Historically, construction workers for public works lived in temporary camps. Norris Dam workers were joined by technical and professional staff and their families, and remained for longer. The TVA built a permanent town that would, at a smaller scale, reflect its larger vision of stewardship and innovation for the betterment of society. The town is one of the first “planned communities” and “garden cities” in the US.
The town was supported by a strong community center (exactly 1/2 mile from the New Norris House by walking path) and was originally planned to operate economically around several small cooperative industries. The original Norris plan accommodated shared garages, which were utilized by the surrounding cluster of homes and connected by a network of walking paths. While the garages no longer exist, the walking paths remain.
Today, Norris is largely a bedroom community for nearby Oak Ridge and Knoxville. Many original homes have been enlarged and modified to accommodate more contemporary lifestyles.