Archive for letter

Pipe-Dream Pub Prophesy & Proposal 1997

Posted in Adaptive Reuse, Futurist, Pub Library, Roleplaying / Reenacting, SCOD Status Update Reports, Society Clubs or Social Groups, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 25, 2019 by Drogo

The Future of the Middle Ages

 

Written in 1997 by Drogo to Pipe-Dream Pub fellowship (edited and digitized in 2019)

 

Why West Virginia?

 

The rugged, rocky, rolly hills and blue ridge mountains with verdant valleys are a backdrop for snow, rivers, rain, fog, and dusty heat. Cold snowy winters and hot sweaty summers combine with landscape that has the same climate (more or less) as England. Farmland and coal mines; sturdy, beautiful, and backwards in beautiful country ways: a perfect medieval setting for a dwarven tavern.

 

Why Harpers Ferry?

 

While maintaining a hardy mountaineer heart, the spirit of Harpers Ferry has guarded and sustained freedom despite its quaint, hobbiton, touristy appearance. Historic Harpers Ferry has been defined by influential travelers, and thrived in their wake. The guests and visitors act in spiritual freedom immortally, like a chronic hysteresis. As Shirley Dougherty puts it, “History always repeats itself in Harpers Ferry.” Native American sacred land where the Potomac and Shenandoah shed tears of love that ran together between the mountains and formed the rivers. Peter Stevens 1730, Robert Harper 1750, surveyed by George Washington 1797 and Thomas Jefferson for the Federal Armory 1830, John Brown’s Raid to free the slaves 1859, President Clinton and Gore Earth Day 1998 (?) and many other important figures and events are part of our legacy. 

 

Prophecy Proposal 1.  We Try Living Together

 

Trial By Sword and Stone

It is summer 2001 and I have graduated from SCAD (Savannah College of Art & Design). In past summers I worked for my Father and HABS (the Historic American Building Survey) as an architectural draftsman, but this summer I have joined the National Guard, and applied to the NPS (National Park Service) Design Center in Harpers Ferry. Three of my history and design friends have taken advantage of the lucrative job market in the DC area, and are currently renting from my parents for metropolitan commuting. The four of us are in a partnership written by round-table contract, and use the school-house in back for a studio office. We also host Gallery exhibits and shows downstairs with antiques, and sometimes entertain B&B guests. There is a substantial flow of money as we prosper.

 

Prophecy Proposal 2.  We Decide on the Pub Site Land Location

 

Trial By Earth 

A link is established in 2002 between 4 other partners, making 7 of us in the Pub Fellowship. We prepare for the Pub by sharing expenses and seeking land. Eventually we find the best site and purchase the property. Acquisition of ideal, strategic site land that is agreeable to everyone may prove to be the most difficult task of all. The amount of variables involved may seem overwhelming.

 

Prophecy Proposal 3.  Investors, Funding, and Financing

 

The Round Table Trial

It is now July 7th, 2003 and the four of us already in town, meet with our newest 3 members at Jefferson’s Rock. Perched upon the Rock of Ages we announce our time is nigh, calling out their arrival into the valley. The rush of the rivers generates a roaring cacophony that titillates our napes as we raise our heads high to the mountains, and declare our individual rights and strengths. Our proclamations echo through the gap, and fly down-stream towards the Capitol of our Nation; flooding the ears of the mundanes. We shout in unison “One for all, and all for one!!! Tally-ho to the Pipe-dream Pub! Hurrah!! Hooray!!! Vivate!!! Liberty!!!” With 7 investors we now can get enough loans and grants and easements. 

 

Prophecy Proposal 4.  Swear Allegiance Fidelity

 

The Trial of Camelot

Discussions and blueprints of the Pub follow after savings are spent in addition to other sources of funding for Pub property and materials. We archive written insurances and oaths of fidelity to the financial, material, and spiritual fellowship. The Sacred Seven can never fall so long as is planned for, with good will and reason. No one will unite if there be an unproven doubt in their mind or gut. We are philosopher kings united by the power of moral reason. None shall be untested, and with good fortune, none unspoken. And with all said, none unbroken. If a break arises it shall no doubt crack with at least one, but before a downfall the crack shall be filled by the spirit of the remaining 6. Even if 4 of the 7 fall, 3 is quite a magic number (in and of itself), and cannot be denied despite trials, though it be less than 4. If nightmares dare to cross o’er the river Styx into this world to turn 5 away from 2, the 2 will prove stronger (though they be fewer), because of the intimate nature of our number. But if the reality remains a dream of one, or the 7 be undone, to the deep dark abyss with this paper and the Pipe-dream shared by none. Each of our dreams must be thus defined and communicated through speech, writing, sounds, drawings, models, and bodily gestures as completely as possible, in order to compare how our individual desires for the collective dream correspond.

