Roosevelt care so much about extending electric power to rural areas?

5) What affect did the arrival of electricity have on rural life? How did it change work patterns? family and household life?


1) After viewing the images on rural electrification, what affect did the arrival of electricity have on rural women? How did it change their lives, for better and for worse?

2) View the picture of Claytor Dam. What is the connection between the dam and rural electrification? Why was the dam so important to electrifying rural homes?

3) View the picture of the men removing the tree in the Shenandoah section of images. Who do you think these men are? Where do they come from? Why are they there? What elements of the New Deal program are represented in this photo?

4) View the images of Skyline Drive. Why do you think the construction of the road was so important to the park's creation?


1) Read "Ruritans Claim Rural Virginia Needs Industry". What is the connection between rural electrification and local economic development?

2) Read "Galax Voters Decide Today On Power Plant." The last sentence of this article says, "Since the election was allowed by the court, a warm campaign has been waged by representatives of the power company and proponents of the municipal plant." What arguments do you imagine each side made in this campaign? How might they promote themselves? What arguments would they use to criticize their opponents?

3) Read "Shenandoah Co-op To Increase Loan." How did the co-op plan to repay the REA loan? Why did it not just borrow from a bank instead of from the REA?

4) Read "3 U.S. JUDGES HEAR PARK CASE TODAY." Conduct a mock trial of the Via case, with students serving as attorneys representing Robert Via and the state of Virginia. Have other students act as the judge(s) and jury.

5) Read "Senator Byrd Asks Abandonment Of Shenandoah Park Homesteads." How can one reconcile Byrd's crticism of the Homesteads with his support for the park? What alternatives to the Homesteads could one envision for the mountain residents forced from their homes?


1) After viewing the film, what do you think is the filmaker's view of the removal process?

2) If you were making a film on the creation of Shenandoah National Park, what would you stress--the individual hardship caused by removal? the general societal benefits of the park and Skyline drive?

3) Pretend you live and work on an isolated farm that just recently had received electric power. How would electrification change your life? What electric appliances would you want to acquire immediately for your home? Why?

4) What do you think was the single most important factor which faciliated the creation of the park--the passage of the Civilian Conservation Corps, the election of Herbert Hoover, or the passage of the Public Park Condemnation Act? Or do you believe another factor was more important?

5) How do maps such as the ones here help historians? How can they be used to explain developments of the past?

6) Why did the public hold such negative views of mountain people? What was the basis for the stereotypes? Have they dissipated in the sixty years since the park's creation? Why or why not?