Stonemasons , engineers, landscape architects, surveyors and so many others were part of the building of the Blue Ridge Parkway, between 1935 and 1987, milepost 1 to milepost 469, Cumberland Knob groundbreaking to Linn Cove Viaduct completion.
In a way, the parkway is part of the family for Norma Lugar, who is editor of Mountain Homes and senior editor of The Roanoker, sister magazines of Blue Ridge Country.
Lugar, also a veteran of newspaper reporting and public relations, grew up visiting construction sites and traveling the parkway with her father David many of the parkway’s Virginia bridges.
In her column, “Our Time,” in the January/February issue of The Roanoker, she writes:
“Perhaps my father sensed something momentous from the start.
“At least, he had a special love for the first of the road’s bridges, which his small construction company built in 1937 atop Afton Mountain. He liked that span, cut from rock by the Italian stonemasons he’d brought from West Virginia, so much he had it professionally photographed and hung in his office where it stayed until years after his death.
“Other bridges followed. The longest – a triple span in Galax. The most: a cluster around Roanoke where he was hit by a car, broke 13 bones and spent a year bedridden while his trusted supervisors saw that the work went on.”
She remembers “passing through my father’s office as he held a late night conversation with ‘Stan,’ the road’s famed architect Stanley Abbott. Not just a bloodless name but a real, breathing person.”
On this pages are photographs from her own collection, previously unpublished, of her father, an infant road and the workers who shaped and transformed the landscape of these 469 miles through the mountains.