Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area | Ottawa, IL
California National Historic Trail | Lassen Volcanic NP, CA
California National Historic Trail | Fort Kearny SHP, NE
Oregon National Historic Trail | Fort Kearny SHP, NE
Pony Express National Historic Trail | Fort Kearny SHP, NE
The government shutdown in early 2019 significantly reduced the normal creation of new Parks Passport cancellation stamps, with no new additions in both February and in April.
The new additions are headlined by three official cancellations for the Aviation National Heritage Area, which is centered around the Dayton Aviation National Historical Park in Dayton, Ohio. The Armstong Air and Space Museum is located about an hour north of Dayton in Wapakoneta – the home town of the first man to walk on the moon. It contains memorabilia related to the life and achievements of Neil Armstong, as we all as other exhibits related to the history of the space program. This new cancellation would be a great way to celebrate the upcoming 50th Anniversary of Armstrong becoming the first human to set foot on another world on July 20, 1969.
The Woodland Cemetery and Arboretum in Dayton itself contains the graves of Orville and Wilbur Wright. It also contains the grave of Charles Kettering, a notable inventor whose accomplishments include developing the first aerial missile. The Wright B Flyer Museum in nearby Miamisburg, south of Dayton, displays and operates a replica of the Wright Brothers’ first production aircraft – the “Model B.”
The Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail has added fave stamps this month. Four are new stamps in the state of Montana, and the fifth is just an update to one of its stamps in Iowa. The Lewis & Clark Center in Sioux City, Iowa interprets the Corps of Discovery’s late summer encampment there. The only death on the expedition occurred there when one Sargent Charles Floyd died, most likely due to appendicitis. As for the four new stamps in Montana, the Fort Peck Dam has an interpretive center for the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Montana, which contains a particularly undeveloped stretch of the trail route along the Missouri River. The town of Fort Benton in central Montana is the home of Montana’s state memorial to the Lewis & Clark expedition. The Canyon Ferry Dam in the state capital of Helena also provides interpretation of the Corps of Discovery. The Yellowstone Gateway Museum in the town of Livingston on Interstate 90 interprets the return trip of the explorers.
The Shirley House in Vicksburg National Military Park in Mississippi is the only surviving structure from the Civil War era left in the park. This cancellation joins the existing cancellations for the main park visitor center, as well as for the museum preserving the Civil War-era ironclad, the U.S.S. Cairo.
Fort Kearny in central Nebraska is preserved as a Nebraska State Park. This U.S. Army outpost was a waystation first on the Oregon Trail, then the California Trail, and then finally for the Pony Express riders. Somewhat confusingly, Fort Kearny State Historical Park is located near the town of Kearney, Nebraska. The Fort was named after an officer in the U.S. Army by the name of Stephen Watts Kearny, and the town was named after the fort. Apparently at some point in the 19th Century, a well-meaning post office worker misspelled the name of the town as “Kearney” and the misspelled name stuck.
The California Trail also gets a new cancellation this month commemorating one of the alternate routings west, this one going through present-day Lassen Volcanic National Park.
Cover Photo Credit of the Armstrong Museum: Kremerbi [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]
As I get caught back up with blogging, the highlights of this month’s new stamps are the five new additions for Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. These new stamps were created just a few weeks before this park was redesignated as Indiana Dunes National Park, making them strong candidates to quickly become collector’s items, depending on whether or not the park decided to continue to make them available as a “secret stash” under the counter or by some other arrangement for devoted passport cancellation collectors.
Mount Baldy is a sand dune located at the far eastern end of the Park. Its notable because the “bald” top provides clear views from which you can see as far away as Chicago. You can only climb to the top on a Ranger-guided hike, but the area also has a swimmable beach. West Beach is the westernmost swimmable beach in the park, although the park does include additional protected inland areas even further to the west, including an Environmental Education Center.
The Pinhook Bog is an outlying unit of the park, located right off Interstate 80, but is only accessible by Ranger-guided tours. The Bailly Homestead and the Chellburg Farm, by contrast, are located relatively close to the main visitor center in the town of Porter, Indiana. The Bailly Homestead dates from 1822 and was one of the earliest settlements in Indiana. The Chellburg Farm, meanwhile, was established by Swedish immigrants in the 1870s.