 

Prophecy Proposal 5.  Building Construction, Operation, and Sustaining Success

 

The Quest for the Holy Grail

Construction or restoration of the Tavern will ensue. The vision of Camelot will for the first time, be in sight. The combined knowledge of the Pub Fellowship of philosophers will prove a multifaceted tool of inexhaustible energy. As philosophical knights of the round table, we will support each-other as bees in a hive; our Queen is Wisdom (Sophia). Buzzing with ideas, skills, and events our vision will take shape, as hunters acquire resources and exchange places with guards to defend, direct, and build. The material cards we have saved in our hands, will emerge for this ultimate power play. There is such a joyful vitality of powerful energy to the Pub collective, that none spare time to doubt if the dream was worth it. We dance to our own rhythms while we work, so that even the most mundane tasks feel successful. We follow the verdant path of the Goddess in our productive frolicking and fiddling. Indulging in a labor of mind and body, we manifest an artistic functioning time machine, or vehicle for atmospheric revival and mental transportation. The Pub work is life affirming.

 

Maps are drawn and schedules made. The property of the Pub is large enough for a Tavern or Inn (a few acres). The Pub site is nestled away in woods, yet strategically accessible near a major interstate intersection within the DC metro area. There is ample parking up front. A long driveway wraps around back to stables of a half-timber two-story structure. There is a blacksmith’s shop and grounds for birds, cats, dogs, and horses. The main door is hard wood with heavy elaborate iron hinges, and a strong knocker handle ring. The door opens onto the ground level (first floor) bar and hearth of the Pub. All of the doors can be barred from the inside, chain-locked, pad-locked, and key-locked. By day the interior is lit by diamond pane windows, and later by a grand fireplace, candles, and chandeliers at night. Primarily a wood paneled hall with swords, shields, and various artifacts and mathoms displayed on walls and relic racks. The bar is adjacent to the fireplace, with a stair leading up between them. Bathrooms are behind the stairs, with a gallery hall for internet connection. Six tables crowd the room and pipe smoke hangs about. A fiddler rests on a stool in the corner, bar-wench Debbie serves ale, and Brynna (celtic female lark) sings before the fire. All forms of alcohol and herb are sold here, without the stress of an elite menu. If any food is sold, it consists of simple soups, breads, and common organic vegetables. The atmosphere is alluring to farmers, hunters, truckers, and bikers; but also to role-players, SCA, history buffs, reenactors, and even your average curious tourist or excited vacationer escaping from the rat-race.

 

Using the same chimney as the main hall, is the Library for quiet drinking, meditating, and studying. Upstairs is where the owners or bar-keeper lives; private bed-rooms, a study, and guest rooms. The blacksmith lives underground and guards the wine cellar, with dogs. The basement cellar links directly to the stable, bar, and oubliettes. The west wing of the Inn will have a dining hall and more guest rooms, and the east wing will have a kitchen and office. Blessed be, so mote it be.

  • END

[ AUDIO RECORDING of Drogo reading his original letter ]

Thank You Letter to Loved Ones

Posted in Economics, relationships, SCOD Status Update Reports, Services, Sales or Trade, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 19, 2018 by Drogo

by Drogo Empedocles

Thank you to my loved ones. I say ‘loved ones’ instead of supporters, because ‘support’ emphasizes an engineering role towards production of projects alone, but I want to make clear the importance of emotional support roles that do not need to be concerned with financing and the basics of survival, but can embrace many factors necessary to thrive (joy, contentment, excitement, encouragement, etc). Friends, family, and fans are all very important success elements in human lives. I feel love even for strangers that support my work, because by showing support and affection for my art, writing, music, and designs of any kind they are validating an extension of myself; much like having children or pets are expressions of existence. The Arts are about expressions of our lives (animus), as they take energy to create. Art may not be alive the same way as biological organisms, but art works have psychological presence which can validate our personal feelings, our entire lives, or even the ontological concept of Life itself.

