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Author: Anne Whisnant

80 K-12 teachers studying Parkway at ASU this week and next

80 K-12 teachers studying Parkway at ASU this week and next

(Originally posted to Virtual Blue Ridge’s Blue Ridge Parkway Blog, July 9, 2008) I have just returned from Boone, NC, where I spent parts of two days with a group of K-12 educators who are spending a week at Appalachian State University studying the Parkway and its history. They are there for the first of two sessions of a new “Landmarks of American History and Culture” teacher workshop sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Titled “Not Just a Scenic Road: The Blue…

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History and the GMP, Part 2: An argument for alternative C

History and the GMP, Part 2: An argument for alternative C

(Originally posted on Virtual Blue Ridge’s Blue Ridge Parkway Blog, July 2, 2008) In this and the next several posts, I’m trying to give a historically-informed analysis of the “preliminary alternatives” recently announced for the public’s consideration and commentary to help the Parkway staff writes a General Management Plan for the park. Today’s topic? The comments I submitted in response to Question 1. Read the spring 2008 GMP newsletter and learn about the preliminary alternatives here. Question 1. Is one of the…

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Parkway history at the BRP General Management Plan: Part 1

Parkway history at the BRP General Management Plan: Part 1

(Originally posted to Virtual Blue Ridge’s Blue Ridge Parkway Blog, June 25, 2008) For several years now, the staff at the Blue Ridge Parkway has been working on writing a General Management Plan. Before you start yawning, let me explain a bit: what is a General Management Plan, and why should we care? Partly we should care because the Parkway is under legal mandate to have a GMP under the National Parks and Recreation Act of 1978. That act directs…

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Images that would be worth 1000 words

Images that would be worth 1000 words

(Originally posted to Virtual Blue Ridge’s Blue Ridge Parkway Blog, June 11, 2008) When local people dubbed it “The Scenic” in the 1930s, they recognized what all of us realize – that the Parkway is an intensely visual experience. “See” is the first syllable in “scenic.” But the sources from which a historian works (letters, reports, newspapers) are often mostly verbal, and our understanding of many of the events that those documents record (legislative debates, allocation of funds, administrative decisions,…

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A Parkway murder mystery

A Parkway murder mystery

(Originally posted on Virtual Blue Ridge’s Blue Ridge Parkway Blog, June 4, 2008) The January 3, 1979 Asheville Citizen-Times story was brief and sterile: Four or five gunshot wounds were in Catherine D. Bauer when her dead body was found Monday afternoon in a wooded part of the Cherokee Indian Reservation, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department reported Tuesday. No arrests had been made at the time, the department spokesman said, but he added: `We might have something tomorrow.’ Mrs. Bauer,…

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The adventures of the Blue Ridge Parkway archives

The adventures of the Blue Ridge Parkway archives

(Originally posted to Virtual Blue Ridge’s Blue Ridge Parkway Blog, May 27, 2008) I am writing this post while riding along in my family’s minivan, my computer plugged into the cigarette lighter via a DC/AC converter my husband and I bought when I was doing some early Parkway research. We bought this little device in 1994 because at that time, when I was doing research for my book, the Blue Ridge Parkway’s main collection of historical documents was housed in…

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Designing the Parks conference in Charlottesville next week

Designing the Parks conference in Charlottesville next week

(Originally posted to Virtual Blue Ridge’s Blue Ridge Parkway Blog, May 14, 2008) Writing a book of history can often be an intensely solitary process. Hours alone in the archives, communing with long-dead people as your only companions. I know I’ve had a running conversation in my head with Parkway location engineer R. Getty Browning, dead since the late 1960s, but as alive to me as many of the real people in my world. More on him in a future…

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Finding a lost road and a lost history

Finding a lost road and a lost history

(Originally posted on Virtual Blue Ridge’s Blue Ridge Parkway Blog, May 7, 2008) People often ask me – where is your favorite (fill in the blank: camping spot, hiking trail, place to eat, place to stay) along the Parkway. While I do have some recommendations, I’m not as good a source about things like this as some other people like author Danny Bernstein who have written books about being outdoors. People forget that a lot of a historian’s time is spent sitting…

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Parkway historical marker at Low Gap: Should it be changed?

Parkway historical marker at Low Gap: Should it be changed?

(Originally posted on Virtual Blue Ridge’s Blue Ridge Parkway Blog, April 30, 2008) A North Carolina state historical marker (#M-49), located on the Parkway in Alleghany County, NC near Cumberland Knob park says the following: “BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY: First rural national parkway. Construction began near here on September 11, 1935.” As poetic in some ways as it may seem that the memory of this happy event might lift the sad pall that has in recent years settled over “September 11th,” the…

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The Parkway’s 75th Anniversary

The Parkway’s 75th Anniversary

(Originally posted on Virtual Blue Ridge’s Blue Ridge Parkway Blog, April 23, 2008) The Blue Ridge Parkway’s 75th anniversary is coming up in 2010. Like in 1985, when its 50th anniversary was celebrated, a two-state planning group has been formed to coordinate the festivities. “Blue Ridge Parkway 75, Inc.” consists of perhaps thirty board members – of which I am one – drawn from Parkway communities and partner organizations. One of our first discussions, of course, was “when is the 75th anniversary?”…

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