Blast from the Past- 1978

By Wanda Isaacs

In 1978 the American folklife center and the National Park Service began documenting the lives of people living along the Blue Ridge Parkway as part of a Folklife Project. Under the auspices of the Library of Congress, a book (“Blue Ridge Harvest” ISBN: #0-8444-0341-5) was published as a result of these efforts.

College students took their cameras and tape recorders and began to show up in rural communities asking a lot of questions and taking hundreds of photos. In August of 1978, they were in the areas of Patrick, Carroll, Grayson, Floyd counties, and Surry County, N.C. areas. There were not a lot of photos of Patrick County or its people in the book, but there were some and so I purchased a copy.

Recently while researching family history, I stumbled upon this project again and to my surprise, I found over 300 pictures and many audio recordings of people in many areas of Patrick County. I spent hours looking through all the photos and downloading many of them.

The project showed everyday people doing everyday things like quilting, priming tobacco, beekeeping, tending to their livestock, cooking, and going to churches and dances. For any of you who would like to stroll down memory lane, go to the website Blue Ridge Parkway Folklife Project and click on the link for Patrick County.

I think you will be amazed at all the faces and places you will find. There are hundreds of photos and audio recordings that I feel sure many of you would enjoy seeing and hearing. These photos are downloadable, mostly in black and white, but also many in color. You could also download the audio portions of the project. I hope you will find something you like on this website. I know I did.




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