New Signage Program Celebrates History Along the Great American Rail-Trail
A new program of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) and the William G. Pomeroy Foundation will draw attention to the history that is embedded in the route of the Great American Rail-Trail®. A series of historic markers will be installed along the 3,700-mile route of the developing trail, one of RTC’s signature programs, between Washington, D.C., and Washington State.
“The Great American Rail-Trail connects people to the richness of the nation’s landscapes, cultures and heritage. This program is so meaningful because it will draw attention to the stories, people, places and events that are important to the communities the trail serves—building deeper connections between people and places,” said Kevin Belle, RTC’s project manager for the Great American Rail-Trail. “There are fascinating stories and snapshots of history all along the Great American Rail-Trail, if you know where to look.”
Some of the historic features the marker program will showcase include a geological unconformity on the Ohio to Erie Trail in Wayne County, exposed when the railroad was built in 1864, and the only surviving double-arch bridge, built in 1913, on the historic WCF&N railroad line, which can be experienced today on the Cedar Valley Nature Trail in Black Hawk County, Iowa. The initial program includes the installation of 12 markers funded by the Pomeroy Foundation with the intention to expand the program over time. The marker program is emphasizing points of interest, local residents, architecture and other features that reveal the country’s dynamic, diverse and resilient history.
“We are thrilled to partner with Rails-to-Trails Conservancy on this exciting endeavor to mark historic points on the Great American Rail-Trail,” said Deryn Pomeroy, director of strategic initiatives at the William G. Pomeroy Foundation. “History abounds along the beautiful scenic pathways that comprise the Great American Rail-Trail. Our historic markers will enhance the recreational experience by giving people the opportunity to learn more about the places and spaces they traverse.”
The William G. Pomeroy Foundation’s historic marker grant programs help educate the public, encourage pride of place, promote historic tourism and preserve history. As the nation’s leading funder of historic roadside markers, the Pomeroy Foundation has awarded more than 2,000 grants for markers and bronze plaques in 48 states and Washington, D.C. The Foundation administers six marker grant programs in addition to several marker programs funded through partnerships nationwide. Learn more at wgpfoundation.org.
When complete, the Great American Rail-Trail, the nation’s first multiuse cross-country trail, has the potential to serve 50 million people living within 50 miles of the trail, as well as millions of additional visitors from around the world. Explore the Great American Rail-Trail at greatamericanrailtrail.org, and connect with the #GRTAmerican via social media @greatamericanrailtrail.