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For immediate release:


April 4, 2003

Lisa J. Bowling,  (540) 365-4307

     Since the late 1800s, travelers to the Blue Ridge Mountains have been sending postcards of everything from gigantic apples to town squares. This photographic legacy offers a unique view of western Virginia architecture, commerce, and scenic vistas. Two new exhibits at Ferrum College’s Blue Ridge Institute & Museum, the State Center for Blue Ridge Folklore, create a 50-year window into Virginia’s past with regional images featured in more than 1,000 vintage postcards. Wish You Were Here: Postcards From the Blue Ridge and Riding the Lee Highway: Route 11 in Postcards open May 10, 2003. Admission is free.

     Wish You Were Here showcases hundreds of antique postcards from the southern Virginia Blue Ridge—Franklin, Roanoke, Patrick, Floyd, Carroll, Grayson, Botetourt, Henry, and Bedford Counties. Visitors sent their regards on scores of Blue Ridge nature scenes, as well as on images of houses, factories, municipal buildings, and recreational facilities. Early photographers also made portrait postcards so the writer could send a picture of himself to friends and loved ones.

     Riding the Lee Highway takes a postcard journey across Virginia from Winchester to Bristol along Route 11. A major national thoroughfare until the opening of Interstate 81 in the 1960s, the Lee Highway offered travelers grand mountain and valley vistas and a wealth of historical sites. The road was peppered with tourist attractions, small towns, restaurants, antique stores, and motor courts. All of those stops used postcards to draw in visitors.


     Drawing from dozens of private postcard collections, the two exhibits feature images rarely seen by the general public today. “Antique postcards take us back to the era before motel chains and fast food. Traveling by car was an adventure then,” said Roddy Moore, Director of the Blue Ridge Institute & Museum.

     Both Wish You Were Here and Riding the Lee Highway run through March of 2004. Located on the campus of Ferrum College, the Blue Ridge Institute & Museum is open Mondays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., year-round; and Sundays, 1 to 4:30 p.m., mid-May through mid-August. For more information call (540) 365-4416 or visit # # #


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