New Blue Ridge Parkway Centennial Challenge projects announced!

Photo by Vicki Dameron
September 12, 2017

Sharp Top Shelter Sunrise.jpg

Sharp Top Shelter at Peaks of Otter, milepost 86 Sharp Top Shelter at Peaks of Otter, milepost 86

We have big news! Through the Centennial Challenge grant program, Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation and National Park Service are teaming up to meet the rehab needs at key historical sites on the scenic route: Humpback Rocks Farm, Sharp Top ShelterMabry Mill and Groundhog Mountain, and Moses H. Cone Memorial Park.

The Centennial Challenge is just that: a challenge. We need your help to match money earmarked by Congress to ensure these projects on the Blue Ridge Parkway go forward. The Foundation is raising $287,358 to be paired with grants for a total impact of $747,000 at these treasured sites. That means that every dollar you give will be more than doubled!

Each of these specially selected project sites has a story to tell about our mountains. Humpback Rocks Farm illustrates the tough but rewarding life that pioneers carved out in the Blue Ridge. Sharp Top Shelter at Peaks of Otter is a testament to the adventurous spirit of those who chose to trek to the summit long before roads took visitors to see the spectacular view. As the waterwheel turns at Mabry Mill, today’s visitors are reminded that Ed and Lizzie Mabry counted on the simple mechanics to earn their living and serve nearby farmers. And the stone walls at Moses H. Cone Memorial Park are a key element of the carriage trails that date back to the days when Moses Cone himself welcomed visitors to enjoy the estate grounds.

Let’s rise to the challenge together and preserve the history of the Blue Ridge Parkway for future generations.

Double Your Impact with these 2017 Centennial Challenge Projects:

Humpback Rocks Farm Preservation (milepost 5.8, Virginia) – The historical structures at Humpback Rocks Farm provide the chance to experience pioneer life on a late 19th century farmstead. Without repairs to the buildings, Parkway travelers will lose the learning opportunities provided by the site. The project will rehabilitate Ramsey cabin, a chicken house, hog pen, root cellar, and spring house. Our fundraising goal: $73,056 Total cost: $292,731

Sharp Top Shelter Rehabilitation (milepost 86, Virginia) – Sharp Top Shelter was built in 1858 as part of the Otter Peaks Hotel to provide rustic overnight lodging for guests willing to make the challenging hike to the summit. The stone building nestled among boulders is greatly deteriorated due to weather exposure and vandalism. With support, the building will be restored to enable interpretive opportunities and provide a safe shelter for hikers during inclement weather. Our fundraising goal: $56,774 Total cost: $113,450

Mabry Mill & Groundhog Mountain Structural Repairs (milepost 176 & 188, Virginia) – With donor support, the Foundation will preserve and protect five historic structures surrounding Mabry Mill and the Groundhog Mountain picnic area. The shake roofs on four buildings will be replaced, as well as rotting logs in the historic cabins. Additionally, the leaking flume used to feed the mill’s water wheel will be repaired. These sites form an outdoor museum that helps interpret and preserve elements of early pioneer life in the region. Our fundraising goal: $51,791. Total cost: $139,654

Moses H. Cone Memorial Park Stone Wall Repairs (milepost 294, North Carolina)– Donors can ensure the restoration of signature stone walls found along carriage trails on the 3,500-acre country estate. This initiative is part of the Foundation’s larger restoration goals for the 3,500-acre country estate listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Our fundraising goal: $105,737. Total cost: $202,000

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