Letter: Part of story missing about Blue Ridge Parkway

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 2, 2021

D.G. Martin’s story Wednesday (“Without Daniels, parkway would have gone to Tennessee”) about how N.C. got the Blue Ridge Parkway and Tennessee didn’t  is not totally accurate and leaves out a major part of the story.

President Roosevelt wanted to pass his Social Security Act, but to get it passed he had to get the support of Congressman Robert Lee Doughton from North Carolina, who was chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. Doughton was from the Laurel Springs area of the N.C. mountains.

So Doughton and Roosevelt did a little “horse trading” so to speak. Doughton told Roosevelt that he would help pass the Social Security Act that had to pass his Ways and Means Committee if Roosevelt would guarantee that the Blue Ridge Parkway would not go into Tennessee and would continue to go from Linville, where it was supposed to go into Tennessee, through North Carolina to the Great Smoky Mountains.

With Doughton’s support, his committee passed the Social Security Act and Roosevelt told Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes that the Blue Ridge Parkway should not go into Tennessee at all but continue from Linville to the Great Smokies in North Carolina.

To thank Congressman Doughton, a large park near Laurel Springs was established along the Parkway, just north of Boone, in his honor. It is a great place rest, picnic and hike.

He was also instrumental in passing legislation that established the veterans hospital here in Salisbury.

— Harlie J. Hoke