Historical mystery: How can 50,000 trees vanish from local memory and maps as well as from Parkway view? We found out during our visit to the newly rediscovered DAR Memorial Forest, planted in 1941-1942 to “memorialize the North Carolina patriots who took part in the struggle for independence.”
Molly Tartt, State Vice Chairman of Commemorative Events of the North Carolina Daughters of the American Revolution, enlightened us with some history before the walk and we were joined by Mary Chandler Smith from the Cradle of Forestry in America Interpretive Association. Molly and Mary were the rugged bushwhackers who rediscovered the location of the forest. They led us from the Devil’s Courthouse parking area to the Mountains-to-Sea trail and on to the Forest, a much easier route! Some of us then climbed to the top of Devil’s Courthouse to view the DAR Memorial Forest from above.
The original dedication of the Forest took place on May 15, 1940. A second dedication ceremony will be held at 8:30 a.m. on October 14, 2016 at the Devil’s Courthouse parking area.
Many thanks to Molly and Mary for taking time to show us this fascinating piece of history.
More information about the origins of the DAR Memorial Forest as well as maps and photographs can be found on the Durham-based Forest History Society blog entitled “How Could We Lose This Forest?” – Searching for the DAR Memorial Forest. July 24, 2015 by Jamie Lewis
(Click on any picture to zoom)
Photography by Ken Borgfeldt and Penny Longhurst