Regional History: BUILDING THE BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY

Here is an excellent article written about the Blue Ridge Parkway from the “Blue Ridge NC Guide”. The “Scenic” as it was originally known, is very special to me and countless others. Some great history can be seen at the Cumberland Knob near the NC/Va line as well as a special view of Pilot Mountain. Cumberland Knob is the Blue Ridge Parkway’s oldest overlook, with lots of places for picnic and hiking. It shows some great pictures also of what the same landcscape looked like before the parkway. It was surprising.

Blue Ridge NC Guide

In the early 20th Century, there were very few National Parks in the eastern portion of the United States. Forward-thinking dreamers in the government purchased the lands for Shenandoah National Park and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the late 1920’s, and that led to the idea of a plan for a scenic motor road that would connect the two parks and their respective states, Virginia and Tennessee.

In its beginnings, the project was originally known as the Appalachian Scenic Highway. Early plans for the roadway called for it to span three states: Virginia, North Carolina, and Tenneseee, but a specific route could not be planned until funding was secured in late 1933. A few months later, North Carolina and Tennessee began arguing about the end point of the road, and each state sent their own proposals followed by months of lobbying federal officials. Finally, in late 1934, after…

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