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Category: Other BRP Writings

Reflections on Building the Digital Blue Ridge Parkway

Reflections on Building the Digital Blue Ridge Parkway

In 2012, I participated in a working group at the National Council of Public History meeting called “Visualizing the Past: Graphs, Maps, and Trees:  Imagining the Future of Public Interfaces to Cultural Heritage Collections.” Each of the working group members wrote a blog post reflecting on our own experiences developing digital humanities projects. My post, “Reflections on Building the Digital Blue Ridge Parkway,” focused on my work with colleagues at the UNC-Chapel Hill Libraries to create Driving Through Time. As…

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I Found It in the Archives!

I Found It in the Archives!

Submission for “I Found It in the Archives” contest, UNC Libraries Anne Mitchell Whisnant 2/10/2011 Almost everything good that has happened to me in the past twenty years came from one afternoon in an archive.  A purple spiral notebook that I treasure holds handwritten notes on a story that began on August 31, 1991 in UNC-Chapel Hill’s North Carolina Collection, and led to fulfilling work and the best family life I could ever have hoped for. I was not especially…

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Roads Taken and Not Taken: Images and the Story of the Blue Ridge Parkway “Missing Link”

Roads Taken and Not Taken: Images and the Story of the Blue Ridge Parkway “Missing Link”

In 2010, as part of the UNC Library’s larger project to digitize and put online many images from the Hugh Morton Collection, I wrote an essay entitled “Roads Taken and Not Taken: Images and the Story of the Blue Ridge Parkway ‘Missing Link’” for the Library’s “View to Hugh” blog. I’m linking it here so people can easily find it. In case the original site where it was posted ever goes away or fails to load, you may find a…

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Conundrums of Commemoration: Blue Ridge Parkway’s Seventy-fifth Anniversary

Conundrums of Commemoration: Blue Ridge Parkway’s Seventy-fifth Anniversary

In 2009, when I was involved (as a board member for Blue Ridge Parkway 75) in planning the celebration of the Blue Ridge Parkway’s 75th anniversary celebration, I wrote a reflection on “Conundrums of Commemoration:  Blue Ridge Parkway’s Seventy-fifth Anniversary” for an issue of Sitelines: A Publication of the Foundation for Landscape Studies (vol. V, no. 1, Fall 2009). My article begins on page 11. A locally-hosted PDF of this publication is also here.

Blue Ridge Parkway’s 75th Anniversary Celebration Begins

Blue Ridge Parkway’s 75th Anniversary Celebration Begins

In 2008, I wrote about the Parkway’s impending 75th anniversary for National Parks Traveler. Here, I reflected on a symposium on Parkway history that I helped organize for the celebration: Titled A Living Past on a Borrowed Landscape: The Blue Ridge Parkway at 75, our symposium aimed to focus on the struggles this park faces as a narrow corridor threaded through a populated region. The scenic views that are key to the Parkway traveler’s experience stretch from the NPS-owned lands…

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The Route to Buying Grandfather Mountain

The Route to Buying Grandfather Mountain

Point of View article first published in the Raleigh (NC) News & Observer, 12 October 2008 The route to buying Grandfather Mountain Anne Mitchell Whisnant and David E. Whisnant Recent reports have brought welcome news that the state will purchase about 2,600 acres of the spectacular Grandfather Mountain for protection as a public park. It’s about time. The first effort to make Grandfather a park came in 1917 when owner Hugh MacRae tried to give 1,400 acres at the top…

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Tarnish on Our National Treasures

Tarnish on Our National Treasures

Anne Mitchell Whisnant David E. Whisnant Originally published in The News & Observer (Raleigh, NC) March 30, 2007 CHAPEL HILL–‘Let’s close the National Parks,” Bernard DeVoto wrote in Harper’s in 1953. Detailing the decay of a park system in crisis as visitation skyrocketed but budgets lagged in the post-World War II years, DeVoto shocked Americans by suggesting that Yellowstone, Yosemite and Grand Canyon be shuttered until citizens in “a more enlightened future” would demand from Congress the funding that would…

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The Parkway Has Never Been Easy, But It’s Worth It

The Parkway Has Never Been Easy, But It’s Worth It

By Anne Mitchell Whisnant Originally published in The News & Observer (Raleigh, NC) October 15, 2006 I’ve spent 15 years traveling the Blue Ridge Parkway writing “Super-Scenic Motorway: A Blue Ridge Parkway History” (University of North Carolina Press). The parkway, Ive learned, has always been a controversial and politically challenging undertaking. Bringing a limited-access scenic highway with an exceptionally wide right-of-way through a populated region could hardly help but stir conflicts. For nearly 75 years, parkway managers have contended with…

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A Two-state Solution for the Parkway’s Woes

A Two-state Solution for the Parkway’s Woes

By Anne Mitchell Whisnant Originally published in The News & Observer (Raleigh, NC) May 5, 2006 DURHAM–America’s beloved Blue Ridge Parkway, the scenic road winding through the North Carolina and Virginia mountains, is in crisis. Though it has been the most popular attraction in the National Parks system since the 1950s, and today draws more visitors than Yellowstone, Yosemite and the Grand Canyon combined, its annual operating budget is only about half that of those parks. Now, with the entire…

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