Archives and the Art of Digging

Today (and the past few days, really) were spent with primary and secondary sources. On Thursday Liz and I paid a visit to the Blue Ridge Parkway archives on Riceville Road. I found some reports on visitor usage of the Parkway, including recreational, non-recreational, and overnight. Liz and I also found some correspondences on land acquisition. Apparently selling land to the Parkway was…. not usually by choice in North Carolina. If a landowner refused to sell the state would “condemn” the property, which means the owner would still get money for the land, but they were forced to evacuate it as they could not live on condemned property. It was a pretty messed up way to go about it, but there you have it. This wasn’t always the case but it did happen sometimes.

I also purchased a copy of Anne Whisnant’s book, Super Scenic Motorway: A Blue Ridge Parkway History. I knew it would be invaluable, but it was absolute gold! Not only did it point me in the direction of more primary sources, it also gave me some ideas for the website. Now I am sure our “subtopics” will change, but reading Dr. Whisnant’s book really got me thinking about how I am going to construct the “Locals” section. I am not going to divulge quite yet what I think the new subtopics may be, but I have a few ideas that I hope to play around with in the next couple of days. Our next milestone is October 26th. By this date Liz and I agreed to have a narrative on the Home, Acknowledgments, and About Project pages as well as each of the landing pages for Construction, Locals, and Tourism. We also intended to complete at least one subpage under Construction, Locals, and Tourism done. That being said, we need to figure out our menu and subtopics soon!

While we ponder over our menu we will be visiting the BRP archives again (on Tuesday, I believe) where Jackie has more than enough documents to keep us busy. And in between visits to the archives we have digitized primary sources to explore, the website design to work on, and secondary sources to peruse. So much to do, so little time!

One thought on “Archives and the Art of Digging

  1. Appreciate the attention to contract goals/dates mentioned here — much obliged. On the condemnation of property — State of North Carolina or Federal Government? I’m thinking the latter for parkway.

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