These new stamps give Indiana Dunes a total of six passport cancellations. If you’re interested in Indiana Dunes National Park, you might also enjoy this episode of the National Parks Podcast, which discusses the architectural legacy of some of the houses located just outside the park boundaries.
Another highlight is the first stamp for Camp Nelson National Monument. Camp Nelson represents President Trump’s first use of the Antiquities Act to establish a new national park via a Presidential Proclamation. During the Civil War, the Union supply depot at Camp Nelson became a key location for recruiting and training African Americans to join the Union Army.
The Lockkeeper’s House is located at the corner of 17th Street and Constitution Avenue Northwest in Washington, DC on the edge of Constitution Gardens. That location is diagonally across Constitution Avenue from the southwest corner of The Ellipse located behind the White House. This house was used by a lockkeeper on the Washington City Canal from 1835 to 1855. The canal was later filled in during the 1870s. The restored lockhouse was finally reopened on October 23, 2018.
The Lockhouse at C&O Canal National Historical Park Lock #21 is better known as Swain’s Lock. The Swain family was the last canal family living in a lockhouse – the last family member didn’t move out until 2006! The Canal Trust, the non-profit partner of the C&O Canal National Historical Park has been working on efforts to rennovate the lockhouse since 2015. Once completed, the lockhouse will be the seventh location in the innovative Canal Quarters Program. The Canal Quarters Program lets visitors spend the night in a restored canal lockhouse, which keeps these otherwise abandoned structures in use and also raises much-needed funds for their upkeep. Each of the seven lockhouses also has their own passport cancellation as well. In addition, the lockhouse is large enough that once-completed it will also provide classroom space for educational programs in the park. Swain’s Lock is having an open house on Saturday afternoon, June 29, 2019 – if you are in the Washington area, that will be a great opportunity to check it out and to obtain what will surely be a Passport cancellation that is rarely collected on-site.
The Ice Age National Scenic Trail is located entirely in Wisconsin, and takes long-distance hikers along landscapes that were right on the edge of what is now known as the Wisconsin glaciation. The new stamp is a little surprising, however, as the actual route of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail actually passes several miles to the east of Mill Bluff State Park near Camp Douglas, Wisconsin. Mill Bluff State Park is a participant in the Ice Age National Scientific Reserve Affiliated Area of the National Park Service, which includes nine Wisconsin State Parks, and is one of seven sites that already has a Cancellation for the Reserve. Of those seven, it was the only one that did not also have a cancellation for the Ice Age National Scenic Trail, so perhaps that explains why a new cancellation was added for this site, despite not actually being on the Trail route.
The Ranger III is a National Park Service vessel that takes passengers to Isle Royale National Park. The vessel is based in the town of Houghton, Michigan in the “upper peninsula of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula” and located near Keweenaw National Historical Park. The new stamp will mean that visitors traveling to Isle Royale National Park from Houghton, Michigan will be able to get a second stamp before the even arrive on the island thanks to the NPS Visitor Center in Houghton and this one on board the boat.
Normally, the National Park Service recommends waiting several years before designating a National Memorial for contemporary events. However, that waiting period was understandably waived in the case of commemorating the dramatic events surround United Flight 93 of September 11, 2001. The Flight 93 National Memorial was designated around the site where the passengers of Flight 93 took matters into their own hands, and brought down their hi-jacked before it could be used as a weapon – likely against the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC. The Tower of Voices is the final piece of the memorial. The 93-foot tall tower containing 40 wind chimes is a moving tribute to the 40 passengers who gave their lives on Flight 93.
If you haven’t been to Flight 93 National Memorial, or if you haven’t been recently, the completion of the Tower of Voices certainly makes for a compelling reason to make an American pilgrimage to the site. Parkasaurus hasn’t been since 2011, when our family visited with our then-infant first child around the 10th anniversary of 9/11. We made sure to get our Passport cancellation with the iconic date forever associated with the site on it:
That cancellation remains one of the favorites in my collection. For all of us who lived through that day and carry the memories of those events, that date carries a special significance.
The site back then was still largely undeveloped – but there were still many Americans visiting from all different backgrounds and walks of life. At the time, the National Park Service only had a temporary visitor center – but even then, the stories of the participants in the events of Flight 93 that the National Park Service had collected were still incredibly moving. That will surely only moreso be the case now that the site has largely finished.