My patrons financially supporting me include family and friends specifically on Patreon: Beamer, Chuckles, Aeyla, Wim. Thank you for helping validate my life. I was blacklisted and shut-out of the main-stream job market due to my anti-authoritarian rebellious attitude towards creativity, self-expression, and desire for freedom at a young age in grade school. Those that believe in competition may not have ended a decade of soccer playing as a senior on the losing team, and perhaps have not been embarrassed enough to destroy egotistical ambition, even when based on hard work and practice. Part of my reason for publishing my old school art and writing is not just to show progress, or even hopes at shared nostalgia (which I do value greatly); but more importantly for other people, I want to support the role of modern art movements to validate the worth of every individual life, no matter their skill, for the sake of sustainable co-existence in civilization. Everyone is worthy to be recognized as an artist, one who can express themselves using their own bodies and other mediums. What people do with their art is subject to public views of course, but a right to peaceful life once we are born should perhaps be more a priority in culture than it is. Many out-dated terms like ‘earning’ often do nothing towards civil rights in society, where one percent can ‘earn’ millions of dollars, and refuse to share with millions of people. In economic theory of a limited supply of currency, this makes no sense to extract national wealth and only allow the most selfish to have it.

Despite my own personal problems and failings, which are many, at this point in my adult life I have paid off all of my debts (college & car), and helped other people as well, in my own ways. My non-profit group SCOD may have no income to pay members, but it is made of all those every associated with it, inspired by it, and who inspire SCOD projects. There are so many important projects still possible, as SCOD School remains free; if we were to charge eventually it would solidify staff and pay using a business model with office secretaries for bursar, treasurer, and accountancy; and lawyers for all legal matters. Yet economic theory is still very hotly debated in our minds, even after years of many personal transactions among members, paying bills is a fundamental challenge to creativity and free-will. Our projects are not always financially successful, but we have redefined success itself in the Arts to allow for organic sustainability, regardless of monetary systems or politics. I would like to now list and describe some of my own projects, which often tie into SCOD and involve cooperation with others.

Book, Blog articles, poem communications, Designs, Art, Music, etc… [to be continued…]

Audio reading of letter, recorded by Drogo on Mixcloud

To The Children of the Future

Posted in Critical Commentary of Civilization, Environmentalism, Organic Development, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on March 27, 2017 by Drogo

I am sorry that we of Generation X have not done more to preserve our Nature Environment. Yes we participated in protests, and various activist roles, but we have been largely apathetic as a whole, and the grip that the Baby-Boomer Generation has had on government has not lessened. Their corporate corruption certainly set the stage for Trump and his ilk. There was even talk among our revolutionaries of assassinating all the demagogues, but that did not seem reasonable to do on a weekend.

Instead of acting on our angst and over-throwing the system in order to replace with with real democracy, we instead spent our money (what little we could make in a diminishing economy) on movies and video games, preparing the way for the autism of Millennials. Ass-bergers is not to blame for the pollution of our water, land, and air; no the fault belongs to apathy and ignorance. I honestly thought that Rambo and Commando would solve all our problems through the kicking the ass of every enemy. Well we certainly helped accomplish global destruction of nature, as well as humans, through our aggression and belligerence. The shells of wasted ammo pile high, and the smog from spent fuel hangs heavy in the air. The smell of burning oil wells is our generation’s new ‘napalm in the morning’.

Cities have poisoned their own water supplies, corporations have waged wars on workers, and yet we still allow terrible, evil people to control our lives and ruin your future. I am sorry my children, I would have liked to have more green spaces for you to enjoy for quality of life, and technology for you to use for renewable energy. And yet we are developing every square foot of our country by paving over it, and building wasteful architecture. I have quite serving that system, to the best of my ability, and I fight against it, peacefully as much as I can. For you and me, I pledge I will never stop the struggle to allow us to thrive with nature, responsibly, and most of all for you because I love you.

