Parkway Started Monday Above Lowgap


Parkway Started Monday Above Lowgap


Blue Ridge Parkway (N.C. and Va.)


Talking about beginning of construction on Parkway -- a really nice description of that first day. Header notes that Virginia part "must wait for meeting of its legislature." Says that more than 100 men started work on the Parkway at NC-VA line on that Monday morning on first section, the contract being awarded to Nello Teer company of Durham. "The men were secured from the relief and unemployment roll of Alleghany County, with a representative of the unemployment office of Winston-Salem on hand personally Monday morning to see that the contractor was provided with sufficient labor from the proper source. As this project is a relief measure all labor as far as possible must be secured from the relief and unemployment rolls."

Says that the first job given to the men was to clear off the "200 foot right of way" [sic]. "Work was started where the Parkway crosses the Lowgap-Sparta road at the Lyons brick house." Clearing timber and growth. Other men unloading and assisting in "getting a huge dirt shovel from the railroad siding at Galax to the scene of operations." "On thing noticeable about the work is that all material and machinery with which to work have been purchased new." Describes the huge shovel which was diesel powered and cost about $25,000. "Numerous caterpillar tractors are on hand and about a dozen large dump trucks will haul the dirt away from the shovel."

Says that engineers from state and federal governments are on hand to supervise. "The foremen on the job say the grading will not be of any extreme heavy character since the survey of the route has followed the contour of the mountain, making long sweeping curves, and avoiding deep cut and high fills. The preliminary survey established a base or center line from which to work and it is said the final survey of the highway has not varied from this first line more than 200 feet."

Says that delay over right-of-way acquisition in VA is happening due to fact that VA highway commission doesn't have authority to acquire land for Parkway purpose thru eminent domain. NC legislature passed needed laws for this early in 1935, but VA legislature doesn't meeting till early 1936 to consider such.

Says that the Lowgap section of the Parkway will have a 50-foot roadbed and 20-foot roadway, with rock surfacing now and another top coating to be added later under another contract. Ends by saying that now that work is underway and the road located, the National Park Service landscape architects are planning for preservation, beautification, and development of the road.


Mt. Airy News


RG 5, Series 44, Box 54, Folder 1, Blue Ridge Parkway Archives, Asheville, NC









Date Created


Original Format




Mt. Airy News, “Parkway Started Monday Above Lowgap,” Blue Ridge Parkway Historical Materials, accessed August 11, 2020,

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