With the recent burning of the Cathedral of Notre Dame in France (admittedly several months after I initially started writing, but alas, not completing, this post) the dinner table conversation in the Parkasaurus family with our now-eight-year-old and his younger siblings turned to the concept of “remember where you were when” events. Surprisingly, it was actually our eight year old who brought that topic up. That naturally led to Mrs. Parkasaurus and I sharing our experiences of 9/11 with our children for the first time. Both of us were living in the Washington, DC, area at the time, albeit without yet knowing of each other. I’m not sure just yet when we will be ready to share the emotional impact of visiting this site with our children, but it will certainly be an impactful opportunity to talk with our children about bravery, and what to do when ordinary people are confronted with extraordinary circumstances in the history of their country.
The General George Gordon Meade Memorial is one of the most striking statues in Washington, DC. Photo from 2015.The next memorial this month concerns history-changing events that are now longer in living memory. Union Civil War General George Gordon Meade is best known for his successful leadership at the Battle of Gettysburg some 100 miles to the east and some 140 years earlier. Most historians recognize the three-day Battle of Gettysburg as the turning point of the Civil War in favor of an ultimate Union Victory. The striking memorial, located in Pennsylvania Avenue National Historic Site in Washington, DC, was dedicated in 1927. In 2013, the Meade Memorial was featured on the annual stickers issued by Eastern National each year for the Passport Program. The Meade Memorial was the sticker that year for the National Capital Region, and it marked the 150th Anniversary that year of the Battle of Gettysburg. For the last 5 years, the Meade Memorial has been the only site featured on an annual sticker by Eastern National, but without its own passport cancellation – a situation that’s now been rectified with this month’s addition. The Meade Memorial is often over-looked in the shadow of the grand memorials of Washington, DC, just as Meade himself is often overlooked on the list of the now larger-than-life characters that usually dominate historical narratives of the Civil War, like Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant. Despite the relative unfamiliarity of George Gordon Meade’s name in popular history, both his role in changing the course of the Civil War and also the unique design of this memorial with the gold wreath and stone carving make it worth checking out on your next journey along Pennsylvania Avenue through the Nation’s Capital.
Finally, the Titanic Memorial has long been one of my favorite off-the-beaten path locations in Washington, DC. Located at the end of P Street Southwest in Washington, few tourists venture to visit the site, located some 1.2 miles south of the National Mall – despite the national sensation created by the famed James Cameron movie. In addition to its location, however, it perhaps is also often overlooked because of the story behind the memorial itself. Although the memorial was not erected until 1931, the impetus for the memorial began in the years immediately after the 1912 sinking. The striking inscription on the memorial says that it was erected by “the women of America” and is dedicated not to the victims of the sinking in general, but rather, is dedicated specifically to “To the brave men who perished in the wreck of the Titanic – April 15 1912. They gave their lives that women and children might be saved.”
The building of this memorial was largely driven by anti-suffragettes, women who were actually opposed to the work of Alice Paul, which is now commemorated at Belmont-Paul National Monument. The story is admittedly a bit more complicated than that, as the 19th Amendment to the Constitution guaranteeing women the right to vote was ratified in 1920, and the Titanic Memorial was not completed until eleven years later.
Nevertheless, the inscription that remains on the memorial’ still bears testament to that era. The thinking behind these anti-suffragettes was that if women were to be granted full legal equality with men that there might be unintended consequences of women losing some of the privileges that they did enjoy in early 20th Century society – such as priority access to lifeboats. Nowadays, it seems almost unthinkable that there might have been women who opposed passage of the 19th Amendment granting them the right to vote in exchange for such “privileges,” but our past is a complicated past. Nevertheless, the Titanic Memorial in Washington, DC is perhaps the finest example of how a memorial may be intended to commemorate a particularly person or historical event, but in fact, may end up telling us just as much about the people who created the memorial as the persons or events commemorated by the memorial itself. This makes the Titanic Memorial an outstanding place to visit, nut just to get away from the crowds and hustle and bustle of the National Mall, but also to reflect on how the memorials we create today will outlast us in future generations.
There are lots more other changes to the National Park System included in the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act, which has now been officially signed into law.
