Documenting the American South

The Digital Blue Ridge Parkway

Oral History Interview with Bernard Turner, July 11, 1996

Transcript (21 p.) PDF
Complete Audio File (MP3 format / ca. 164 MB, 01:29:37) MP3
Abstract Bernard Turner talks about his work driving a dump truck filled with gravel for construction of the Blue Ridge Parkway near Meadows of Dan, VA during the fall and winter of 1936. He was 21 years of age and 80 years old during the time of this interview.

In this interview, Turner describes the experience of working with other parkway employees and his employers as a "wonderful experience." He describes in great detail the routine nature of the day-to-day job and the ways in which parkway employees worked, ate, and lived. Turner also describes the conditions of the boarding house in which workers of the parkways lived and describes this experience as especially positive. Discussion of recreation for workers, Turner's dating life, and workers' church attendance is also represented. Turner also discusses the difficulty of working on the parkway during the harsh winter weather.

The second portion of the interview primarily includes conversation between Mrs. Turner and Bernard Turner, in which the Turners mainly discuss their marriage; schooling; Bernard Turner's work before and after his work on the parkway; and Bernard Turner's military service in World War II following his work on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Date July 11, 1996
Interviewee Turner, Bernard
Interviewee occupation Dump truck driver
Interviewee DOB July 25, 1915
Interviewer Gallant, Alicia
Subject Workmen
Road building
Work-life balance