– Drogo Empedocles

SCOD 2016 Status Summary

Posted in SCOD Status Update Reports, Uncategorized with tags , , , on January 25, 2017 by Drogo

annual newsletter update

*

America has made some progressive changes recently, in response to Corporate control of our government. There is a reason i can be friends with Satanists and not Trump fans; Satanists are not generally for poisoning all of Nature and literally sacrificing all humans to a god of Greed. There are 2 ways we THE PEOPLE are changing things now with Bernie Sanders and liberal media and actors (Justice Dems): 1. direct campaign funding from citizens 2. lawsuits against corruption. That is happening now so there is a chance for change. Next would be direct voting for president, and then later maybe have a presidential council, and further decentralize power from one person, to the will of the majority of people, balanced by judges which mitigate the sides of issues.

We Stand United rallies / Standing Rock Water Protectors / the Resistance Comedy Army = those groups will keep pressure until their leaders funding it figure out how to actually drain the swamp, and who to replace them with. if people could have voted more on local issues, and national advocacy we could have saved many lives have more social workers that are employment therapists able to get people what they need to live. Political Party leaders that are funded by Corporations are owned by them.  DEMOCRATS bribed news outlets to only pit Hillary against Trump, because the party heads were sure she could beat him. That is the main reason that Bernie Sanders was not given much media attention during the race. Knowing the history of the WV Coal Mine Wars , i think this is what is happening with Federal Government currently; the companies behind the 2 parties are just pitting us against each other to serve their mutual billionaire goals; so they both need to go. We cannot let corporate commercial tactics stop us from co-creating a better America. We can call Congress anytime, every day 202-225-3121, and find local political names and numbers. Years ago, i made a ‘Blackwater Mercenary’ video where i acted like a member, and tried to expose how ptsd, authoritarian control, and propaganda affects soldiers, and messes us up. I got so much right-wing hate after 30,000+ views i took it down. Now is the time for more people to talk about these issues. As a martial arts fighter and a solider veteran, these issues are important to me. We need a more caring LOVING president to give power back to the people, by decentralizing control and giving value economically to each individual life, and a system for direct democratic voting. People Power = Humanity.

I do not consider the ‘inauguration’ to be valid. One president for a whole continent that doesnt count a valid popular vote with only 2 corporate rich parties as the options is what evil Empires do. Impeachment based on Constitutional grounds is valid.

nina turner on Success = “3 bones: wish bone, jaw bone, back bone” finite disappointment, infinite hope. The elites that rule America, have been playing a shell game with our minds through propaganda. To break their power over us, ignoring them and continuing with our lives as though they dont exist does not work, as we will continue to serve them by existing within their system which fuels them. To break their power, we need to know who they are, and how to empower the masses more; which not only includes economics, but also education and wisdom of communal compassion which does not allow for tyrants.

SCOD is studying the art of space and time between people in community; in regards to communication, trade, and living. I’m thinking of how to do a SCOD concert in the future; by paying the first 50 people to show up, regardless of talent; to express themselves and honor Nature. maybe at Baker Park, or a spot on the AT…. a public space with minimal electronics; no large speakers; mostly acoustic, recorded by multiple devices. Emphasis on FREEDOM of self expression in honor of Nature. YOU and everyone that shows up are the headliners.with a few organizers , it might be a one time performance art thing, since it would cost me hundreds; but it maybe be something i might be willing to do one of these years.

reasoning: apathy and business of Capitalist life, ive been studying this area scene, and i have found it difficult to get people to show up even for something they agree with. Plus the economy sucks for most Americans. like a mini local economy boost for artists and musicians ; since i dont see it happening with politics. the point is to show them that they have VALUE and should have value within our system. Paying someone just happens to be what our current system that controls everyone uses to tell people they are worth anything. If we get some of that power, we can shift it more than having no clear power i think. People like me are feeling disenfranchised and have real fears of not being able to pay bills to keep them alive.

More GREEN Party goals: Curb costly sprawl development by helping more counties create smart, sustainable plans to guide future growth; Stop rollbacks on laws that protect our waters from pollution created by development; Ensure new renewable energy facilities are sited to both protect our agricultural land and make it easier to generate more renewable energy; and Protect our transportation wins that increase accountability from repeal and vetoes.

success in business is a synergy of factors: loyalty, luck, skill, motivation, communications, delivery; choose partners that are proven in at least some of those areas. being an artist or author is similar to inventing because it is so easy to get lost in the excitement of the unknown, success and failure ratios every hour; it is often hard to remember the big picture scale when a small aspect of a job feels uncertain, as though everything rests on that piece (when usually it really doesnt).