Among the many remaining changes that jump out to me is that Death Valley National Park is expanded by 35,292 acres, further expanding the largest national park in the contiguous 48 states. Although this is a small addition to Death Valley’s existing 3.4 million acres, the expansion is larger than seven other national parks. If this were a stand-alone addition to the National Park System, we might well be celebrating the addition of a 62nd national park. In fact, the additional lands are about the size of Bryce Canyon National Park’s 35, 835 acres. So in some ways, this addition to Death Valley National Park is the new national park that no one is talking about. If land of this size had been set aside as a new national park with a new name, it would certainly be headline news. As it is, its a bit of a footnote, but is still worth celebrating.
A bit over 6,000 acres of this addition come from adding an area known as “the Crater” to the Park. If you look closely at a map of Death Valley National Park, The Crater appears as a “doughnut hole” of Bureau of Land Management Land in the northeast corner of the Park. That hole will now be filled in. The remaining 29,000 acres come from expanding the Park southwards to include the land between the current boundaries and the Fort Irwin National Training Center operated by the U.S. military.
Although the expansion of Death Valley is far and away the largest expansion of the National Park System under the Dingell Act, there are a number of other changes to existing units that should not be overlooked:
Acadia National Park benefits by Congress confirming the 2015 addition of land on the Schoodic Peninsula to the Park;
Fort Frederica National Monument in Georgia, where the British solidified their hold on their southern colonies, is expanded by 22%, with the addition of 55 additional acres;
Fort Scott National Historic Site in Kansas, which preserves a Fort that played an important role in the “Bleeding Kansas” conflicts of the antebellum years before the Civil War gets a small boundary expansion;
Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Historical Park not only gets a new name, but gets formal recognition of the inclusion of Fort Moultrie and the Charleston Lifesaving Station within the boundaries of the park after 60 years of being unofficially included in the park;
Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park in Georgia, the site of an important battle on General Sherman’s “March to the Sea” during the Civil War, gets a small addition of 8 acres around the Wallis House and Hairston Hill;
Joshua Tree National Park gets a modest expansion of 4,518 acres, plus the authority to establish a new visitor center in the unincorporated town of Joshua Tree, California;
the Davis Bridge Battlefield in Tennessee, which is currently already a Parks Passport cancellation location by virtue of being part of a shared National Historic Landmark designation with the national military park itself,
additional acres around the Fallen Timbers Battlefield site in Tennessee, and
the Russel House Battlefield site on the Tennessee-Mississippi border;
Voyageurs National Park in northern Minnesota benefits by allowing the Department of the Interior to transfer 49 acres within the current Park boundaries that are currently managed by the Bureau of Land Management to National Park Service management, and also authorizes the possibility of up to several dozen additional acres to be donated to the National Park Service by the State of Minnesota;
Beyond the additions to the National Park System, the Dingell Act will also make a major change to the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, extending it from its current starting point near St. Louis, Missouri eastward to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 2004, during the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial, Congress directed the National Park Service to conduct a “Special Resource Study” on extending the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail eastward to include routes related to activities occurring both before and after the main 1804-1806 expedition already commemorated by the existing Trail. The National Park Service looked at some 25 different route segments as part of its study, eventually determining that only the routes from Pittsburgh to St. Louis along the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers met the criteria for historical significance to be added to the National Historic Trails System.
Interestingly, in researching this post, I discovered that the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail had already certified 12 of these “Eastern Legacy” sites as Trail locations, despite not being located along the then-authorized trail route. The extension of the Lewis & Clark Trail to Pittsburgh will incorporate about half of these sites, but five certified sites will remain outside of the new, extended National Historic Trail:
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park in West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia where Lewis procured armaments for the expedition and tested plans for a collapsable boat (which ultimately failed);
the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where Lewis received training in the natural sciences from Benjamin Rush, and other Society Members, in preparation for the expedition;
the College of Physicians in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where Meriwether Lewis received Medical Training from Benjamin Rush and others; and finally,
the Lewis and Clark Herbarium at the Academy of Natural Resources where most of the plant specimens collected by the Corps of Discovery continue to be housed today.
The Dingell Act will also be adding one new Affiliated Area to the National Park System. The Parker’s Crossroads Battlefield in Tennessee, which already has a passport cancellation and an Eastern National-operated bookstore gets elevated to recognition as an Affiliated Area of the National Park System. The 368 acre battlefield is managed by the non-profit American Battlefield Trust, and preserves the site of a Civil War engagement that took place on New Year’s Eve, approximately three and a half months prior to the Battle of Shiloh.
