Virginia's Lost AT

In 1935, members of the Galax, Virginia Moose Lodge decided to hold an "Old Fiddler's Convention" to raise money for the local high school. The organizers thought a couple of hundred people might show up. Instead, they were so overwhelmed by musicians and those who wanted to hear the music, that they had to break that first convention into two sessions. Ever since, the Old Fiddler's Convention has had the goal of, "keeping alive the memories and sentiments of days gone by and making it possible for people of today to hear and enjoy the tunes of yesterday." This advertisement for the first convention appeared in the Galax Gazette during the early spring of 1935.

Fiddlers ad.jpg

The road leading to Fancy Gap, Virginia from Mt. Airy, North Carolina in 1932. The Appalachian Trail passed directly through the town of Fancy Gap on its way south to Fisher's Peak, NC.

Fancy Gap.jpg

The Bluemont Hotel on Main Street in downtown Galax, Virginia, was a popular spot for hikers on the Appalachian Trail who passed through the city on their way north or south. Despite advertising an "automatic sprinkler system," the Bluemont burned in the 1950s and was not rebuilt.


Shirley L. Cole (right) and his brother Ernest (left) was the County Agent in Floyd County, Virginia and the founder of the Southern Virginia Appalachian Trail Association that marked, cut, and graded the first version of the Appalachian Trail in Southwestern Virginia in 1930. Cockram Ridge is along the route of the AT between Meadows of Dan and the Pinnacles of Dan. Photograph by ATC Chairman Myron Avery.

Cole Brothers.jpg

The view from the Appalachian Trail on Horse Knob near the North Carolina border, 1932. This photograph was taken by ATC Chairman Myron Avery during one of his many expeditions to this part of Virginia to supervise the building and maintenance of the Appalachian Trail.

From Horse Knob.jpg

Photograph of members of the SWVA Appalachian Trail Club at Lover's Leap in Patrick County, October 1930. According to a newspaper story in the Galax Gazette, those in the photograph included Mrs. J.K. Caldwell, Miss Vinnie Caldwell, R.E. Cox, B.D. Beamer, Mr. and Mrs. S.C. Cox, and son Worth, and Mrs. Beverly F. Eckles.

The image is part of a collection of scrapbook pages created by PATC founder and ATC Chairman Myron Avery.


A small portion of a much larger map of the public lands in the United States in 1953, created by the U.S. Department of the Interior, that shows the region of Southwest Virginia where the Appalachian Trail was located from 1930-1952.

Lost AT Map 1953.jpg

From 1930-1952, the Appalachian Trail crossed the New River at Dixon's Ferry, just north of the mill town of Fries. Hikers going south would knock at the door of the Dixon family home and request a ride across the river. Those coming north would shout from the far bank, approximately 100 yards away.

Charlie Dixon (rear) or his wife would take them across in the ferry boat pictured here, a typical New River flat bottomed boat, for 5 cents. Charlie Dixon's father, William Oliver Dixon, is in the foreground. The men had been out placing set lines in the river when this picture was taken sometime in the 1940s.

Dixons Ferry.jpg

The Bell Spur Primitive Baptist Church in Meadows of Dan, Virginia, was an important landmark for hikers on the Appalachian Trail in Patrick County, Virginia from 1930-1952. The Trail passed directly in front of the church and, if one was hiking southbound from Meadows of Dan, turned right toward the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Bell Spur Church.jpg

This panoramic image of Lover's Leap in Patrick County, Virginia, is compiled from three photographs taken by ATC Chairman Myron Avery during a hike on the Appalachian Trail in Southern Virginia in January 1932. Avery was scouting the new route of the Trail in this region with local Appalachian Trail leader Shirley L. Cole and his brother Earnest.

Lovers Leap.jpg