Nick Lanier Slides and Negatives of the Blue Ridge Parkway, AV.7019


Nick Lanier Slides and Negatives of the Blue Ridge Parkway, AV.7019

Descriptive Summary

Nick Lanier Slides and Negatives of the Blue Ridge Parkway
Call Number
Lanier, Nick
0.400 cubic feet
Western Regional Archives, State Archives of North Carolina

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Access Restrictions

Available for research

Use Restrictions

Copyright is retained by the authors of these materials, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law (Title 17 US Code). Individual researchers are responsible for using these materials in conformance with copyright law as well as any donor restrictions accompanying the materials.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], AV.7019, Nick Lanier Slides and Negatives of the Blue Ridge Parkway, State Archives of North Carolina, Western Regional Archives, Asheville, NC.

Collection Overview

This collection contains approximately 615 color slides, 153 black and white 35 mm negatives, and 1 black and white 4 x 5 negative of images taken along the Blue Ridge Parkway in 1984 in preparation for the parkway's 50th anniversary.

Arrangement Note

Arranged geographically


The Blue Ridge Parkway connects Virginia's Shenandoah National Park with the Great Smokey Mountains National Park in North Carolina and Tennessee. Col. Joseph Hyde Pratt conceived the idea of such a mountain roadway early in the 20th century. He believed people would use automobiles for recreation and thought a mountain roadway would be an ideal venue for day trips. He envisioned the thoroughfare running from Virginia to Atlanta, Georgia, with most of the roadway passing through North Carolina. It would include a chain of hotels from Marion, Virginia to Tallulah Falls, Georgia. In 1912 Pratt reported to the North Carolina Good Roads Association that he and his men had surveyed the route. Construction began in July that year. A section of road between Altapass and Pineola, North Carolina was completed, but the project was abandoned as the U.S. entered World War I. Although Pratt never finished the endeavor, new groups pushed for the project in the 1930s. The construction of the Blue Ridge Parkway closely followed Pratt's original route.

By 1930, the idea of federally-funded highways connecting national parks became a topic of conversation. Congressman Maurice H. Thatcher of Kentucky proposed a road leading from Washington, D.C. through Virginia, into North Carolina, and continuing to the Great Smokey Mountains National Park in Tennessee. The initial plan bypassed North Carolina altogether. North Carolinians then lobbied for a portion of the roadway. In the end, Tennessee was left out.

Despite his efforts, Thatcher wasn't able to construct the parkway. In 1933, the idea caught the interest of another group. The National Recovery Act of 1933 ordered the Public Works Administration (PWA) to develop a program involving the construction, maintenance, and improvement of public highways and parkways. During that same year President Franklin D. Roosevelt visited Skyline Drive, a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) project in Virginia's Shenandoah National Park. Roosevelt agreed to plans for a similar road connecting Shenandoah and the Great Smokey Mountains National Parks.

Planning and landscape design for the Parkway began December 26, 1933, and nearly two years later, on September 11, 1935, officials broke ground on a twelve-mile section at Cumberland Knob, just south of the Virginia-North Carolina border. On June 30, 1936, an act of Congress placed the Parkway under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service of the U.S. Department of the Interior. Work on the Parkway progressed in strips, as the land required was bought from the owners.
Since construction of the Blue Ridge Parkway fell under the provisions of the New Deal, it required contractors to hire people from the local unemployment rolls, which meant 90% of the workforce came from local communities. Contractors could hire from outside the area when a project required special skills, such as stone masonry.

Work on the road continued until construction was halted during World War II. After the war, limited funding slowed progress.
The Blue Ridge Parkway was finally dedicated on September 11, 1987, following the completion of the last section at Linn Cove Viaduct. Although the dedication occurred fifty-two years after the groundbreaking, portions of the highway had been used for many years. Today the Blue Ridge Parkway stretches for 469 miles, connecting Shenandoah and The Great Smokey Mountains National Parks, providing one of the most scenic drives in the country.

Contents of the Collection

Container Count
1 Box

Subject Headings

  • Scenic Byways
  • Blue Ridge Parkway (N.C. and Va.)
  • Photographs
  • Photography, Documentary