1939: The Completion of Skyline Drive in Virginia

August 29, 1939

A little over eight years after building the road had begun, construction of the 105-mile (169-kilometer) Skyline Drive in Virginia came to an end with the completion of the section between Sweet Run Gap and Rockfish Gap. This road runs the entire length of the National Park Service’s Shenandoah National Park in the Blue Ridge Mountains and that remaining 31-mile (49.9-kilometer) section is located at the southern area of the park. 

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported the following about the completion of that section: “Construction of the final link of the drive has been under way for the past three years and the long anticipated addition of this new area to the scenic wonders of the park that have been enjoyed by an estimated three and one-half million people is now a reality.”

James R. Lassiter, the superintendent of Shenandoah National Park, officially announced the completion of that final link. He also highlighted the newest segment’s key features. “The south section is distinctly different from the north and central sections,” noted Lassiter. “The terrain is more rugged and generally the mountains pile up to obscure more distant panoramas, except at intervals where they are glimpsed through notches and ravines.” Lassiter added, “There are several points, however, that afford magnificent view rivaling any along the entire [105-mile] drive.”   

Skyline Drive remains a must-travel scenic route, especially during the fall when the surrounding foliage is at its most colorful, for many visiting that part of the world. This road is now both a National Scenic Byway and National Historic Landmark. Skyline Drive’s southern point at Rockfish Gap, incidentally, connects with the northern terminus of the Blue Ridge Parkway that continues further south along the Blue Ridge Mountains. 

Photo Credit: Public Domain

For more information on Skyline Drive, please check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skyline_Drive

Additional information on the completion of this route in 1939 is available at https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/byday/fhbd0829.htm

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