Appalachian Trail Histories

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A member of the Philadelphia Hiking Club resting along the Appalachian Trail near Smith Gap, April 19, 1935.

Collection: Hikers
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The Appalachian Trail lean-to (shelter) at Deep Gap near Standing Indian Mountain, North Carolina.

Collection: Trail Shelters
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Members of the Philadelphia Trail Club at an unidentified Appalachian Trail shelter, Easter Weekend, 1933. The man on the left is George W. Outerbridge, the second person to hike every step of the Appalachian Trail after Myron Avery. The woman on the right is likely Mary Kilpatrick, the first woman to hike every step of the Trail, and one of the two men in the center of the image is likely her husband, Martin Kilpatrick, the third person to complete every step of the Trail. Outerbridge and the Kilpatricks were leaders of the Philadelphia Trail Club and section hiked the AT during the 1930s.

Collection: Hikers
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Nantahala Gorge, photographed by George Masa in the early 1930s. The Appalachian Trail crosses the Nantahala River in the Gorge, before climbing back up to a series of 5,000 foot summits on either side of the river.

Collection: Iconic Locations
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A route map of the Blue Ridge Parkway between Shenandoah National Park in Virginia and the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina. This map shows not only the route of the Parkway, but also the year when each section of the road was completed. The Parkway began as a New Deal project in 1935 and was not completed until 1987. Altogether, the Parkway is 469 miles long and at its north end it connects with Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park, which adds another 105 miles to the route. The Blue Ridge Parkway is part of the National Park system and is the most visited of all the national parks since the end of the Second World War.

Collection: Maps
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Myron Avery was the second chairman of the Appalachian Trail Conference and was one of the founders of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club and served as that club's president for many years. Under his stewardship, the ATC and its associated clubs completed the Appalachian Trail in 1937. Avery was the driving force behind the creation of a number of the southern trail-maintaining clubs, and was the Trail's fiercest defender from the time he assumed the ATC chairmanship until his death in 1952.

Collection: Builders
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A trail maintainer along the Appalachian Trail in 1932. The caption on the reverse of this photograph reads: "Homeward bound, with her pack and pruning shears after a day's work on the Appalachian Trail." Trail volunteers like this young woman were, and remain, essential to the building and maintaining of the Appalachian Trail.

Collection: Trail Clubs
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Arthur Perkins was the first chairman of the Appalachian Trail Conference. Perkins, a judge from Hartford, Connecticut, was an avid outdoorsman and member of the Appalachian Mountain Club. After assuming the chairmanship of the ATC, Perkins recruited a young attorney named Myron Avery to the Appalachian Trail project. Avery went on to become the second ATC chairman and was the man most responsible for the completion of the AT in 1937. Perkins was instrumental in turning the ATC into an organizing force for the building of the Trail and often served as a mediator between various individuals and organizations that had differing visions of how the project should proceed.

Collection: Builders
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It was industrial labor of this type that Appalachian Trail founder Benton MacKaye saw as so damaging to the health and well-being of Americans. He hoped that his trail project would give workers like these men and boys at a glass works in 1909, the opportunity to spend a little time in nature, where they might heal some of the damage inflicted on them by the hazards of their work.

Collection: Builders

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Stephen Mather was the first director of the National Park Service, serving in that capacity from 1916-1929. Mather was one of the small group of like-minded conservationists and trail club members who founded the Appalachian Trail Conference in 1925.

Collection: Builders
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Benton MacKaye took part in the meeting of several of the southern Appalachian Trail clubs at Cloudland Lodge, Georgia, October 13-14, 1934. In this photograph, he is standing at the summit of Whiteside Mountain, N.C.

Collection: Builders
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