PATC History Emerges
(A shorter version of this article appeared in the February 2019 Potomac Appalachian.)
The package arrived in September of 2018. There was no clue what was inside. When the box was opened, PATC Archivist Tom Johnson pulled out a large book that appeared to be a ledger of some kind. It was obviously very old, and across the cover was written "Treasury." Opening the cover he saw hand-written accounts, income and expenses. Some of the entries were in pen, and some written in pencil. The very first entry on the income side was $1.00 paid by one Myron Avery for dues. Reading on down, there were similar entries for Andy Anderson, Frank Schairer, Homer Corson, and others. The date of the first entries was November 22, 1927.
PATC was created on November 22, 1927, and Myron Avery was the first president. This document logged the creation of the club, and is the oldest document in our history. Almost by definition, you can’t go back any farther.
In checking the return address, we found that it was sent by one Bill Blackburn, living in Arizona. Bill happens to be the son of Ruth Blackburn. The Blackburn trail center is named after Ruth and her husband, Fred, pictured at right. Among many other accomplishments, Fred headed the effort to create the Tuscarora Trail south of the Potomac River. Ruth was even more significant in the history of the Appalachian Trail, heading the Appalachian Trail Conference (now Conservancy) in years of crisis in the early 1980s. Through the force of her personality, she pulled the organization out of crisis, and her accomplishments were recognized by Secretary of the Interior James Watt. Ruth retired to Arizona in the 1990s, and died in 2004. The treasury book was presumably in her possessions, and son Bill donated it to the club. Below are pages of the treasury book.
Photos: The photo at the top of the article is of the cover of the book. Directly above are Fred and Ruth Blackburn (PATC file photo). Below are pages of the book.
Treasurer's Book Page One -- Showing Myron Avery's Account
Treasurer's Book Page 200 - Cash Account Receipts
Treasurer's Book Page 201 - Expenses