old people and architecture : ive been studying aging to try to address it in relation to SCOD; designing living from cradle to grave. 2 main issues with aging: 1. when do you pass power to younger people? 2. how much do you want to challenge a body with steps etc? those are the 2 biggest problems im trying to work on how to handle inheritance of power, and how much does each person want to work for their basic daily needs. so often i hear stories where the boundaries of power in a family are fought over

many people think old people should be able to take everything with them to the grave, others think younger people just naturally take on responsibilities when they see fit . where does dementia begin, and what steps are taken at what points to take power against their wishes for their safety?

joy of experience can be in purposing the process of play ; The end of a song is not usually the goal; the purpose is the process of playing. my lectures still take days to prepare even if i just use audio to record them; i go over the materials, practice reading, and tie the subjects together with recent notes. new SCOD job: I want to pay someone to contact potential scod teachers and filter out their responses.

RANDOM Ideas: exquisite corpse – cooperative drawing game; One person’s hero can be another person’s tyrant; and visa-versa; “Standing Rock reminded us that the machine can be paused.” – Belafonte

One ancient Venus statue was made from a wooly mammoth tusk, and is one of the earliest symbols of Sex, Love, and SUSTAINABILITY 35,000 BC Germany.

95,055,000 Americans have no official jobs or no employer income in 2016 and HALF of America are lower-class!! For some reason, the public media Unemployment Reports from the US Department of Labor are not listing the largest and most important number. According to their own data charts (which do not copy well as a direct link for specific info, perhaps on purpose) the Bureau of Labor Statistics ‘Household Data’ Table A-1; in November 2016 there were over 95 Million Americans not employed total. To clarify, over 95,000,000 (ninety-five million people) have no ‘outside-the-family-home’ income. Most workers are jobless in America. Over 38 million men and almost 57 million women of those jobless are adults over the age of 16 (seasonally adjusted).

Our election and political system should be put on TRIAL by people that are more interested in making the system better for the masses, above making their own personal profit for a limited time during their public service; and view the trial through a lense of Social & Environmental Justice; rather than for rich tyrants and profit corporations. a jury representing the population fairly should deliberate and make judgments that focus on restructuring incentives rather than penalties.

SCOD Utopia type 3d video game virtual reality scod ; the challenge is how to negotiate and counsel people lol

the enemy is internal and external dischord but it can also be transformed into love ; so you win when everyone is happy and respects eachother seemingly out of free will ; oh yeah anger and hate can turn into love or humor. you could have emotion levels and blood pressure points, you could do punk rock hybrid beatnik utopia ; or a hippy-new age combo; choose from 50 different types, dope scod styles; viking taverns and juice bars

SCOD is looking for lawyers, programmers, and accountants

I spoke with Dr. Sadler on the phone, and he said he was interested in doing some SCOD classes. Greg Sadler said we should charge something so people feel invested . maybe only have some videos for free (same as now), but for mentoring charge

and anything with the school charge he also said get more teachers than you need because people flake out. baby steps to getting a school organized….best thing is i dont have loans or sponsors demanding i pay them back to do it, so we have time.

“The idea that anyone should have to pay thousands of dollars to learn is bs.” – Dr. Sadler

Also I am making more books and art to share with others locally and around the World. I was born to artists, and raised in an art gallery to be an artist and also to make books. I was told by everyone that the very things I am best at, I cannot make a living doing. So I got a Masters Degree in Architecture, to please the people that told me what reality was. My education in architecture taught me that what I really should be doing is art and writing and music. Despite my ability to publish numerous books, organize art shows, sponsor musicians, and plan environmental projects with my non-profit organization I founded called SCOD; I have learned the hard way that asking for money is the only way to pay bills and hire other artists and creators too. I am best at doing what I love. Please help me to be successful at serving society through the arts. Thank you! – Patreon

I should admit i am still terrified by things i have learned, that went into the writing of this Thesis.  “We were brought over here as slaves, and Lincoln turned us into unpaid interns.” – Kayne West, i just read this quote today, it startled me as a profound statement. Trump has the same type of New England racism that HP Lovecraft had, and I say that respectfully because I love Lovecraft. To clarify, H. P. Lovecraft wrote from a fear of ‘the other’, and a big part of that horror was the racist belief that other races are inferior and sub-human. I am far less racist than i was before i was educated, but i still understand the gut feeling that allows it expression, and to me this is why it is classified as HORROR.

currently SCOD is legally considered a ‘unincorporated nonprofit association’, and should probably stay that way, until we figure out how to get AND have gotten thousands of dollars in donations. None of the paperwork or reasons for incorporating seem to make any sense otherwise. we have no income to give grants or pay for services. maybe the scod school is the key to funding; we ask for money to make videos to teach children how to think, and about important life issues as an infinite series.

