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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Near Spruce Pine in Mitchell County, North Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

First Mountain Parkway

Crest of the Blue Ridge Highway

 
 
First Mountain Parkway Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, October 5, 2019
1. First Mountain Parkway Marker
Inscription.  The scenic mountain highway idea originated long before the Blue Ridge Parkway project began. In 1906, Joseph Hyde Pratt, North Carolina's State Geologist, proposed a toll road following the crest of the Ridge mountains from Marion, Virginia to Tallulah, Georgia.

Pratt, anticipating rapid growth in the automobile industry, believed the new mobility would bring vacationers to the North Carolina mountains. In 1912 his Appalachian Highway Company began construction of the "Crest of the Blue Ridge Highway.” About eight miles of unpaved roadway were built before World War I halted construction. Years later, the concept of a scenic mountain parkway emerged again and gained national attention. The idea became reality in 1935 when the National Park Service began construction on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
 
Erected by National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Blue Ridge Parkway marker series.
 
Location. 35° 52.994′ N, 82° 0.607′ W. Marker
Marker detail: Building the “Crest of the Blue Ridge Highway,” 1913 image. Click for full size.
2. Marker detail: Building the “Crest of the Blue Ridge Highway,” 1913
is near Spruce Pine, North Carolina, in Mitchell County. Marker is on Blue Ridge Parkway (at milepost 327.3), mile east of Altapass Highway, on the left when traveling south. Marker is located at the Blue Ridge Parkway's North Cove Overlook. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Spruce Pine NC 28777, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 11 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Loops (approx. 1.1 miles away); Apple Tree (approx. 1.2 miles away); Gillespie Gap (approx. 3.1 miles away); Spruce Pine Mining District (approx. 3.1 miles away); "The Blackwater Men Had Come Over the Mountain" (approx. 3.1 miles away); Cathey's Fort (approx. 6 miles away); Penland School (approx. 7.1 miles away); Crossnore School (approx. 10.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Spruce Pine.
 
Also see . . .
1. Blue Ridge Parkway. Pratt intended the road to be 24 feet wide, with a sand-clay or gravel surface and a gradient not exceeding 4.5 percent. The estimated cost was $5,000 per mile. Portions of the route had already been constructed, such as the Yonahlossee Road around Grandfather Mountain's south flank from Blowing Rock to Linville, but the more technically daunting segments through the Black Mountains and Great Craggies had not been laid out until the summer of 1910, when a surveying crew began work. Pratt apparently planned to use convict labor to help keep the costs as
Marker detail: Proposed route of the Crest of the Blue Ridge Highway based on original map image. Click for full size.
Courtesy of North Carolina Geological and Economic Survey
3. Marker detail: Proposed route of the Crest of the Blue Ridge Highway based on original map
low as possible, although he recognized that the expense of laying the road through these rugged mountains might exceed $12,000 per mile. (Submitted on October 5, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

2. Pratt, Joseph Hyde. Pratt provided vigorous leadership in organizations ranging from the North Carolina Symphony Society to the Chapel Hill Red Cross, to being regional engineer for the Civil Works Authority, the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, and the Resettlement Administration in the 1930s. He continued his pioneering efforts on behalf of preserving forests, developing good roads, and establishing a state fisheries commission. He organized the Southern Forestry Congress, the North Carolina Forestry Association, and the Good Roads Association, among others. (Submitted on October 5, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
 
Categories. Man-Made FeaturesParks & Recreational AreasRoads & Vehicles
 
First Mountain Parkway Marker<br>(<i>wide view • Blue Ridge Parkway in background</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, October 5, 2019
4. First Mountain Parkway Marker
(wide view • Blue Ridge Parkway in background)
View North Cove sign (<i>located near marker</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, October 5, 2019
5. View North Cove sign (located near marker)
 

More. Search the internet for First Mountain Parkway.
 
Credits. This page was last revised on October 5, 2019. This page originally submitted on October 5, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 45 times since then and 2 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on October 5, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.
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