History of the Blue Ridge Parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway

The vision of the Blue Ridge Parkway began during the Great Depression. In 1935 President Franklin D. Roosevelt approved the creation of this scenic highway as part of the National Park System and allocated 16.5 million dollars to the project. Part of its purpose was to provide jobs and desperately needed income to as many people as possible.

Historical photo of a section of the Blue Ridge ParkwayHistorical Photo of a CCC camp building the Blue Ridge ParkwayHistorical Photo of the Blue Ridge Parkway North of Asheville
Historical Photos courtesy of The Library of Congress

The monumental labor of building the 469-mile highway that mostly travels along the spine of mountain ridges was performed by thousands of members of the "New Deal's" Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) as well as state and federal highway departments, private contractors, and immigrants. From 1935 to World War II, which forced the cessation of construction, about half of the Blue Ridge Parkway was completed. Building continued after the war, but the careful conservation required to protect the fragile ecosystem of the Blue Ridge Mountains caused further delays. In the 1960's all but one section was open to the public. In 1987, 52 years after its conception, the final section around Grandfather Mountain, which includes the award-winning Linn Cove Viaduct, was finished.

Blue Ridge Parkway

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Blue Ridge Parkway History