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A Path Made of Words: The Journalistic Construction of the Appalachian Trail
Unformatted Document Text:  12 | P a g e journals would reinforce the project’s planning mission for specialized readers in forestry, parks, recreation and landscape architecture. 38 MacKaye’s best exponents in the print media would be not just writers, but experienced political and organizational operatives. One of these was Allen Chamberlain, a reporter for the Boston Evening Transcript. Assigned to the “tramping” beat, Chamberlain wrote lengthy illustrated features on New England’s trail system. MacKaye described Chamberlain as “perhaps the main hustler of the Appalachian Mountain Club,” the Boston-based trails organization. He also was active in scientific and policy circles. In 1916, Chamberlain had delivered a paper to the Society of American Foresters envisioning a “linked-up system” of trails extending from Quebec to New Jersey. MacKaye pitched his AT ideas to Chamberlain and found him “mightily interested.” 39 Blazing the Trail MacKaye secured a vital partner in Clarence Stein, a prominent New York architect. Stein might have seemed an unlikely advocate for an Appalachian hiking path. A thorough urbanite, he was married to a Broadway actress and lived in an apartment overlooking Central Park. In the man from Shirley Center, however, Stein found a rustic alter ego who shared his dreams of making new civilizations from the ground up. Stein offered to promote the project from within the American Institute of Architects, where he headed the Committee on Community Planning. He would become a close friend, a financial patron and an envoy to New York’s political and intellectual circles. 40 Stein arranged to have MacKaye’s article reprinted and distributed to influential parties along the East Coast. In an introduction to the reprint, Stein asserted that the

Authors: Kates, James.
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12 | 
P a g e
journals would reinforce the project’s planning mission for specialized readers in forestry, parks, 
recreation and landscape architecture.
     MacKaye’s best exponents in the print media would be not just writers, but experienced 
political and organizational operatives. One of these was Allen Chamberlain, a reporter for the 
Boston Evening Transcript. Assigned to the “tramping” beat, Chamberlain wrote lengthy 
illustrated features on New England’s trail system. MacKaye described Chamberlain as “perhaps 
the main hustler of the Appalachian Mountain Club,” the Boston-based trails organization. He 
also was active in scientific and policy circles. In 1916, Chamberlain had delivered a paper to the 
Society of American Foresters envisioning a “linked-up system” of trails extending from Quebec 
to New Jersey. MacKaye pitched his AT ideas to Chamberlain and found him “mightily 
interested.”
Blazing the Trail
     MacKaye secured a vital partner in Clarence Stein, a prominent New York architect. Stein 
might have seemed an unlikely advocate for an Appalachian hiking path. A thorough urbanite, he 
was married to a Broadway actress and lived in an apartment overlooking Central Park. In the 
man from Shirley Center, however, Stein found a rustic alter ego who shared his dreams of 
making new civilizations from the ground up. Stein offered to promote the project from within 
the American Institute of Architects, where he headed the Committee on Community Planning. 
He would become a close friend, a financial patron and an envoy to New York’s political and 
intellectual circles.
 Stein arranged to have MacKaye’s article reprinted and distributed to 
influential parties along the East Coast. In an introduction to the reprint, Stein asserted that the 


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