Flashback

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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» 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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