Appalachian Trail Histories

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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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Bridgeton Workers.jpg

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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Jean Stephenson, in the late 1960s, either just before or just after she retired as editor of theĀ Appalachian Trailway News.

Collection: Builders
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Richard Stanton (National Park Service) and Jean Stephenson at a Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club Board meeting, November 1971

Collection: Builders
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Jean Stephenson (left) and Marion Park (right) on a day hike on the Appalachian Trail sometime in the 1930s or 1940s. Stephenson was the long-time second in command to ATC Chairman Myron Avery and Park was the long-serving secretary of the ATC.

Collection: Builders
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The Wayah Gap Shelter in the Nantahala Mountains, in the spring of 1961. The current shelter at this location (now known as the Wayah Shelter) is a more recent structure. The original shelter, pictured here, is a typical three-sided log structure with a dirt floor and a fireplace in front. The trash can in the foreground was typical at many back country shelters until the 1970s, when the trash cans were removed and hikers were expected to pack out what they packed in.

A hand drawn map of Wayah Bald by George Masa in 1932 offers an interesting window into the Trail in this region in its earliest days.

Collection: Trail Shelters
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This image depicts the original version of the Wawayanda Lean-to (shelter) in New Jersey in 1955. This original version of the shelter is a typical example of the three sided log and beam lean-to design that was typical of the early trail shelters. The current version of the shelter was built in 1990.

Collection: Trail Shelters
Wawayanda Lean-to 1955.jpg