Flashback

The 75th anniversary of AMC’s first bike trip got us thinking about how the second World War changed outdoor recreation. While WWII unfolded overseas, a host of challenges faced those on the home front, from a gas shortage to a depleted workforce. Although recreation was far from a priority, the war did much to shape…

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Humans have hiked and paddled and climbed for centuries, but specialized outdoor-recreation gear is a relatively new invention. Advertisements in Appalachia, AMC’s member-publication-turned-journal, mirror the evolution of this industry across the decades. Clothing and equipment ads started appearing in Appalachia in the 1930s, as interest in skiing spread. Early ads featured fur-trimmed snowsuits and parkas,…

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» CLICK IMAGE ABOVE TO LAUNCH SLIDESHOW   When AMC’s Mountain Leadership Committee (MLC) was established in 1958, it came with a clear agenda: a multifaceted campaign “in response to the growing need for action in the field of mountain safety,” as announced in Appalachia. Although the backpacking boom wouldn’t fully hit for another decade,…

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» CLICK PHOTO ABOVE TO LAUNCH SLIDESHOW On July 8, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson dedicated 5,000 acres on Maine’s Mount Desert Island as Sieur de Monts National Monument. The National Park Service (NPS) was founded later that summer and, in 1919, Sieur de Monts was redesignated and renamed Lafayette National Park. Doesn’t sound familiar? A…

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» CLICK PHOTO ABOVE TO LAUNCH SLIDESHOW   When a Boston medical-supply company introduced The Appalachian Emergency Outfit at $2.50 apiece, circa 1920, initial sales were slow. Manufactured by Boylston Street’s E.F. Mahady Co. specifically for AMC, the backcountry first-aid kit failed to entice club members because, as a 1921 AMC report claimed, “so confident…

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In AMC’s early years of trail work, members concentrated on building new trails in the White Mountains. The organization oversaw the construction of iconic routes through King Ravine, the Great Gulf, and Tuckerman Ravine, along with many other trails that remain in use today. But as trail mileage grew, so did the need for regular maintenance. At first, AMC hired local woodsmen to occasionally clear trails. Then, in…

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Many history books have a limited shelf life, but Chronicles of the White Mountains, written by Frederick W. Kilbourne and published in 1916, remains in print a century later. The massive typed and handwritten manuscript of what was the most comprehensive history of the region to date now resides in AMC’s Library & Archives, along…

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As soon as her 2014 hut-to-hut hike was over, Becky Fullerton began brainstorming her next White Mountain trek. For the 2015 centennial of AMC’s Lakes of the Clouds Hut, she wanted something different. Something special. And then she had it: She would hike in 1915 period garb, knickers and all. As AMC’s archivist, Fullerton is…

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Edward G. Chamberlain (1845-1935), one of AMC’s earliest members, immersed himself in mapmaking from a young age. He devoted his life to surveying and cartography, both for the commonwealth of Massachusetts and for AMC, and eventually became the organization’s unofficial cartographer. When he took it upon himself to volunteer his assistance at an AMC outing…

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Early 19th century hikers didn’t have much specialized gear. They wore cotton and wool and leather. But hiding in plain sight in many AMC photographs from the era is a trailblazing item: a tin AMC cup, often seen dangling from backpacks or hanging by their wire handles from belts. An ad in the back of…

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