Appalachian Trail Histories

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Survey map of the land assigned to the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC) by the National Park Service around Corbin Cabin. Drawing no. 134-60010, Scale 1" = 60'

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Transcription of the log book entry:

May 28, 1954 through May 30, 1954

We had a beautiful weekend for the continuance of work & the dedication. Jeannette Fitz Williams & Earl Haskell merit special mention for their vigorous labor in the annex. Besides that, all those whose name appear below the arrow on the previous page contributed largely toward weeding, clearing, mortaring, tarring, painting, & rattle-snake killing. On Sunday afternoon, George Corbin, Chief Ranger Jacobs & Park Naturalist Favour & those whose names appear above the arrow on the previous page began to wander in & all of us finally gathered about 3:30 daylight savings time for the dedication over which President Blackburn presided. He gave a short history of the cabin before PATC & since. He introduced the new overseer, Karl Thrif [sp?], & presented his wife, Ann, with keys, this book, & the cabin sign, while Karl & many others took pictures. Pr. Blackburn introduced next Mr. Corbin who expressed his gratitude for the Club’s interest in his home. The rangers each said a few words & then the piece de resistance [winged?] up by physicist Blackburn & consisting of a spark-plug igniting a few drops of gasoline & thus shooting a can against the door & smashing a bottle of “champagne” against the threshold — but it didn’t work, but after 2 manual efforts, Canada Dry’s best was in smithereens.

At the same decisive moment, several hydrogen filled balloons were released from the attic windows and floated out over the park. Afterwards, George Corbin’s best apple brandy was served to the guests who later staggered up the hill & left the rest of us to continue our work.


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The families of Corbin Hollow--a community of perennial starvation and penniless squalor within a dozen miles of President Hoover's Rapidan camp--are about to come into something more than their own.

A plan to move the community, rooted in this one spot since the Revolutionary War, to a new section of the mountains adjoining a church mission has been virtually agreed upon between Federal and State officials.

Mixed up in the strange story are officials of the National Park Service, a Washington physician and a lone woman social worker, Miss Miriam Sizer.

Secretary Wilbur rode into the Hollow over the week end, accompanied by Horace M. Albright, director of the National Park Service; Dr. Lyman Sexton of Washington and Miss Sizer.

Corbin Hollow is within the limits of the new Shenandoah National Park. In order not only to aid the Corbins and the Nicholsons, but also to clear the park, the plan of providing a sizable plot for them near a mountain mission was advanced. Wilbur looked on it with favor.

"No matter what is done with these people," he said, "the will be better off. They have nothing to lose."



A undated photograph of Nicholson Hollow resident Fannie Corbin and one of her children. On the reverse of the print it says "Fannie Corbin and one of her 22 children." Fannie Corbin was a resident of Lower Nicholson Hollow in what is now Shenandoah National Park. This photograph, although undated, was almost certainly taken before the people of Nicholson Hollow were required to move by the Commonwealth of Virginia to make way for the new park in 1936.

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This photograph (photographer unknown) depicts Sam Corbin and Eddie Nicholson, residents of Corbin Hollow, Virginia at the time that Shenandoah National Park was being created. According to information on the reverse of the photograph, Sam Corbin is on the left, Eddie Nicholson is on the right. The children are not named.

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This photograph was likely taken in Corbin Hollow, Virginia, in 1930 (photographer unknown), along what is now the called the Corbin Mountain Trail. On the reverse of the print in the archives of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC), it says "The Newt and Andrew Nicholson. 1930". Although there is no further information, the photograph likely shows three generations of Nicholsons. "The Newt" is Newton Nicholson (the older man) depicted here. Andrew Nicholson's home was located in Corbin Hollow, while Newton Nicholson's was on the northwest slope of Short Mountain, about two miles to the north of Corbin Hollow along what is now called the Hannah Run Trail. It is possible this photograph was taken there rather than in Corbin Hollow.

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This photograph, likely taken by Ed Garvey of the Potomac Appalachian Trial Club (PATC), shows Corbin Cabin between the time that George Corbin was forced to leave his home and the renovation of the cabin by PATC members in 1953-54.

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This photograph shows Corbin Cabin under renovation in the spring of 1954. The Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC) took over control and maintenance of the cabin from Shenandoah National Park in 1953 and over the course of a year renovated the structure and turned it into a rental property for Club members and guests.
In this photograph one can see the work going on the repair and restore the bunk room on the side of the cabin.

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Photograph of Corbin Cabin, photographer unknown, but likely Ed Garvey. This photograph was taken before the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC) took control of the cabin from the National Park Service and renovated it for use by hikers in 1954.

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Photograph of Corbin Cabin, undated, but between the mid-1930s when George Corbin was forced to move out by the Commonwealth of Virginia and 1954 when the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club renovated the cabin.

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A humorous and artistic account of the "Battle of Corbin Cabin" by anonymous renters in the summer of 2014.
Hikers staying at the shelters and cabins along the Appalachian Trail use the log books to let the world know they were there, to comment on the state of their feet, the weather, the wildlife they've seen recently, on "trail magic" to be found up or down the trail, on creepy or just worrisome people seen along the trail, on the condition of the shelter or cabin, or to leave messages for friends and family. This particularly fanciful entry in the log book at Corbin Cabin, complete with blood stains, is an example of one of the more exceptional genres of log book entries--the fictional (we hope) illustrated story.

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Photograph of Corbin Cabin, undated, but between the mid-1930s when George Corbin was forced to move out by the Commonwealth of Virginia and 1954 when the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club renovated the cabin.

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