Landmarks of American Nature Writing

18. The Culture of Nature

The least "literary" materials in this exhibition, these texts may nevertheless be the most significant landmarks of all, because they illustrate the ways in which the landscape of this region has been reshaped in the twentieth century by the forces of "progress," tourism, and economic development.


E. Alexander Powell. The Beckoning Land. Roanoke, Va.: n.p., 1914.

"Substantial farm houses look down upon well-kept farms with neat stables and whitewashed fences; sleek cattle stand knee-deep in grassy meadows; trim schoolhouses peep out from amid the trees at almost every turning; in the spring the mountain slopes are white with blossoming orchards; the station platforms are piled high with the products of farm and factory; the whole land seems a-hum with energy and industry." Such is the vision of Roanoke given by E. Alexander Powell in The Beckoning Land, a promotional publication stressing "the spirit of progress, of up-and-doing." The word Roanoke, Powell proudly points out, means "money."

Darwin Lambert. Illustrated Guide to Shenandoah National Park and Skyline Drive in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Luray, Va.: Lauck and Co., 1947. Presentation inscription from the author. Shown: Map of Skyland Area, opposite entries for Thornton Gap and Mary's Rock.

Naturalist and historian Darwin Lambert was the first employee of the Shenandoah National Park at its opening in 1936 and has since written The Earth-Man Story: Starring Shenandoah Skyline (1972) and The Undying Past of Shenandoah National Park (1989). He prepared this Illustrated Guide to the park in 1947.

David Clark, ed. Blue Ridge Facts and Legends. Charlotte, N.C.: Clark Publishing Co., 1955.

A travel guide to the Blue Ridge Parkway, Blue Ridge Facts and Legends contains advertisements for destinations and accommodations as well as numerous short essays on such topics as the region's trees and wildlife, its Natural Bridge and caves, and--surprisingly--André and François Michaux (section 6).

George Freeman Pollock. Skyland: The Heart of the Shenandoah National Park. Foreword by Harry F. Byrd. Ed. Stuart E. Brown, Jr. N.p.: n.p., 1960.

An early advocate of Shenandoah National Park, George Freeman Pollock was the builder of the famous Skyland Resort on the shoulder of Stony Man Mountain and a pivotal figure in the selection of the park's current location. Skyland is his memoir of the creation and development of that resort in the early twentieth century.


| Exhibit Home Page | Comments | Special Collections | Library Home Page | UVa Home Page |