History of Tourism in Western North Carolina through the 1950s


The tourist trade is a mainstay of North Carolina’s mountain economy. Examining the history of the development of this trade lends insight into many aspects of regional Appalachian studies such as the prevalence of poverty in the area, media representations and characters of mountain life, and environmental degradation caused by development. This document is designed as an introduction to the literature available about the history of tourism in Western North Carolina through the 1950s.

Introductory Text: 

Bingham, Edgar. “The Impact of Recreational Development on Pioneer Lifestyles in Southern Appalachia.” Colonialism in Modern America: The Appalachian Case. Boone, NC: The Appalachian Consortium Press, 1978. ASU App Coll HC 107 .A13 c68

Blackmun, Ora. Western North Carolina—Its Mountains and Its People to 1880. Chapter 17. Boone, NC: Appalachian Consortium Press, 1977. ASU App Coll. F261.B56 C3

Compton, Stephen C. Early Tourism in Western North Carolina. Charleston, SC: Arcadia, 2004. ASU Spec App Coll F262.A16 C61

Van Noppen, Ina W., and John J. Van Noppen. Western North Carolina Since the Civil War. Chapter 17. Boone, NC: The Appalachian Consortium Press, 1973. ASU App Coll F 261 .V36

Library of Congress Subject Headings: 

Highly Relevant:

  • Appalachian Region-Southern-Description and Travel
  • Appalachian Region-Southern-Guidebooks
  • Appalachian Region-Tours-Maps
  • Blue Ridge Parkway (Va. and N.C.)-Description and travel
  • Blue Ridge Parkway Region (N.C. and Va.)-Maps, Tourist
  • Blue Ridge Parkway Region (N.C. and Va.)-Tours
  • Camps-North Carolina
  • Church Camps-North Carolina-History
  • Culture and Tourism-North Carolina
  • East Tennessee and Western North Carolina-Railroad
  • Family Recreation-North Carolina-Guidebooks
  • Mountains-North Carolina
  • Mountains-North Carolina-1900-1950
  • Mountains-North Carolina-History-20th Century
  • Mountains-North Carolina-Guidebooks
  • National Historic Landmarks Program (U.S.)-History
  • National Parks and Reserves-North Carolina
  • North Carolina-Guidebooks
  • Outdoor Recreation-North Carolina
  • Railroads-North Carolina
  • Railroads-North Carolina-History
  • Railroads-Southern States
  • Railroads-Southern States-History
  • Recreation-North Carolina
  • Resorts-North Carolina
  • Second Homes-North Carolina
  • Summer Resorts-North Carolina
  • Tourism-Great Smoky Mountains (N.C. and Tenn.)-History
  • Tourism-North Carolina
  • Tourism-North Carolina-Black Mountains-History-Pictorial Works
  • Tourism-Social aspects-North Carolina-History-20th Century
  • Vacations-North Carolina-Guidebooks

Also Relevant:

  • Advertising-Tourism-North Carolina-History
  • Appalachian Region-Encyclopedias
  • Appalachian Trail-History
  • Asheville (N.C.)-Description and Travel
  • Avery County, North Carolina-History
  • Blowing Rock (N.C.)-Maps, Tourist
  • Blowing Rock Region (N.C.)-Maps, Tourist
  • Camps-North Carolina-Banner Elk-History
  • Camps-North Carolina-Blowing Rock-History
  • Camps-North Carolina-Burnsville-History
  • Grandfather Mountain (N.C.)-Description and Travel
  • Grandfather Mountain (N.C.)-History
  • Historic Sites-North Carolina-Guidebooks
  • Historic Buildings-North Carolina-Guidebooks
  • Human Ecology-North Carolina-Mount Mitchell (Mountain)-History
  • Montreat (N.C.)-History
  • Mountain Life-North Carolina
  • Nantahala National Forest (N.C.)
  • Pisgah National Forest (N.C.)
  • Shining Rock Wilderness (N.C.)-Maps
  • Southern Nantahala Wilderness (Ga. and N.C.)
  • Waterfalls-Appalachian Mountains
Clipping Files Subject Headings – W. L. Eury Appalachian Collection: 
  • Appalachian Ski Mountain, Blowing Rock, NC
  • Appalachian Trail
  • Ashe County, NC
  • Asheville, NC
  • Avery County, NC
  • Banner Elk, NC
  • Beech Mountain, NC
  • Biltmore Estate, Asheville, NC
  • Blowing Rock, NC
  • Blue Ridge Mountains
  • Blue Ridge Parkway
  • Boone, NC
  • Buncombe County, NC
  • Camps
  • Chimney Rock, NC
  • Clingman’s Dome, NC
  • Culture-Appalachia
  • Fairs and Festivals
  • Flat Rock, NC
  • Grandfather Mountain, NC
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • “Horn In The West”, Boone. NC
  • Linville Caverns, Linville, NC
  • Linville Gorge, NC
  • Mineral Springs, NC
  • Mountains
  • Mountains, NC
  • Mt. Mitchell, NC
  • NC-Western-History
  • Parks
  • Parkway
  • Railroads
  • Resorts
  • Tourist Trade
  • Tourist Trade-Watauga County, NC
  • Tweetsie Railroad, Blowing Rock, NC
  • “Unto These Hills”, Cherokee, NC
  • Watauga County-History
  • Watauga County, NC
Library of Congress Call Numbers: 
  • F217
  • F217.A65
  • F230-F264
  • F264.A8
  • F264.B59
  • F443
  • GV194
  • GV982

