Skyline Farms Heritage Development Plan


Skyline Commissary, 1937. Courtesy of Library of Congress.

In 2010, nine students in Dr. Carroll Van West’s Essentials of Historic Preservation class began work on a Heritage Development Plan for Skyline Farms, AL, to research the historical significance of the community, assess its built environment, and offer recommendations for future preservation and interpretation initiatives. The final report was prepared and edited by staff at The Center for Historic Preservation (CHP).

“Skyline Farms is located on Cumberland Mountain in the Appalachian region of northeast Alabama. Although the mountain was sparsely settled for many years, much of what makes up the Skyline Farms community today is the result of a New Deal Resettlement Administration project that began in 1934 and ended c.1945.

Although the government’s involvement with Skyline Farms officially ended sometime in the mid 1940s, many of the project’s residents remained on the mountain and made lives for their families there. What remains of the project’s built environment and landscape points to a time in U.S. history when federal, state, and local governments experimented with methods for providing relief to the nation’s hardest hit by the Great Depression of the 1930s.”


Skyline Commissary, 2013.

Over the last few years, the Skyline Farms Heritage Association, a nonprofit devoted to the preservation, protection, and promotion of the Skyline Farms community, moved forward with many of the recommendations outlined in the Heritage Development Plan. In 2011, the group purchased the Skyline Commissary building  in order to use it as a museum to share the community’s history. The CHP also continued to work with the community and successfully completed a National Register Multiple Property listing for the Skyline Farms Resettlement Project area and individually nominated the Skyline Commissary to the National Register of Historic Places.

Click here to read the Skyline Farms Heritage Development Plan (the PDF may take several minutes to load).

I contributed the following sections:

  • “Skyline Farms Craft & Music Traditions”
  • “Skyline Farms as Documented by New Deal Photographers”