Appalachian Trail Histories

Pass Mountain Hut was built in 1939, and is constructed largely out of stone. It is located in Shenandoah National Park, on the east face of the mountains, about one mile north of Thornton Gap, where Highway 211 crosses Skyline Drive. Today the area around the shelter is heavily wooded, but when it was first built hikers had views up to Mary's Rock above Thornton Gap and into the foothills of Rappahannock County, Virginia. The Pass Mountain Hut was built and is still maintained by the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club.

Collection: Trail Shelters
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Members of an Appalachian Trail maintenance crew from the Philadelphia Trail Club, March 23-24, 1935, near Little Gap, PA. The crew of 12 spent the weekend clearing scrub oak and other underbrush from the route of the Trail and blazed the new route they had created.

Collection: Trail Clubs
PTC Trail Crew 1935.jpg

The Brink Road Shelter in New Jersey, pictured here in 1937 during a weekend hike of the Philadelphia Trail Club and the New York section of the Green Mountain Club. The old shelter in this photograph has been replaced by a modern structure since 2010. The shelter is just north of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.

Collection: Trail Shelters
Brink Road Shelter (1937).jpg

Smith Gap Shelter (Pennsylvania) under construction in 1948. The was built by members of the Philadelphia Trail Club and was opened to hikers on June 12, 1949. The shelter was built on private land, but in the late 1960s the landowner decided to build a vacation home on the site and turned the shelter into a storage shed. At this time, the Delaware Valley Chapter of the AMC had taken over supervision of the Appalachian Trail in the area from the Philadelphia Trail Club, and Chapter members built a new shelter closer to the Trail in 1973. They dedicated the shelter to their long serving volunteer LeRoy Smith, who passed away shortly after the completion of the current structure.

Collection: Trail Shelters
Smith Gap Shelter (1948).jpg

The Applebee Cabin in Pennsylvania during a weekend hike by members of the Philadelphia Trail Club. The cabin was located on the Appalachian Trail north of what is now the Hertlein Campsite (formerly the Hertlein Cabin), but was removed in 1971 due to excessive vandalism of the structure. The cabin was built in 1930 by the Blue Mountain Eagle Climbing Club and was maintained by the club until its removal from the Trail.

Collection: Trail Shelters
Appleby Cabin (1933).jpg

A member of the Philadelphia Trail Club clipping vegetation along the Appalachian Trail, March 23, 1935, on the Little Gap, PA section of the Trail. Club members "cut scrub oak and cleared nearly half a mile through the thickest growth," and later, "paint[ed] blazes all the way through to meet the blazes in from Smith Gap," according to a report of the trail work weekend. This work weekend was one of many that the Philadelphia Trail Club utilized to build their short section of the Trail in 1935.

Collection: Trail Clubs

The Antietam Shelter, located in the Mont Alto (now MIchaux) State Forest (PA), was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in 1936. It is located on the banks of Little Antietam Creek. Maintained by the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, this shelter is slated to be moved to a new location, possibly on the Tuscarora Trail, in the near future, due to its proximity to the popular Old Forge Picnic Grounds.

Collection: Trail Shelters
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After the Second World War, Roy Ozmer, the man who blazed much of the original route of the Appalachian Trail south of the Peaks of Otter in Virginia, moved to Pelican Key, Florida, where he became a locally famous hermit.

Collection: Builders
Roy Ozmer 1957.jpg

Photograph of Roy Ozmer (1889-1969) and Arthur Woody, chief ranger of the US Forest Service, circa 1930s. Ozmer is standing on the right in this image.

Collection: Builders
Roy Ozmer 1930s.jpg

Official design specifications for an AT shelter privy, published by the Appalachian Trail Conference in 1940. This design remains the most common version of the shelter privy along the Trail.

Collection: Trail Shelters
Privy Design.jpg

Eiler U. Larsen (1890-1975) was the first person known to have attempted a thru hike of the Appalachian Trail (1931). At the time of his hike the Trail was not yet a continuously blazed path from Maine to Georgia, so it is no surprise that he was unable to complete his hike. Prior to his departure from Maine in August of that year, he corresponded with ATC Chairman Arthur Perkins, AT founder Benton MacKaye, and Myron Avery, among others, seeking advice about his route and his plans. Larsen went on to become the unofficial "Greeter of Laguna Beach" (CA), where spent more than a decade greeting all visitor with a loud hello and a big smile.

Collection: Hikers

An advertisement for an early version of the Optimus butane backpacking stove. Lighter weight gear such as this helped make backpacking more accessible for ever larger numbers of hikers.


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