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Here's the Process

Below is the text of a letter to the WV DOT, which summarizes the process as it stands now.

October 27, 2005
West Virginia Department of Highways
Mr. Paul Mattox, Commissioner
1900 Kanawha Blvd. East, Building 5 Charleston, WV 25305

Dear Commissioner Mattox:

Present day U.S. Rte. 33 (the Blue and Gray Trail), was an important artery across West Virginia during the Civil War. Stretching from the Ohio River on the west to Franklin in the east, it was a major part of the route of General Albert G. Jenkins raid in September 1862.

The movement to formally designate this route as the Blue and Gray Trail originally began in Ohio between 1930 and 1935 when ten different roads in the state, each then known as the Blue and Gray Trail, were federally designated as U.S. Rte. 33.

On January 1, 1938, the various roads in West Virginia, which connected Mason City in Mason County to Franklin and beyond, became U.S. Rte. 33 and officially part of the Blue and Gray Trail.

At that time the Blue and Gray trail began in St. Joseph and Benton Harbor, Michigan, and ran all the way to Richmond and Norfolk, Virginia. It received its formal designation only after a concerted effort from the Blue and Gray Trail Associations along its route.

The formal dedication ceremony took place in Richmond, Virginia on May 2, 1938. According to the Spencer Times Record in May 1938, a motor caravan, including the Michigan Blossom Queen and five Maids of Honor from various cities along the route, traveled from Richmond to Michigan, stopping at communities along the way to celebrate the event.

In West Virginia the Blue and Gray Trail passed through Franklin, Mouth of Seneca, Harman, Elkins, Buckhannon, Weston, Spencer, Ripley, New Haven and Mason City.

In a 1940 West Virginia state map, there is a reference to the Blue and Gray Trail, and there is also a reference and description of the Trail in the "West Virginia Writer's Guide" of 1941. In a book published in 1940, West Virqinia: The Mountain State, there is a description of the Blue and Gray Trail.

In the 1960s, there was a Blue & Gray Trail Association in Spencer that published a brochure entitled "Blue & Gray Trail thru W.va., U.S. 33, the Route of Festivals".

In view of the foregoing, we believe we have the historical documentation and we have the endorsement of every city and county along current U.S. 33 to request the West Virginia Department of Transportation to formally re-designate U.S. 33 as the Blue and Gray Trail and publicize it with directional and informational signage to promote tourism across Central West Virginia.

Sincerely,

James F. McCulty
Past President of Spencer Rotary Club