Finally, the Dingell Act authorizes a number of special resource studies for future additions to the National Park System. A special resource study is where the National Park Service formally studies and gathers public input on the national significance, suitability, and feasibility of a proposed addition to the National Park System. As mentioned earlier, it can be a long time between the authorization of a special resource study and a change to the National Park System – 15 years in the case of the eastward extension of the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail. Here are the studies authorized by the Dingell Act:
the President James K. Polk Home in Columbia, Tennessee, which would be the first National Park System Unit other than Gateway Arch National Park interpreting the Presidency of James K. Polk;
the Thurgood Marshall School in Baltimore, Maryland, better-known as Public School 103, which the first African-American Supreme Court Justice attended as a youth;
President Street Station, which played a role in the Underground railroad, Baltimore’s Civil War riots, the growth of the railroad industry, and early 20th century immigration (and which also currently has an Eastern National Bookstore and its own Parks Passport cancellation already);
Camp Amache Internment Camp in Granada, Colorado, which would be the fourth Japanese internment camp added to the National Park System;
the George W. Bush childhood home in Midland Texas;
the Ocmulgee River Corridor in Macon, Georgia; and
the route of the explorer Zebulon Montgomery Pike (of Pike’s Peak fame) for consideration as a national historic trail.
These special resource studies will join a slew of studies already underway by the National Park Service, including a study of Fort Ontario in Oswego, New York that was authorized by a piece of stand-alone legislation in October 2018.
The authorizations of special resource studies for the President Street Station and for Thurgood Marshall’s Elementary School in Baltimore, Maryland are particularly notable because Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland first introduced legislation requesting this study in October of 2011. It took more than 7 years to get the legislation enacted, just for a study! The proposal for the study of a Pike National Historic Trail goes all the way back to 2010! That really illustrates how much effort goes into establishing just one new unit of the National Park System – even a small one! Moreover, many of these special resource studies will of course conclude that the proposed addition is either not suitable, not feasible, or even not nationally significant and recommend against inclusion in the National Park System. Although Congress can always make its own decision, an unfavorable recommendation in the special resource study often effectively ends efforts to designate a particular area a national park.
This article is Part III of a three-part series on changes to the National Park System in early 2019. Check out Part I and Part II.
Update: This post was updated after publication to make it clearer that the “new” national park will still be known as Death Valley National Park.
Since writing my first post on all the coming changes to the National Park System, the bill formerly known as the Natural Resources Management Act has been given a new name! After being passed by the Senate, the House proposed (and the Senate accepted) changing the name of this bill to the John Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act. John Dingell, Jr. passed away earlier this year on February 7th. He is notable as the longest-serving member of the US House of Representatives ever, a 59 year tenure that included 14 years as the top ranking Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
By any other name, however, this bill contains a unique provision with the addition of the Quindaro Town Site in Kansas as third national commemorative site that will operate in partnership with the National Park Service. What is a national commemorative site, you may ask? Well, Congress has actually never answered that question definitively by defining the term national commemorative site in law. Indeed, until just one year ago, there was only a single national commemorative site in the nation. With the creation of the third national commemorative site, however, we can start to draw some conclusions.
A national commemorative site appears to be an honorary designation that recognizes the historical significance of a place, without elevating it to the status of a full-fledged unit of the National Park System. In particular, this means that there is no National Park Service management of a national commemorative site, and only minimal federal funding for a national commemorative site, although the National Park Service does become authorized to enter into cooperative agreements with local authorities to improve interpretation at these sites.
A good way to think about these national commemorative sites is to look at where they logically fit into the heirarchy of historic designations in the United States:
The National Register of Historic Places was established in 1966 and currently includes more than 90,000 listings, making it the broadest designation. Listing on the National R
A national historic landmark must meet a higher standard of national significance than a listing on the National Register of Historic Places. National historic landmarks have been designated since 1935, and there are currently more than 2,500 such landmarks. All national historic landmarks are automatically listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
National historic sites all must meet the criteria for being a National historic landmark, and most must also meet the National Park Service’s criteria for administration as a unit of the National Park System. Upon passage of the Dingell Act, there will be 76 national historic sites* in the National Park System, 54 national historic parks in the National Park System, another 9 National Historic States that are affiliated areas of the National Park System, and 1 national historic site operated by the National Forest Service.
