Professor Robert McCullough, Department of History

The centennial of Benton MacKaye’s proposal for the Appalachian Trail (AT), published in the Journal of the American Institute of Architects in 1921, is approaching. MacKaye’s complex plan represented a radical effort to use the undeveloped Appalachian region as a strategic battle line against encroaching civilization. Both MacKaye and his friend, architect Clarence Stein, viewed that article as only a sketch of their regional vision, and in 1923 the pair crafted a cross-sectional model of the AT regional plan in the Columbia Valley of northwestern New Jersey. That forgotten sample, explained by MacKaye in a 1924 manuscript, is crucial to any full understanding of the 1921 proposal.

Robert McCullough is a professor in the University of Vermont’s Graduate Program in Historic Preservation. He writes about American landscape history and is the author of several books that touch that topic in numerous ways, including The Landscape of Community: A History of Communal Forests in New England and Old Wheelways: Traces of Bicycle History on the Land. This lecture is drawn from his 2012 book, A Path for Kindred Spirit: The Friendship of Clarence Stein and Benton MacKaye.

He delivered this College of Arts and Sciences Full Professor Lecture Jan. 30, 2017.


College of Arts & Sciences