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.