CVATC builds, maintains, and manages the Appalachian Trail in the Cumberland Valley of Central Pennsylvania.
Lost and Found – The Center Point Knob Plaque
Many folks who have hiked our section of the AT are aware of the boulder on top of South Mountain in the area known as Center Point Knob. It marks the southern end of CVATC’s section of the trail and the northern end of that of our colleagues at Mountain Club of Maryland (MCM). MCM also maintains another section just north of ours.
You may not know some additional facts about that boulder. For many years, it marked the midpoint of the AT. That’s where the name Center Point Knob comes from. Later on, the AT was substantially rerouted, including moving the southern terminus from Mount Oglethorpe to Springer Mountain, both in Georgia. These resulted in moving the center point further south, to the vicinity of Pine Grove Furnace State Park. However, prior to these relocations, MCM erected a bronze plaque on the boulder in 1935 to commemorate the center point of the trail. That plaque was mysteriously lost some time later. If you look at the boulder, you can still see the remnants of the bolts that held the plaque to the rock.
Boulder on Center Point Knob on which the plaque was formerly attached
Earlier this year, we learned that Mr. Wilmer Harris had found the plaque on his property while digging a hole for a fencepost. He lives in the vicinity of South Mountain. It appears that the vandals who removed the plaque left it there. Mr. Harris had no idea where the plaque came from and kept it on the mantle of his fireplace for years. Two friends of the trail, Bruce Dunlavy and Bob Wise, learned that Mr. Harris had the plaque. Bruce is an active member of CVATC and several other trail groups, and Bob is President of the North Chapter of Potomac ATC. After learning where the plaque came from, Mr. Harris was eager to to give it to an appropriate trail organization.
The "prodigal" Center Point Knob plaque
After discussions among MCM, PATC, ATC and CVATC, we have agreed that the appropriate organization to receive the plaque is the new Appalachian Trail Museum. MCM may have a duplicate plaque installed on Center Point Knob. We are planning a celebration at the Museum to thank Mr. Harris and to officially deliver the plaque to a place of honor there. We are all very grateful to Mr. Harris, as well as Bruce and Bob, for their roles in bring the “prodigal plaque” back into the trail community.