SCOD also made connection with associate Jennifer Hopkins-Jerome and her Youtube talent with knitting; and we also worked with other associates too.

Reason for SCOD: Nature and History will have their way with us, but we must know what powers we have as individuals to better our lives, regardless of anything.

We need to take the power back from “rich and famous” role models, and share it amongst everyone. [we can do with governments, what church leaders can do with religion – make it work by and for the common people] internet is the tool; there is inherent schizophrenia in the capitalist system i think..

“seems the good journalists… the ones actually doing their jobs get marginalized for ratings, or corporate interests at best, imprisoned or removed at worst. It’s ironic and almost silly in a grim sort of way that we have access to and ability to make view and share news world wide, but are still relegated to tiny little echo chambers and prepackaged creations of overarching and uncaring outlets based on”shares and likes”.. Thomas Paine would be frothing at the mouth for the access each individual has.. the ability to literally SHAPE public policy AND produce literature and knowledge in the hands of literally everyone… then he, Jefferson, Franklin and Adams wold probably collectively sigh and scream when they see what actually occupies the bulk of the news and information that is actually consumed…” – Tom O.

“to me now the resolution of much of the worlds misconceptions have got to do with healing the notion of two genders and instead seeing all as a reflection of the fem where its true development began expression…to cut off a lifeform from that connection is to drive it away from love and sanity” -Nina Tewsley

*

Dear fellow children of Mother Earth,

We can use any freedoms we can find to celebrate our lives and learn more about others. Light and Dark – we need both, like night and day, we have both. Good sleep is as important as waking consciousness. Our ancestors lived in round houses with Nature, in Africa and England and America; we have much in common when it comes to Earth heritage. Balance means having both good and bad, life and death powers; too much of one, needs more of the other for harmony. Show people it is ok to grow our hair long to the ground, like roots to the Earth. This is Threshold Guardian, SCOD wisdom.

SCOD is a way of thinking, acting, and living that questions existence, designs environment, and believes in the ability to find kindred spirits with the desire to build and live together sustainably. We should value the work of our friends, as part of their life’s art. We are all artists inside, if our neocortex brains allow free expression. If we feel uneasy about our arts, remember that acceptance is part of serenity and happiness.

Beamer in Thurmont MD powers his house on 100% solar. The panels will pay for themselves in 6-10 years. Families on homesteads have designed their own lives around animals and plants, to be very self-sufficient. Perfection is not possible, unless we redefine success, and live within our means and our dreams. Then perfection or bliss can be found in the smallest every day events and thoughts. Be well, blessed be.

I value all the lives of my friends, and the art that is their lives. This is a value system i have always been aware of, that has helped set me apart from the normal world of competition, more and more consciously as the years go by. people can use any of my ideas and take credit for doing a “better job”, or refuse to appreciate anything of mine – whatever, they did this when i was very competitive, and many will continue to judge me no matter my hair, dress, or respect for others.

Special thanks to Aeyla of the Hill People for helping so much with many projects!!!

*

Some one else’s good, is not always your good; but often some kinds of cooperation are possible if negotiated.

Be well, and let’s have a great 2017!!! Yours truly, Drogo

SCOD Proposal to ATC

Posted in Cooperatives / Communities / Networks / Travels, SCOD Thesis with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 3, 2011 by Drogo

SCOD Letter to Appalachian Trail Conference Members

This proposal letter to be accompanied by AT SCOD Book.

Harpers Ferry Appalachian Trail (AT) Headquarters

My Dear ATC Neighbors,

Please study and consider my book, AT SCOD: Appalachian Trail Sustainable Community for Organic Dwelling. SCOD was my Architecture Thesis for my Masters Degree in 2000 from the Savannah College of Art and Design, GA. In it you will find that I designed a “Sustainable Community for Organic Dwelling” which I feel is similar to the 1921 vision for the AT by Benton MacKaye. To me it represents one of the community farm camps that MacKaye desired to have along the Appalachian Trail. My summary of his ideas and conclusions in support of the agenda are included in the book.

