Power of Place: NEH 2018 Summer Institute

Power og Place: Land and Peoples in Appalachia

Field Trips and Location

Monday, July 9 Mt. Mitchell State Park

Mount Mitchell’s 6,684 feet summit is the highest point east of the Mississippi and was inspiration for one of the nation’s first state parks.  Mount Mitchell State Park encompasses an environment more like that of Canada than the Southeast. Named for the dark spruces and firs that drape the highest mountains, the Black Mountains contain over 20 peaks that surpass 6000’. Although not as long or wide as the nearby Blue Ridge or Great Smoky Mountains ranges, the Black Mountains are indeed the highest. “The mountain, park, and nearby waterfall are named for Dr. Elisha Mitchell (1793 - 1857), a professor at UNC-Chapel Hill. He made several trips to the area over his lifetime to measure the mountains using barometric altimeters. Over several subsequent excursions up the mountain, he arrived at a height of 6,672 - a mere 12’ shy of the actual elevation! Controversy arose later as to which peak in the range was actually the highest, or whether a peak in the Great Smoky Mountains was higher. Mitchell died after falling from the top of a 20 foot waterfall while descending the mountain through thickets of trees and rhododendron on a later trip to settle the argument.” from http://www.hikewnc.info/trailheads/mount-mitchell-state-park/

Wednesday, July 11, Cherokee

Cherokee Qualla Boundary Sign
Kituwah, this 309-acre National Register of Historic Places sacred site is also known as the Cherokee “Mother Town”.  The tribe purchased the land in 1996 from a family who lived on and farmed the land for 176 years. After the land was purchased, the mound and the surrounding acreage were examined. Fifteen burial plots were found and it’s thought there could be as many as 1,000 or more graves on the land. The site, located between Hwy. 19 and the Tuckasegee River, has ‘immeasurable and significant cultural and spiritual value’ to the Cherokee Nation and United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians”.
Chavez, Will. “EBCI Council Designates Kituwah Mound ‘sacred Site’” Cherokee Phoenix. Cherokee Phoenix, 17 Dec. 2013. Web. 12 Jan. 2016.

River Cane At the site of the River Cane Restoration Project, Western Carolina University Professor, David Cozzo, meets us to explore the historical, ecological and cultural importance of river cane to the Cherokee.

Oconlofutee Indian Village, this trip back to 1760 will transport us back to witness the challenges of Cherokee life at a time of rapid cultural change. Interpreters, craftsmen and women provide an intimate look at the Cherokee way of life including construction of a dugout canoe, pottery and baskets being crafted and a blowgun demonstration.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Mountain Farm Museum We enjoy lunch on the grounds of a visitor center in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Following our lunch break, there will be time to explore a log farmhouse, barn, apple house, springhouse, and a working blacksmith shop to get a sense of how families may have lived 100 years ago.

Thursday, July 12 Zebulon Vance Birthplace

This mountain farm featuring the birthplace of NC’s Civil War governor, Zebulon Baird Vance is situated in the Reems Creek Valley of northern Buncombe County. The home has been reconstructed from two standing chimneys and evokes the period of 1795-1840’s. In addition to the home, outbuildings include a tool house, loom house, smokehouse, slave cabin, spring house, and corncrib.

Saturday, July 14 Carter Family Fold

Janette Carter, one of three children of A.P. and Sara Carter, established the Carter Family Fold to honor the memory of her parents and Maybelle Carter who played a historic role in helping give birth to the age of country music beginning in 1927.  The original Carter Family lived where the Carter Fold is today, in Poor Valley, at the foot of Clinch Mountain in southwest Virginia. Since 1974, the non-profit Carter Music Center has presented programs of old time and bluegrass music every weekend. The Saturday concerts highlight the musical style made popular by the Carter Family, considered by many as country music’s first family. In keeping with the traditional music style, no electrical instruments are allowed (everything is acoustic).

Sunday, July 15 Biltmore Estate

Completed in 1895, George Vanderbilt’s 250-room chateau is as impressive today as it was more than a century ago. Biltmore House is truly a wonder of architecture and hospitality. Your admission ticket includes a self-guided tour of the house, as well as the beautiful gardens and grounds surrounding it, designed by renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted.  The house tour spans three floors and the basement. You’ll see displays of vintage clothing, accessories, art, furniture, and more that tell stories and illustrate the lives of the Vanderbilt family, their guests, and employees. Get a look at original art by Pierre-Auguste Renoir and John Singer Sargent. Marvel at magnificent 16th century tapestries, a library with 10,000 volumes, a Banquet Hall with a 70-foot ceiling, 65 fireplaces, an indoor pool, and a bowling alley. Almost all of the priceless objects that you see throughout the house are from George and Edith Vanderbilt’s original collection. From the beauty of the Italian Garden to the breathtaking trees in America’s first managed forest, Biltmore’s 8,000 acre lush landscape is a living tribute to Olmsted’s genius.

Tuesday, July 17 Cradle of Forestry

The birthplace of forestry conservation in America, Cradle of Forestry is a trip through 100 years of conservation history along 1.0 mile trail with a one-room schoolhouse, general store, cabins, blacksmith shop, and a garden used by the students of Carl Schenck, a German forester’s Biltmore Forestry School. An additional 1.3 mile trail includes an ozone garden, antique portable sawmill, and a 1915 Climax locomotive.

Wednesday, July 18 Young Men’s Institute

A visit to the Young Men’s Institute, is a step back into late nineteenth and early twentieth century Asheville. This 18,000 square foot Richard Sharpe Smith designed building was financed by George Vanderbilt in order to serve as the equivalent of a YMCA for the black masons, carpenters, plasterers and laborers who worked on his palatial estate.

Institute Location

One of the greatest assets the institute offers is its location in Asheville, North Carolina. Asheville’s open hospitality and rich cultural scene are a direct result of its Appalachian heritage. The UNCA campus is located in the city just a short distance from the center of town, and a shuttle will be available for participants each evening to downtown Asheville. 

“UNCA is beautiful, and just walking around campus was a treat.”

With an enrollment of 3500 students, The University of North Carolina Asheville has repeatedly received national recognition for its outstanding liberal arts curriculum. Its award-winning faculty, outstanding research facilities and nationally acclaimed undergraduate research program have landed it on multiple “Best Buys in Educations” lists.  UNCA has extensive experience running successful summer programs, hosting the six week Breadloaf Summer Institute for the last eight years. For Power and Place, UNCA will provide state of the art classrooms for seminars and smaller conference rooms for breakout sessions. In addition, participants will have access to campus computer labs, recreation facilities, and library. Campus housing and meal plans are available to those who choose for a minimal cost, and we will provide participants information on local hotels and bed and breakfasts as well.

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