Appalachian Trail Histories

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In 1951, four hikers traversed all or almost all of the Appalachian Trail from end to end in one season. Three of those hikers, Gene Espy, Chester Dziengielewski, and Martin Papendick, hiked the entire trail, making them the second, third, and fourth thru hikers after Earl Shaffer in 1948. Bill Hall completed all but 300 miles of the trail, skipping the route between Roanoke and Damascus to save time and money. Pictured here, from left to right, are Dziengielewski, AT founder Benton MacKaye, Bill Hall and Gene Espy. The photograph was taken in October 1952, at a dinner hosted by the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club to honor the three hikers who attended. Papendick was thru hiking the Pacific Crest Trail at the time.

Collection: Hikers
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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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A group of hikers on the summit of Roan Mountain in North Carolina, May 6, 1934. The group includes, from left to right in front, Sonny Morris, Harvey Broome, and Albert Gordon "Dutch" Roth. From left to right in back, Benton MacKaye, Guy Frizzell, Mack, Fred Shelly, and Marshall Wilson. Roan Mountain is the high point of the Roan-Unaka Range of the Southern Appalachian Mountains and is the last point above 6,000 feet for northbound thru hikers.

Collection: Hikers
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Benton MacKaye's article in The Journal of the American Institute of Architects 9 (October 1921):325-30, in which he proposes the Appalachian Trail.

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Photograph of Benton MacKaye and Myron Avery at Bake Oven Knob, October 1931. This is the only known photograph of the two men together.

Collection: Builders
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This map of a proposed Appalachian Trail appeared in Benton MacKaye's essay, "An Appalachian Trail: A Project in Regional Planning," Journal of the American Institute of Architects, 9 (October 1921): 325-30. It shows the original route he had in mind for the Trail as well as a variety of connecting trails that either existed or were already in the planning or construction stages.

Collection: Maps
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Benton MacKaye, who was first to propose the Appalachian Trail, poses for a photo along the Trail near Newfound Gap in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on September 24, 1933.

Collection: Builders
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Map of the proposed Appalachian Trail, hand-drawn by Benton MacKaye for the first meeting of the Appalachian Trail Conference, March, 1925. Although this map became the blueprint for the Trail, the final terminus for the path ended up being Springer Mountain, not the Cohutta Mountains of North Georgia as he proposed in this map.

Collection: Maps
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