This coming Friday, June 11, 2010, from 9a.m.-7p.m., the Wheels Through Time Museum in Maggie Valley, NC will be holding the grand opening of a new exhibit titled “Motoring the Blue Ridge: 75 years of the Blue Ridge Parkway.” Slated as an official Blue Ridge Parkway 75th Anniversary event, the exhibit’s will run through June of 2011.
For the past three-quarters of a century, the Blue Ridge Parkway has been an invaluable part of southern Appalachian culture, and holds a deep-rooted connection to the area over which it extends.
Each year, nearly 20 million visitors ride and drive the 469-mile stretch of scenic two-lane road, giving it the nickname “America’s Favorite Drive”.
Reaching from Northern Virginia to the Western tip of North Carolina, the Blue Ridge Parkway is the most visited park in the U.S. National Park system.
During the early 1930s, America was struggling to pull itself out of the Great Depression. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal program was just underway, and the creation of jobs was necessary for the country to regain economic stability.
With the recent openings of two eastern National Parks — the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Shenandoah National Park — and the increasing availability of the automobile, Roosevelt approved the undertaking of a massive public works project to link the two parks via scenic motorway.
Blue Ridge Parkway construction began in 1935, and would continue for over 50 years through 1987, when the last portion in North Carolina was completed.
“Motoring the Blue Ridge” tells the unique story of how the Blue Ridge Parkway has developed into one of the most traveled scenic byways in America. Highlighting various aspects of early construction and its role as a tourism destination over the past 75 years, the exhibit contains dozens of rare and historic photographs acquired through both the museum’s archives and The Library of Virginia’s Photographic Collections.
Showcasing countless historic artifacts and machines used during early parkway travel, “Motoring the Blue Ridge” interprets the parkway through the eyes of both its visitors and the citizens of one of America’s most Motorcyclists have always been attracted to the Blue Ridge for its scenic beauty and curvy mountain roadsbeautiful regions.
The yearlong exhibit is located in the main gallery of the museum’s 38,000 square foot facility, and contains a rotating collection of memorabilia and machines dating back to 1935.
“We’re proud to share the unique history of the Blue Ridge Parkway during its 75th Anniversary, ” said museum curator, Dale Walksler. “Both the Parkway and Wheels Through Time are true All-American experiences, and through this new exhibit, visitors will gain a new understanding of transportation across the Appalachian Mountains.”
The Wheels Through Time Museum houses over 320 of America’s rarest and most historic two- and four-wheeled machines, 99% of which are in running and operating condition. Motorcycle demonstrations and exhibitions are held regularly during business hours, and Haywood County residents receive free admission every Thursday.
For more information, please visit the museum website, located at WheelsThroughTime.com, or call (828) 926-6266.