Appalachian Trail Histories

Myron Avery on Hawksbill Mountain in Shenandoah National Park with his famous measuring wheel. Avery was rarely without his wheel when he was on the trail.

Collection: Builders

Photograph of a large group of members of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club during a hike on the Appalachian Trail in the early 1930s. Club co-founder Myron Avery is pictured to the left with his famous measuring wheel and Frank Schairer, another co-founder and the club's first supervisor of trails is to Avery's left with clippers draped over his head.


Myron Avery points out a trail location in the late 1930s. Pictured with Avery (pointing with an axe) are, from left, PATC members Howard Olmstead, Bob Beach, Dr. Laurence Schmeckebeier, and Mary Jo Williams.

Collection: Builders

The Raven Rock Shelter was built by the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC) in 2010 as a replacement for the Devil's Racecourse Shelter, one of the shelters constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. Because the Devil's Racecourse Shelter was in need of substantial renovation, and because it had become a preferred location for non-hikers to stage parties (it was close to a road), the PATC decided to build the new shelter much further uphill, away from the road, and close to the Trail.

Collection: Trail Shelters

This shelter, located in Washington County, Maryland, is dedicated to the memory of Ensign Phillip Cowall. Its construction was financed with funds donated to the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC) by his parents, David and Cindy Cowall of Salisbury, Maryland, in 1998, in memory of their son, who had loved the Appalachian Trail. The shelter is located 1054.8 miles north of Springer Mountain (GA) and 1135 miles south of Mount Katahdin (ME).

Collection: Trail Shelters

The Pine Knob Shelter sits just north of the footbridge over I-70 near the mid-point of the Appalachian Trail in Maryland. Built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1939, this shelter is an excellent example of the traditional lean to design favored at that time. It is 1046.6 miles north of Springer Mountain (GA) and 1143.2 miles south of Mount Katahdin (ME).

Collection: Trail Shelters

This document dating from 1939 describes the construction of the traditional lean to shelter found along the Appalachian Trail.

Collection: Trail Shelters
Shelter Plans.jpg

This article in the Bulletin of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (Volume 22, no. 4, 1953) describes the first trip to Corbin Cabin by a PATC work crew to begin the process of renovating the structure which had stood empty since 1938 when George Corbin was forced to move out.

Corbin, the builder of the home and its only resident,  came to visit the work crew while they were there to describe his life in upper Nicholson Hollow and to provide some history of the cabin. He was 65 years old at the time.

The work on the cabin was made easier by the crew's ability to drive a jeep down what is now the Nicholson Hollow Trail to bring supplies to the work site. That trail is now impassable to vehicles. In the summer of 2017, a National Park Service historic preservation crew replaced the roof on the cabin and had to fly the roofing materials in by helicopter.

Collection: Nicholson Hollow

This photograph of Corbin Cabin was taken by an unknown photographer c. 1965. It shows the condition of the Cabin following its renovation by the PATC in the mid-1950s.

Collection: Nicholson Hollow
Corbin Cabin 1960s.jpg

This memorandum from Paul G. Favour, Jr., Park Nationalist, Shenandoah National Park, to the Superintendent of the Park, December 19, 1952, details the physical condition of Corbin Cabin at that time. Favour visited the cabin because the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC) had proposed taking over the cabin and restoring it so that it might be used as a rental property for Club members as well as Park visitors. Favour's recommendation that the PATC be permitted to take over the cabin carried the day and in 1953 the PATC began its restoration efforts.

Collection: Nicholson Hollow
NPS Corbin Cabin 121952.pdf