Virginia's Lost AT

On July 5, 1951, Gene Espy passed through Galax, Virginia on his way north from Mount Oglethorpe in Georgia. Espy, from Cordele, Georgia, was the second person to successfully hike the entire Appalachian Trail in one season.

This story, from the Galax Gazette is particularly interesting for the discomfort of the reporter with Espy's beard. In 1951, a bearded man was often suspected of being either a vagabond or a communist. In his book about that 1951 hike, Espy describes several times when he was misunderstood because of that beard.

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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.

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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.