Appalachian Trail Histories

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Thru hiker A.J. Matthews (Blue Steel) reaches the end of his thru hike on Mount Katahdin on August 9, 2017.

Collection: Hikers
KatahdinPose.jpg

The original southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail was at the summit of Mount Oglethorpe in Georgia. Shortly after the decision was made to extend the Trail to this mountaintop, a monument was constructed at the terminus in memory of Jame Oglethorpe, the founder of the Georgia colony. Dedicated in 1930, the monument was moved about 20 miles to the northeast to the town of Jasper, Georgia in 1958 after the terminus of the Trail was moved to Springer Mountain in order to avoid the encroachment of several large chicken farms on the Trail.

Collection: Iconic Locations
Mount_Oglethorpe_monument.jpg

The original southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail was at the summit of Mount Oglethorpe in Georgia. Shortly after the decision was made to extend the Trail to this mountaintop, a monument was constructed at the terminus in memory of Jame Oglethorpe, the founder of the Georgia colony. Dedicated in 1930, the monument was moved about 20 miles to the northeast to the town of Jasper, Georgia in 1958 after the terminus of the Trail was moved to Springer Mountain in order to avoid the encroachment of several large chicken farms on the Trail.

This photograph was taken by Japanese-American George Masa (1881-1933), one of America's most important outdoor photographers. Masa Knob in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is named for him.

Collection: Iconic Locations
Mount_Oglethorpe_monument (1).jpg

In 1930, the Carolina Appalachian Trail Club  was organized for the purpose of completing the western North Carolina segment of the Appalachian Trail. Its home was in Asheville. In 1931, the group merged with the Carolina Mountain Club, an organization founded in 1923 and still active today. This map of the Appalachian Trail and the North Carolina section of the Great Smoky Mountains was created that same year. The map was one of many collected by Horace Kephart (1862-1931).

Collection: Maps
Appalachian_Trail_in_North_Carolina (1).jpg

Howard Zahniser (1906-1964) was a long-time leader of the Wilderness Society and was the author of the original draft of the Wilderness Act of 1964, which now preserves more than 100 million acres of wilderness in the United States.

Collection: Builders
HowardZahniser.jpg

The Eastern Wilderness Act of 1975 expanded protections of the original Wilderness Act (1964) to a variety of wilderness areas in the Eastern United States. Of these, only the James River Face Wilderness in Virginia contained a portion of the Appalachian Trail, but over the coming decades a growing list of wilderness areas in the Appalachian Mountains included more and more of the Trail.

Collection: Legislation
Eastern Wilderness Act.pdf

As the Appalachian Trail was being constructed in the 1920s and 1930s, the various trail clubs at first used their own methods for blazing the Trail's route. However, it soon became clear that a common approach was needed to help hikers know how to stay on the new trail's path. The executive committee of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy agreed at its 1929 meeting to an official insignia for the trail blazes utilizing the now familiar AT logo.

Trail clubs experimented with several different means of marking the Trail, with the ATC ultimately settling on a galvanized metal marker like the one seen here. Ultimately, the metal markers were replaced by the now familiar (and easier to maintain) white blaze. This particular marker was photographed on the Trail north of Troutville, Virginia in 2016.

ATSign.jpg

Mount Katahdin as seen from Daisy Pond (now Daicey Pond), photographed by Myron Avery. This image is from the Myron Avery Scrapbook Collection at the Maine State Library.

Collection: Iconic Locations
Katahdin Daisy Pond.jpg

Old Orchard Shelter, Appalachian Trail, Grayson Highlands State Park, August 17, 2014.

Collection: Trail Shelters
Old Orchard Shelter 2014.jpg

The Lula Tye Shelter, 1966. This shelter was built by the U.S. Forest Service in 1962 near the southern shore of Rock Pond in the Green Mountain National Forest. It is named for Lula Tye, who was the Corresponding Secretary of the Green Mountain Club from 1926-1955.

Collection: Trail Shelters
Lula Tye Shelter 1966.jpg

Bobblet's Gap Shelter, July 21, 2016. A typical light wood frame shelter was built by the U.S. Forest Service in 1961 and is named for a local farmer (Will Bobblet) who used to live nearby.

Collection: Trail Shelters
Bobblet's Gap 2016.jpg

Members of the Smoky Mountains Hiking Club enjoying the big chestnut tree stop, March 5, 1932. Before the Chestnut Blight wiped out almost all American Chestnut trees in the Eastern United States, trees of this size were not uncommon along the Appalachian Trail.

Chestnut Roth.jpeg