Let me preface this by saying that I have not made nearly as much progress as I would have liked to by this point. That being said, most of the progress that I have made has dealt with the timeline. I suppose I am ok with this… the timeline is one of two interactive components on our website, so it is important that it be fully developed. I expect that I will have it completely done, citations and all, within the week.
I have neglected to explore many secondary sources, although I suspect Anne Whisnant’s works will play a big role in our project, both for her personal interpretation of BRP history as well the wealth of primary sources that her book and website contain.
Overall my (personal) lack of progress is disheartening and embarrassing. I am, however, very pleased to announce that Liz and I have made plans to visit the Western Regional Archives (WRA) tomorrow to begin researching! The WRA houses two collections that are of particular interest to us. First, they are in possession of a collection of photographs from the Blue Ridge Parkway. These pictures show everything from the construction of the parkway to buildings that were on the parkway and possibly more. There are a dozen or so boxes, so I haven’t gone through them all. The WRA recently came in possession of a collection from a local tourism commission. This collection has articles upon articles of leaf-lookers in Western North Carolina, and I am told that there are dozens pertaining to the Parkway. We imagine our website having a section under “Tourism” that discusses leaf-lookers, so we are hoping that we may possibly gather a lot of sources for this page. Maybe—dare I hope?—enough sources for the page. Liz also gave me an ethnography that she got from the National Park Service folks about people in this region and their relationship with the BRP. I haven’t been able to peruse this source quite yet, but my understanding from the abstract was that this source focuses on locals in the area. Perhaps I will use our free class time tomorrow to set down with a nice cuppa and read this ethnography.
I sincerely apologize for my poor progress this past week or so, but we are planning to kick things up a notch beginning tomorrow. If our hunches and Heather South’s description of her collections are anything to judge by, we will be finding more pictures and leaf-looker articles than we know what to do with!