Shenandoah National Park Oral History Collection

It’s kind of hard to ignore the fact that JMU is located in one of the most beautiful regions of the country: the Shenandoah Valley. We glimpse the mountains as we drive to campus, and Carrier and Rose Libraries have incredible views of the trees and hills that make up this gorgeous region.

valley1In the Oral Histories section of our department, we have the Shenandoah National Park Collection which is a series of interviews with more than 130 individuals who grew up in the Valley before the Park was approved in 1926 by Congress. By the time the Park opened in 1935, more than 450 families had been relocated from Park boundaries, and these interviews are recollections of life before and after the move.

What makes these interviews so interesting for me in particular is that I am currently studying Southern literature and there are many connections between these oral histories and the themes, characters, and events you read about in a Faulkner or Flannery O’Connor story.

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One Reply to “Shenandoah National Park Oral History Collection”

  1. My Mother, Lottie Lee Merica, was born in 1918 on Naked Creek in Page County, the border of Page and Rockingham Counties. Now deceased, she was the daughter of John Merica and Ila Ann Meadows Merica Cardin. John homesteaded on Naked Creek and there built the house in which he and his first wife, Victoria Frazier, lived. It is still there and occupied. The Merica and Meadows families were also related to Caves and Thomas’ who homesteaded on Skyline Drive at Big Meadows. One of those homestead’s foundations are found in the woods near the family cemetery at the intersection of the AppalachianTrail and the fire road going to Stanley. I am a 1963 and 1968 graduate of the then Madison and now JMU. Sandy Davis Venice, Florida

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