Degree Name

MALS (Master of Arts in Liberal Studies)


Appalachian Studies

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Dr. Tom Lee

Committee Members

Dr. Ted Olson, Dr. Kevin O'Donnell


The St. Paul Redevelopment Project was unique and touted as the first-of-its-kind to feature cooperation from all three levels of government. Several government agencies helped St. Paul accomplish an “impossible dream,” spending an estimated thirty million dollars to rechannel the Clinch River in the 1970s and 1980s. The small town of 1,000 residentsrelocated 100 families from South St. Paul to carry out the project, much to the dismay of many of the residents. A primary factor in enforcing the power of eminent domain in the St. Paul Redevelopment Project was the idea of “progress,” a commonality of many redevelopment projects. The St. Paul Redevelopment Project serves as a small case study of government intervention in the Appalachian region and of resistance. St. Paul as a community and “place” has been shaped by elected officials and government agencies, but ‘place’ also belongs to individuals. The example of redevelopment in St. Paul, Virginia, and the use of eminent domain exposes a complex system of power relations at work in Appalachia, that at least in the case under study, suggests how the response of one family, the Couches, reflected both participation in the dominant system of commodification and a rejection of it.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.