Flashback Archives - Appalachian Mountain Club

Flashback

  AMC’s trail-blazing legacy extends back to its founding, in 1876. One of the organization’s first White Mountain projects, constructing Lowe’s Path, involved installing signs on 400 trees. The crew hung a small board every 100 meters (yes, they originally used the metric system) and painted the same information on flat stones, from treeline to…

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From the club’s founding in 1876, AMC’s early membership was concentrated in the Boston area. To communicate with members farther afield, AMC maintained a Committee on Distant Membership. But interest in AMC’s core mission—recreation and conservation—was growing. By 1904, an informal group of New York City-based members had assembled, and in 1912 they were officially…

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Twenty-five years ago this January, the snow-covered shoulder of Mount Adams graced the cover of this magazine beneath a new name: AMC Outdoors. After 86 years of publication, first as Bulletin of the Appalachian Mountain Club and then as Appalachia Bulletin, the title change was the first step in a larger evolution—and a way to…

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The most striking room in AMC’s longtime Boston office spanned the fourth floor of 4 Joy Street, the middle of three connected rowhouses the organization occupied in the city’s Beacon Hill neighborhood until September. Exposed brick walls, massive wood beams supporting a chandelier, a fireplace, and a view of the Charles River conveyed the feel…

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Thanks to hats, shirts, fleece tops, water bottles, patches, pins, and more all bearing the organization’s logo, AMC members wear their club pride on their sleeves. But you’ll never see one of the most iconic pieces of AMC swag on the trail: car window decals. In the mid-1900s, AMC provided metal insignias that members could bolt to their cars. Though popular, these placards proved difficult to fasten to…

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The shiny brass theodolite in AMC’s Library & Archives was built by a British firm, likely in the late 1800s, but its exact provenance and its path to AMC remain unknown. Artifacts make up a small portion of AMC’s collection, but the theodolite’s relationship to AMC’s own history of cartography and trail building is strong…

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Months after forming AMC in 1876, club officials entered the publishing world with the first edition of Appalachia. The journal, which remains in print today, featured mountaineering narratives, conservation stories, and club news. Despite that success, more than a decade passed before AMC published its first book. AMC’s inaugural title, Mountaineering in Colorado, was published…

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ULTRALIGHT BACKPACKING GEAR might seem like a modern phenomenon, featuring the latest and lights high-tech materials, but the idea dates back to the very beginning of organized hiking in New England. More than two dozen outdoors organizations attended the first meeting of the New England Trail Conference (NETC) in 1916. These college outing clubs, hiking…

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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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