Documenting the American South

The Digital Blue Ridge Parkway

Oral History Interviews with Stanley Abbott, 1958

Transcript (63 p.) PDF
Complete Audio File (MP3 format) Unavailable
Abstract Stanley Abbott discusses the early stages of planning and designing the Blue Ridge Parkway and how the parkway evolved in concept. Abbott describes the mountainous land as "unmapped territory," and describes his early meetings with representatives of Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee. Discusses pay for parkway employees during the Great Depression and describes the National Park Service's activity during the New Deal. Abbot also describes his realization of how the Blue Ridge Parkway could serve as a great instrument of conservation.

Abbott devotes much of this interview to discussion of the attitudes of people native to land explored by the parkway toward the National Park Service, parkway employees, and himself. He describes the early resentment and distrust by mountain people and the difficulty in communicating land acquisition issues. Abbott talk about the decision to publish the "Blue Ridge Parkway News" and how it served as a tool of education for local schools, churches, service clubs, and other groups of native mountain people. Displacement is also discussed. Abbott uses first-hand and second-hand stories to illustrate these issues.

Other topics of discussion include the acquisition of wayside parks; relocation of portions of the Appalachian Trail; Ed Abbuehl; Daniel Levandowsky, an agronomist; and Robert A. Wagoner, the first deputy ranger on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Transcript includes a 1974 introduction by S. Herbert Evison discussing the origins of the Blue Ridge Parkway as a setting and the efforts of the National Park Service; and footnotes.
Date 1958
Interviewee Abbott, Stanley
Interviewee occupation Landscape Architect
Blue Ridge Parkway Superintendent
Interviewee DOB Unknown
Interviewer Evison, Herbert
Subject Landscape architects
Land acquisition
National Park Service
Edward H. Abbuehl
Robert A. Wagoner
Daniel Levandowsky