A Documentary Film Project
Descendants of a 1930s mountain community displaced by the Blue Ridge Parkway show how even invisible home-places can remain sacred.
In the mid-1930s, the Blue Ridge Parkway was born. As Rock Castle Gorge became part of the National Park Service’s plan to lure tourists to the Blue Ridge, farm families living there had to be moved. Parkway officials set about acquiring their land. But the story does not end there. Though generations removed, Rock Castle descendants today work to hold onto their past through photographs and stories.
In Rock Castle Home, descendants and others teach us about Indigenous peoples, settlers, and the Depression-era farmers who lived on land in the Gorge long before the arrival of the Parkway. Through their words, we reflect on the meaning of land ownership, local culture, family, place, and the not-so-empty wilderness. We learn about the American Chestnut and the mountain agriculture that revolved around it, of hand-built cabins and grist mills, of raising corn, apples, and hogs, and distilling homemade whiskey. This film is a deep chronicle of one Blue Ridge hollow and its people. It is also a story of America and the amazing land we hold in common.
Filmmaker Charles (Charlie) D. Thompson, Jr, a professor at Duke University, is a descendant of Rock Castle and owns a small cabin nearby. He is donating his time to this film, but he needs funds to pay for personnel, equipment, and other associated film costs.
For further information or to make a tax-deductible contribution to this documentary work, please contact Charlie Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org, via his website, or by phone: 919-428-3741.
Rock Castle Home is endorsed and supported by The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, Virginia Humanities, and the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. It is fiscally-sponsored by Southern Documentary Fund, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.