Established in 1930
What do Scotch tape, Hostess Twinkies and the first television broadcast have in common with the SHCG? All were born in 1930 and are still around…just as vital and useful as they were when they were created.
The story of the Guild’s creation is one of triumph over hardship as 1930 was also the official first year of the United State’s Great Depression. That year, President Hoover asked for $150 million dollars in public work program funds to help with a staggering 8.9% national unemployment rate. The worst drought in US history devastated the western part of the nation and 1,350 banks failed. The population was calculated to be 123 million and the average yearly wage was $1,970 per year. The Southern Appalachians were known as a sparsely populated frontier and the yearly wage was a third lower than the national average at $841. In the world of non-profits it was known as the Progressive Era as many people were focused on social activism and political reform.
The groundwork for the formation of the Guild was laid in the early part of the twentieth century with the leading figure being the venerable Frances Louisa Goodrich, a Presbyterian missionary whose work in the southern Appalachians was unrivaled in its positive impact. We will be honoring Frances Goodrich and many of the other historical figures who have helped shape the organization and our region throughout this celebratory year.
This year also marks the 40th anniversary of the Folk Art Center: “The Jewel of the Blue Ridge Parkway”. Many people and organizations worked very hard to see the completion of an idea that was talked about as early as the 1950s. So, there is a lot to celebrate and we look forward to another year of operations for an amazing non-profit: The Southern Highland Craft Guild…serving the southern Appalachians since 1930.