The third coin issued in 2015 for the United States Mint America the Beautiful Quarters® Program is the 2015 Blue Ridge Parkway Quarter. It is the twenty-eighth of fifty-six coins in the program which launched in 2010.
As shown in the quarter image directly above, the reverse design honors Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina.
This quarter entered circulation beginning on June 8, 2015 with the United States Mint offering bags and rolls of them on June 29, 2015. An official quarter launch ceremony was held by the National Park Service and United States Mint on June 25, at Pack Square Park in Asheville, North Carolina.
Appearing on the quarter’s reverse is a depiction of the grace and curvature of the road hugging the side of a mountain, with the North Carolina state flower in the foreground. Inscriptions are BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY, NORTH CAROLINA, 2015 and E PLURIBUS UNUM.
This design, created by Frank Morris and sculpted by Joseph Menna, was selected from among a total of six design proposals. These designs candidates were reviewed by various officials, the Citizen’s Coinage Advisory Committee and the United States Commission of Fine Arts with the U.S. Mint making a recommendation to the Secretary of Treasury who is responsible for selecting the final designs on U.S. coins.
Additional 2015 America the Beautiful Quarter releases for the year include:
- Homestead National Monument of America Quarter
- Kisatchie National Forest Quarter
- Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge Quarter
- Saratoga National Historical Park Quarter
Blue Ridge Parkway of North Carolina
Scenery is the topic of the day when it comes to discussions of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The 469 mile long road is located in Virginia and mostly North Carolina.
Construction on the parkway, known as the Appalachian Scenic Highway then, began in 1935 under many of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s public works programs. Private contractors, Works Progress Administration, Civilian Conservation Corps and even the Civilian Public Service program all played a role in its completion.
Twenty-six tunnels through the rock of the mountains are located on the completed parkway, one of them on the Virginia portion of the road and the remaining in North Carolina. It is not uncommon for sections of the road near these tunnels to be closed during the winter due to hazardous conditions created by dripping water turning to ice.
The complete Parkway as it is presented today took over 52 years to complete, with the last section being added as recently as 1987. The entire road follows closely along the Blue Ridge mountain chain and offers spectacular views at almost every mile-marker.