Attendees check out a schedule of events during the 2015 event at the Thorton Gap Primitive Baptist Church in Rappahannock. Photo by Paula Combs
Each spring since 2012, PEC hosts a mountain heritage day in a different location and different county surrounding Shenandoah National Park to recognize the history and heritage of the families that once lived in and around the mountains.
In the past, there has been a lot of misrepresentation and inaccurate information about Appalachian and Blue Ridge Mountains culture; these events have tried to focus on providing an accurate interpretation of these family histories and honor them in a way that hasn’t been done before.
Each event is held in a historic building that has direct ties to the mountain community of that particular area. We invite local families to come out to share their histories, photographs, and other memorabilia and display it inside the historic building, giving them an opportunity to share their heritage with 250-300 or more visitors from around the state and beyond.
Incorporated in 2013, the Blue Ridge Heritage Project is a non-profit organization dedicated to continue the work of honoring and preserving the culture and traditions of the mountain people. For over three years, the group and its Board of Directors have helped the eight counties where land was acquired to create the Park to plan memorial sites to those displaced in each county and exhibits and demonstrations to tell and show visitors the cultures and traditions of the Blue Ridge.
The Blue Ridge Heritage Project's Board of Directors includes PEC’s Historic Preservation Manager, Kristie Kendall, and PEC Board Member, Roy Dye.
At our Mountain Heritage events we have had historic tract maps of Shenandoah National Park on display. These maps, which are 24"x36", show historic ownership in the Blue Ridge Mountains prior to acquisition of the land for the creation of Shenandoah National. Each tract of land is identified by the former landowner's name and current road and trails overlaid on the map, enable family members to figure out where their relatives once lived.
Due to interest, we are making our mountain heritage maps available for purchase by PEC members.