I do not know your financial and legal situation as part of the National Park Service. However I would appreciate your opinion regarding how viable my proposal would be as an official AT Project. For years I have searched for funding and sponsors for this project to be built in the physical world but have not found enough to even begin with permission on a site. The site I chose in the book was only for the purpose of having a hypothetical setting, so naturally the designs would continue to evolve for another site.

Thank you for your consideration,

Walton D. Stowell II

Appalachian Trail SCOD Designer

*

Benton MacKaye – Appalachian Trail Founder 1879-1975

Emile Benton MacKaye (Pronounced “McEye”)

Harvard University, US Forestry Service, Tennessee Valley Authority, US Dept. of Labor, Critic of Urban Sprawl, Author, Wilderness Society, Social Activist Hell Raiser, Originator of the AT in 1921, Patron of the B.M. Trail,

Geotechnics – balancing humans and wilderness

Original 1921 Vision of the Appalachian Trail

by Founder Benton MacKaye

(Summarized by Drogo for SCOD in 2011)

“An Appalachian Trail: A Project in Regional Planning”

 

Purpose:  Conservation, Recreation, Sanctuary, Health, Living, and Work

Functional Divisions:  Trail, Shelter, Community, and Work

Conclusions from Trail Experiences

AT Purposes Explained:

Conservation, Recreation and Sanctuary

“Throughout the Southern Appalachians, throughout the Northwoods, and even through the Alleghenies that wind their way among the smoky industrial towns of Pennsylvania, he recollects vast areas of secluded forests, pastoral lands, and water courses, which, with proper facilities and protection, could be made to serve as the breath of a real life for the toilers in the bee-hive cities along the Atlantic seaboard and elsewhere.”

Health (Physical and Psychological or Spiritual)

“The oxygen in the mountain air along the Appalachian skyline is a natural resource (and a national resource) that radiates to the heavens its enormous health-giving powers with only a fraction of a percent utilized for human rehabilitation. Here is a resource that could save thousands of lives. The sufferers of tuberculosis, anemia and insanity go through the whole strata of human society. Most of them are helpless, even those economically well off. They occur in the cities and right in the skyline belt. For the farmers, and especially the wives of farmers, are by no means escaping the grinding-down process of our modern life.

Most sanitariums now established are perfectly useless to those afflicted with mental disease – the most terrible, usually, of any disease. Many of these sufferers could be cured. But not merely by “treatment.” They need acres not medicine. Thousands of acres of this mountain land should be devoted to them with whole communities planned and equipped for their cure.

Living and Work

Next after the opportunities for recreation and recuperation our giant counts off, as a third big resource, the opportunities in the Appalachian belt for employment on the land. This brings up a need that is becoming urgent – the redistribution of our population, which grows more and more top heavy.”

AT Functional Divisions Explained:

Trail

The beginnings of an Appalachian trail already exist. They have been established for several years — in various localities along the line. Specially good work in trail building has been accomplished by the Appalachian Mountain Club in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and by the Green Mountain Club in Vermont. The latter association has already built the “Long Trail” for 210 miles thorough the Green Mountains — four fifths of the distance from the Massachusetts line to the Canadian. Here is a project that will logically be extended. What the Green Mountains are to Vermont the Appalachians are to eastern United States. What is suggested, therefore, is a “long trail” over the full length of the Appalachian skyline, from the highest peak in the north to the highest peak in the south — from Mt. Washington to Mt. Mitchell.

The trail should be divided into sections, each consisting preferably of the portion lying in a given State, or subdivision thereof. Each section should be in the immediate charge of a local group of people. Difficulties might arise over the use of private property — especially that amid agricultural lands on the crossovers between ranges. It might be sometimes necessary to obtain a State franchise for the use of rights of way. These matters could readily be adjusted, provided there is sufficient local public interest in the project as a whole. The various sections should be under some sort of general federated control, but no suggestions regarding this form are made in this article.

Not all of the trail within a section could, of course, be built all at once. It would be a matter of several years. As far as possible the work undertaken for any one season should complete some definite usable link — as up or across one peak. Once completed it should be immediately opened for local use and not wait on the completion of other portions. Each portion built should, of course, be rigorously maintained and not allowed to revert to disuse. A trail is as serviceable as its poorest link.

