This week in local history:

70 years ago - March 17, 1949

• J.E.S. Thorpe, president of Nantahala Power & Light, said work on one dam in Jackson had begun and plans were on paper for five more hydroelectric projects in the county.

• Right-handed pitcher Jim Cunningham of Sylva signed a professional baseball contract with the Elizabethton, Tennessee club in the Class D Appalachian League. Cunningham posted a record of 28-9 while throwing for the Sylva and Murphy Independent clubs. He pitched 25 complete games.

60 years ago - March 19, 1959

• The depot at Balsam, one of the highest points on a standard gauge railway east of the Rockies, closed at the end of the business day Friday the 13th, the victim of changing business trends in the rail industry.

• Surveying for the site of the new Sylva-Webster consolidated school was underway. Low bids on the project, and for a new shop building at the Glenville School, came in at $810,000.

50 years ago - March 20, 1969

• Jim Gudger, head men’s basketball coach at Western Carolina University for 19 years, resigned to become the head coach at East Texas State University.

• Hendersonville defeated Sylva-Webster’s men’s basketball team 41-39 in the District 8 AA championship game.

40 years ago - March 15, 1979

• The possibility of closing the Canada School drew large crowds to PTO meetings, as did the possibility of consolidation of Sylva-Webster and Cullowhee.

• An Integrated Solar Heat and Hot Water Demonstration Project was planned for Southwestern Technical Institute.

• “Every Which Way But Loose,” starring Clint Eastwood, was playing at the Ritz Theatre.

30 years ago - March 16, 1989

• Western Carolina University officials said it could cost more than $1 million to clean, repair or replace materials, structures and electronic equipment damaged in a February 26 fire at Hunter Library.

• Dave Possinger announced his resignation as basketball coach at WCU after one year on the job.

• Christmas trees were the top cash crop in Jackson in 1988, with sales of $7.4 million.

20 years ago - March 18, 1999

• The Jarrett House was featured on UNC-TV’s “Carolina Country Cooking” program.

• Western Carolina’s baseball team moved to 13-4 with a win over UNC-Greensboro.

10 years ago - March 19, 2009

• Officials with the Cherokee Board of Elections announced that a June referendum would be held on allowing alcohol sales on the premises of the Harrah’s Cherokee Casino and Hotel.

• Lawyers representing Duke Energy and Jackson County had it out before Superior Court Judge Laura Bridges during a hearing for partial summary judgment. At issue were local permits county officials said were necessary before the power company could dredge behind the Dillsboro Dam in order to comply with a federal directive.