Digital North Carolina Blog

Digital North Carolina Blog

This blog is maintained by the staff of the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center and features highlights from the collections at DigitalNC, an online library of primary sources from institutions across North Carolina.

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Dozens of New Maps from Western Carolina University Show Off the WCU Campus, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and More

Over 50 new maps and blueprints have been digitized and added to DigitalNC, courtesy of our partner, Western Carolina University. Stretching from 1927 to 1988, these maps detail the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Great Smoky Mountains, Jackson County, the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, and more.

A section of the master plan to WCU, dated April 1978. E.J. Whitmire Stadium is in the top right.

There is a huge amount of variety in the maps in this batch. One map from 1930 includes planting and sectional plans for the Rock Garden Memorial at Western Carolina University. Other maps, such as the Cullowhee Quadrangle Map, were commissioned by the Tennessee Valley Authority to map entire towns like Cullowhee, Sylva, and Dillsboro and mountain ranges. Several maps were double-sided, and included local information or scenic photographs of interest on the reverse side.

This batch also introduces orthophotos to DigitalNC, the first of their kind on our website. Aerial photographs that have been scale-corrected for use in geographic information systems (GIS), these orthophotos show us how Jackson County looked from above in the 1980s. As you can see, the 1980 orthophoto featured below corresponds to how WCU was plotted out in the master plan above.

The equivalent orthophoto of the above master plan showing WCU, dated April 1980. E.J. Whitmire Stadium is in the top right.

The majority of the maps from this collection detail the Blue Ridge Parkway throughout western North Carolina and Virginia, drawn by the Department of the Interior National Park Service between 1942 and 1967. We also have the privilege to include eight segmented maps of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail from the 1980s.

All of these maps and additions represent an important addition to our collection of knowledge about the Appalachians. To see more materials from Western Carolina University, visit their contributor page or visit their website.


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