As my research progressed this past week, I began to get a clearer idea of how my “Locals” section is going to pan out. I have already expressed the fact that the menu would be changing slightly, but I have settled on two subtopics: “Land” and “Economy”. “Land” will explore the connection between the Parkway, locals, and issues with land. In many cases locals had to evacuate their land because of the Parkway and in other cases they did not have to leave. I feel this is important to explore because it directly affected the lives of locals and in some cases the agriculture as well. Supporting primary sources for this section are the records of land sales, complaints from locals, and information within BRP documents about other ways locals have interacted with Parkway land. “Economy” will focus largely on the proposed effect the Parkway would have on the local economy versus the actual affect that it has had. This sections is perhaps one of the most notable ways that tourist migration on the Parkway has helped shape WNC. In this section I plan on pulling a goodly amount of information from the visitor reports as well as some of the arguments from primary sources that pushed for the BRP to run through WNC in order to boost the economy that had never quite recovered from the Great Depression.
I also wanted to include a section about culture, but I am still unsure whether or not “Culture” should be its own page or should be combined with another. Would “Land and Culture” work, or is “Economics and Culture” better? Or, as I said, should “Culture” become its own freestanding page? Either way culture will appear on the website under “Locals.” As per the course description on the Cultural Crossroads course website, we are encouraged to look at how our migrant community has influenced music, labor relations, agriculture, and arts and crafts. So far my research indicates that the Parkway has effected these institutions by, well, encouraging them to remain the same. One might even say that in the early days of the Parkway local culture was actually urged to present itself as imbibing all the stereotypes that the rest of the nation had in regards to “mountain folk.” Personally I find this a bit depressing since generations of my family have lived here. I mean, who actually enjoys reading stereotypes about their people? Still, it’s interesting to see how locals and surrounding communities may have played on these stereotypes in order to attract visitors. Clearly I still have some things to work out, but I have a much better sense of direction than I did a week ago and have put up a rough draft narrative on my “Locals” landing page. As I continue working on “Locals,” I am also starting to think more about the “Tourists” section that Liz and I will work on together. But we will cross that bridge when we get there.
The website is slowly—piece by small piece—coming together. Liz has added some information in about COPLAC and the project. We are also toying with the idea of having “Did You Know?” or “Fun Fact” sections throughout the website. These wouldn’t be large. They would essentially be small images that would give our readers some fun facts about the BRP. After all, we have gained quite a bit of random information that doesn’t necessarily fit into our actual narrative, but it would be a shame not to use it somehow! Tomorrow Liz and I will go back to the BRP archives to meet up with Jackie and scan some images. We have chosen a variety of pictures that we thought highlighted the history of the Parkway. I am sure we will eventually find some more, but we have over twenty to choose from as of now. We are looking forward to adding some visual primary sources to the website!