I decided to venture on something a little different this week, departing from my normal story telling.
Anyone who visits Madison County, North Carolina usually has Max Patch near the top of their lists as a place to see.
What is Max Patch you ask?
At 4,629 feet above sea level, Max Patch is a giant bald on the very western end of Madison County right on the North Carolina-Tennessee border. The Appalachian Trail snakes across the bald on its way from Georgia to Maine. There is also a 2.6 mile loop trail for people wanting to explore the bald on their visit, taking in the 360 degree panoramic views.
The bald was created sometime during the Nineteenth Century as a place for sheep and cattle to graze. Max Patch was privately owned until 1982 when the United States Forest Service bought 350 acres to prevent a ski resort from being built.
Having lived most of my life in Madison County, the truth is that Max Patch is one of the places I had never seen until four years ago. As a teen working for the Unites States Forest Summer during the Summer of 1980, I had been within one quarter mile of the bald but had never visited!
I have remedied that over the course of the past four years, going back several times, including two jaunts with my friend Kelley St. Germain.
All of that being said, a couple of years ago I stumbled across some old photos which my friend Steve Garrison had posted on Facebook. Having found the photos somewhere within the public domain, I was stunned by the shots. They depicted airplane shows being held sometime between 1930 and 1932 at the bald!
Yes, you read that correctly. Airplane shows.
These were the Jazz Age days of famous barnstormers such as Charles Lindbergh and Wiley Post.
This was also the time of author F. Scott Fitzgerald, who frequented the area and whose writing are probably the most famous of that era.
I have done quite a bit of research and cannot really find anything on these events at Max Patch other than the mentioning of it on the Hot Springs, North Carolina website, www.hotspringsnc.org which I drew most of the above mentioned historical information from.
What a fun time this must have been, seeking cooler temperatures at a higher altitude while witnessing the marvelous invention of North Carolina’s own Orville and Wilbur Wright.
At any rate, I’ve decided that I would just let the photos speak for themselves.
I hope they bring you as much enjoyment as they did for me.
Y’all have a great week!