Frome, Michael. Strangers in High Places: The Story of the Great Smoky Mountains. Knoxville, TN: University of Tennessee Press, 1994. Expanded Ed. ASU App Coll F443.G7 F7

Parlow, Anita. The Land Development Rag. Knoxville, TN: Southern Appalachian Ministry in Higher Education, 1976. ASU App Coll HD 111 .P37

Tennessee Valley Authority. Recreational Development of the Southern Highlands Region. Knoxville, TN: Tennessee Valley Authority, 1938. ASU App Coll GV54.A137 T4

Starnes, Richard D. Creating the Land of the Sky: Tourism and Society in Western North Carolina. Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press, 2005. ASU Spec App Coll G155.U6 S66

Guides, Encyclopedias, and Dictionaries: 

Abramson, Rudy and Haskell, Jean. Encyclopedia of Appalachia. Knoxville, TN: University of Tennessee Press, 2006. ASU Spec App Coll F106 .E53

Beverly, Robert. The Western North Carolina Almanac, 2nd Edition. Franklin, NC: Sanctuary Press, 1995. ASU App Coll F261.B49

Federal Writers Project. North Carolina, A Guide To the Old North State. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1939. ASU App Coll. F259.F44

Lindsey, Thomas H. Lindsey’s Guide Book to Western North Carolina. Asheville, NC: The Randolph-Kerr Publishing Co., 1890. ASU App Coll CLO F259.L75


Appalachian Bibliography. 1970. Morganton, WV: West Virginia University Library. ASU App Coll. Z 1251.A7 A6

Bibliography on the Appalachian South. Clintwood, VA: Council of the Southern Mountains. 1973-1974. ASU App Coll Z1251.A7 B5

Bingham, Edgar. “A Bibliography of Appalachian Geography.” Appalachian Journal. Autumn 1977, Pp 70-71. Boone, NC: Appalachian State University.

Coulter, E. Merton. Travels in the Confederate States. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1948. ASU App Coll Z1251.S7 C68

Thompson, Lawrence S. “Ante-Bellum Appalachia: Three Decades of Travel Before the Civil War.” Appalachian Notes. Second Quarter, 1974. Pp. 17-24. ASU App Coll F216.2 .A85 v. 1-5

Thompson, Lawrence S. “Appalachia in the Civil War: A Bibliography of Travel Accounts.” Appalachian Notes. First Quarter, 1977. Pp. 1-8. ASU App Coll F216.2 .A85 v. 1-5

Thompson, Lawrence S. “From Elvas to Chattanooga: Three Centuries of Travel In Appalachia; 1540-1820.” Appalachian Notes. Second Quarter, 1973. Pp. 1-11. ASU App Coll F216.2 .A85 v.1-5

Abstracts and Indices: 

Alternative Press Index. College Park, MD: Alternative Press Centre. Quarterly, 1969-.ASU REF INDEXES A13 .A27

America, History and Life. Part A. Santa Barbara, CA: Clio Press. ASU REF INDEXES E11 .A45

Historical Abstracts. Santa Barbara, CA: American Bibliographical Center-Clio Press. Quarterly. ASU REF INDEXES D 299 .H5

Leisure, Recreation, and Tourism Abstracts- Online Resource, Belk Library

Sociological Abstracts. San Diego, CA: Sociological Abstracts, inc. Quarterly, 1953-October 1957; 5 issues a year, October 1975; 6 issues a year, December 1989-. ASU REF INDEXES HM1 .S67


Appalachian Journal. Boone, NC: Appalachian State University. Quarterly, Autumn 1974-; Semiannual, Autumn 1972-Spring 1974. (Index volumes 7, 18, and 23) ASU App Coll F216.2 A66

Mountain Life and Work. Berea, KY Berea College. Monthly (Bi-monthly July and August) December, 1970; Quarterly, April 1925-Summer 1965. ASU App Coll GR 103 .M5

North Carolina Historical Review. Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Historical Commission. Quarterly, 1924-. ASU App Coll F251 .N892

Now And Then. Johnson City, TN: Center for Appalachian Studies and Services. Tri-Annually, 1984. ASU App Coll F217 .A65 N68

Touring. Asheville, NC: Southland Tourist Pub. Co. Monthly, 1934-1938. ASU App Coll CLO F261 .T68

Compiled by: 

Compiler: Logan Brown, 14 December 1999

Updated by: 

Updated: Taylor Kirkland, 7 October 2008