The most famous pedestrian, and perhaps the greatest walker that ever lived, Edward Payson Weston, once said, “Anyone can walk. It’s free, like the sun by day and the stars by night. All we have to do is get on our legs, and the roads will take us everywhere.” And, his walking and showmanship turned him into a superstar, and walking into a competitive and wildly popular mid-19th century sport called pedestrianism.
Weston’s own self-reported pamphlet titled “The Pedestrian” which is primarily a journal of his walk from Boston to Washington, a distance of 478 miles in 10 days. The story is a log of his journey, which is supported by numerous newspaper articles of the day. True to his entrepreneurial nature, Weston wrote the story to earn money and to promote his new avocation of long distance walking. He added the section called “Pedestrian Adventures” as his personal biography at the age of 22 and as an epilog about odd events that happened to him afterwards, including his role as a Union spy.
In 1963, during the end of the Kennedy administration, a strange fad quickly grabbed the nation's attention. Based partly on a genuine concern for the public's fitness and partly on a dare, the nation briefly took to the streets in record numbers. Most walked like they never had before and would never do again.
On January 3, 1954, an editorial article appearing in the Washington Post which became a flashpoint for those that opposed the U.S. government’s building a parkway that would pave over the old 185-mile C&O Canal. It was a long hike proposed by Associate Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas that would settle the matter and set a trend toward preserving nature and history.
The Pedestrian (aka “The Pedestrian’s Adventures”) Edward Payson Weston’s account of his famous 1861 walk from Boston to Washington DC was published in 1862 in a pamphlet which he sold to help pay back debts he incurred and establish his reputation as “The Pedestrian”. The following is a chronological summary of his log for the walk […]