Celebrating Mountain Heritage

The Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC) honors the history and heritage of the many hundreds of families that once called the Blue Ridge Mountains home through a variety of activities, events and partnerships.

Creating a Digital Record – The Formation of Shenandoah National Park

Creating a Digital Record – The Formation of Shenandoah National Park

Read about an effort to digitize the thousands of legal documents related to the condemnation of private land within eight counties for the creation of the Shenandoah National Park. The goal is to make all of the deed book records, court proceedings and individual condemnation case files publicly accessible and searchable via an online database. The effort will forever memorialize the sacrifice made by so many, for the creation of a national resource we all enjoy today.

These Hills Were Home

These Hills Were Home

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A walking history guide to the Blue Ridge Mountains of Northern Greene and Western Madison County, Virginia. This new book, written by PEC’s Kristie Kendall, provides a historic context and trail guide for life in the mountains, from the first white settlers through the 1930s, when land was obtained for the creation of Shenandoah National Park.

Annual Mountain Heritage Events

Annual Mountain Heritage Events

Attendees check out a schedule of events during the 2015 event at the Thornton 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 misrepresentation and a lot of 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.

Blue Ridge Heritage Project

Blue Ridge Heritage Project

The Blue Ridge Heritage Project
unveiled its first memorial site
in 2015 in Madison County.
Photos by Kristie Kendall.

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 Coordinator, Kristie Kendall, and PEC Board Member, Roy Dye. 

The Great Homecoming:  An Open House at the McAllister Cabin

The Great Homecoming: An Open House at the McAllister Cabin

Despite some rainy weather, nearly 250 people visited the McAllister Home as part of an event that celebrated Albemarle’s Mountain Heritage. Bob and Carroll Gilges, who own the building and surrounding land, graciously opened their property to the commu­nity for the event. PEC sponsored and organized the celebration with help from Doug Decker, Phil James, and Larry and Debbie Lamb, who had family connections to Sugar Hollow and throughout Albemarle County.