February 3, 2012

Who Was William E. Carson?

When I saw this sign for a new trail, I actually recognized Carson's name because in 2008 I had photographed and posted a marker about him. I also submitted that marker to the Historical Marker Database. They even show another historical marker for William E. Carson which is near the entrance to Skyline Drive.
Sign at Front Royal Golf Club, Lower Parking Lot
Here's what this sign tells us:

William E. Carson Trail

The property, on which the Front Royal Golf Club is located, was given to the people of Front Royal and Warren County by Agnes H. and William E. Carson with the intentions of developing the land into a park. The park was the inspiration of Mr. Carson, who was the first director of the Virginia Conservation and Development Commission, one of the key figures behind the Shenandoah National Park, and was instrumental in founding the system of state parks throughout Virginia. In the last years of the Depression, Carson saw a need for recreational facilities for the young people of Front Royal and Warren Counties and sought help through Federal work programs. Carson, who was also the owner of the Riverton Lime and Stone Company, Inc.'s quarry adjoining the park to the south, was able to arrange for the Civilian Conservation Corps to build Front Royal Recreational Park. On June 22, 1938, William E. and Agnes H. Carson transferred ownership of 63 acres of land, upon which construction of the park was well underway, to the Front Royal Recreational Center Corporation. The facility opened to the public on August 6, 1938.
Below that message is a timeline of Carson's life, which is pretty close to the one on Encylopedia Virginia. I was intrigued to read that Carson played a role in starting the Virginia Historical Highway Markers program.  For more about that, read Historical Highway Markers.

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