The trail could be made, at each stage of its construction, of immediate strategic value in preventing and fighting forest fires. Lookout stations could be located at intervals along the way. A forest fire service could be organized in each section which should tie in with the services with the services of the Federal and State Governments. The trail would immediately become a battle line against fire. (accompanying map proposed trail location)

Shelter Camps

These are the usual accompaniments of the trails which have been built in the White and Green Mountains. They are the trail’s equipment for use. They should be located at convenient distances so as to allow a comfortable day’s walk between each. They should be equipped always for sleeping and certain of them for serving meals; after the function of the Swiss chalets. Strict regulation is required to assure that equipment is used and not abused. As far as possible the blazing and constructing of the trail and building of camps should be done by volunteer workers. For volunteer “work” is really “play.” The spirit of cooperation, as usual in such enterprises, should be stimulated throughout. The enterprise should, of course, be conducted without profit. The trail must be well guarded against the yegg-man and against the profiteer.

Community Groups

These would grow naturally out of the shelter camps and inns. Each would consist of a little community on or near the trail (perhaps on a neighboring lake) where people could live in private domiciles. Such a community might occupy a substantial area; perhaps a hundred acres or more. This should be bought and owned as a part of the project. No separate lots should be sold therefrom. Each camp should be a self-owning community and not a real-estate venture. The use of the separate domiciles, like all other features of the project, should be available without profit.

These community camps should be carefully planned in advance. They should not be allowed to become too populous and thereby defat the very purpose for which they are created. Greater numbers should be accommodated by more communities, not larger ones. There is room, without crowding, in the Appalachian region for a very large camping population. The location of these community camps would form a main part of the regional planning and architecture.

These communities would be used for various kinds of non- industrial activity. They might eventually be organized for special purposes for recreation, for recuperation and for study. Summer schools or seasonal field courses could be established and scientific travel courses organized and accommodated in the different communities along the trail. The community camp should become something more than a mere “playground”: it should stimulate every line of outdoor non-industrial endeavor.

Work at Farm Camps

These might not be organized at first. They would come as a later development. The farm camp is the natural supplement of the community camp. Here is the same spirit of cooperation and well ordered action the food and crops consumed in the outdoor living would as far as practically be sown and harvested.

Food and farm camps could be established as special communities in adjoining valleys. Or they might be combined with the community camps with the inclusion of surrounding farm lands. Their development could provide tangible opportunity for working out by actual experiment a fundamental matter in the problem of living. It would provide one definite avenue of experiment in getting “back to the land.” It would provide an opportunity for those anxious to settle down in the country: it would open up a possible source for new, and needed, employment. Communities of this type are illustrated by the Hudson Guild Farm in New Jersey.

Fuelwood, logs, and lumber are other basic needs of the camps and communities along the trail. These also might be grown and forested as part of the camp activity, rather than bought in the lumber market. The nucleus of such an enterprise has already been started at Camp Tamiment, Pennsylvania, on a lake not far from the route of the proposed Appalachian trail. The camp has been established by a labor group in New York City. They have erected a sawmill on their tract of 2000 acres and have built the bungalows of their community from their own timber.

Farm camps might ultimately be supplemented by permanent forest camps through the acquisition (or lease) of wood and timber tracts. These of course should be handled under a system of forestry so as to have a continuously growing crop of material. The object sought might be accomplished through long term timber sale contracts with the Federal Government on some of the Appalachian National Forests. Here would be another opportunity for permanent, steady, healthy employment in the open.

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“Let’s put up now to the wise and trained observer the particular question before us. What are the possibilities in the new approach to the problem of living? Would the development of the outdoor community life, as an offset and relief from the various shackles of commercial civilization, be practicable and worth while?”

Conclusions from Trail Experiences:

Clean Air (Trees and plants make Oxygen and filter out pollution)

Deep Thoughts from an Environmental and Agricultural Perspective

Naturalist Observations for the sake of Science and Resource Conservation

MacKaye’s proposal was an American Post-WWI social, political, planning, and development agenda of the first order. As all good utopian plans it is both philosophical and pragmatic. With the help of Avery and Whitaker the Appalachian Trail was completed in 1937.

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