On Labor Day, Sept. 2, 1940, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt arrived in Chattanooga by train and rode in a motorcade to the Chickamauga Dam. Accompanying him were First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, Gov. Prentice Cooper and Sen. Kenneth D. McKellar, who introduced the president to a crowd of 30,000 people.
The 71-year-old McKellar, who was running for a fifth term, introduced the president as the author of the Tennessee Valley Authority. In his speech Roosevelt characterized "this chain of man-made inland seas" as the South's Great Lakes, opening "a new artery of commerce [and] new opportunities for recreation."