The national commemorative site designation seems to fit right between national historic landmark and national historic site in terms of level of recognition and Federal involvement. It definitely provides a bit more recognition and Federal involvement than designation as a national historic landmark. However, the relative obscurity of the national commemorative site designation and the very minimal Federal involvement places it well below the designation of a national historic site.
The first national commemorative site was designated in 1998. The Charleston Public School Complex in Charleston, AR received this unique designation in recognition of the fact that it was the first school system in the South to fully desegregate following the historic Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision in 1954. Most notably, the process of desegregation at Charleston occurred entirely peacefully – which is surely as worthy of recognition as the places where violence occurred.
This designation remained one-of-a-kind for nearly 20 years until Congress revived it again by designating the Landmark for Peace Memorial in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana as the Kennedy-King National Commemorative Site in April 2018. The Memorial is close by the site where then-Presidential Candidate Robert F. Kennedy was informed that Martin Luther King Jr. had been assassinated earlier that day, and proceeded to deliver extemporaneous remarks on racial reconciliation – rather than his planned stump speech. That speech is credited with playing a role in Indianapolis not seeing any race riots that evening, unlike so many other US cities. Its interesting that once again, the national commemorative site was used almost for what didn’t happen, or at the very least, what happened peacefully.
Once the Dingell Act is signed into law, the Quindaro Townsite archeological site in Kansas City, Kansas will become the third national commemorative site. Quindaro was a town founded by abolitionists in 1856 at the height of the “Bleeding Kansas” years. They were seeking to ensure that Kansas would eventually be admitted to the Union as a “Free State” where slavery was prohibited. The town became a stop on the Underground Railroad, and also played an important role in Reconstruction by setting up schools and other educational opportunities for freed slaves. The location of the townsite was eventually lost to history before being rediscovered in the 1980’s. This national recognition is the latest in a series of attempts to draw attention to the story of Quindaro and the role that it played in both the Underground Railroad and in Reconstruction. This post by Kansas Travel blogger Keith Stokes has detailed information on how to visit the Quindaro Townsite.
* – For simplicity, I included two sites with slightly different designations in these totals: (1) St Croix International Historic Site, an early French settlement on the border of Maine and New Brunswick; and (2) Aleutian World War II National Historic Area, an affiliated area of the National Park System on the island of Amaknak in Alaska.
For the curious, Grey Towers National Historic Site in Pennsylvania is the former home of Gifford Pinchot, founder of the US Forest Service, and remains a US Forest Service site rather than a National Park Service site.
This article is Part II of a three-part series on all the changes occurring to the National Park System in early 2019. Click here to read Part I.
Calendar year 2018 ended on a low note for the National Park System in the midst of a partial Federal government shutdown. With the budget negotiations to keep the Federal government open consuming almost all of Congress’ attention in November, December, and January, that left a lot of unfinished business that Congress was unable to get to before their 115th Session ended in early January. Fortunately, the newly elected Congress began the 116th Session by immediately taking up many of the pending public lands provisions that had received Committee hearings and debates over the previous two years in the 115th Session and sent many of them to the President’s desk for signature. Here’s a recap of what you need to know:
I’ll begin with the news that Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is now Indiana Dunes National Park. On Friday February 15, the President signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2019. This is the law the prevented another government shutdown from beginning on February 16 by providing budget authority to the National Park Service (and all other Federal agencies that weren’t previously funded) through September 30, 2019. Normally, any law with the words “Appropriations Act” in the title is supposed to be limited to just providing funding – and is not supposed to be making other changes to permanent law. However, advocates for redesignating Indiana Dunes were so persistent that they managed to get their provision tucked into this must-pass legislation keeping the government open so as to ensure that it was enacted into law. Thus, congratulations to Indiana Dunes on being redesignated as the 61st “national park” of the United States (or alternatively, the 62nd depending if you count “Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts” as a “national park.”)
Most other proposed bills relating to the National Park System aren’t so lucky to be tucked into must-pass legislation. Instead, it has now become common practice that whenever a two-year session of Congress begins wrapping up, a giant “omnibus” piece of legislation is crafted to bring together a large number of public lands provisions that had been debated in Committee over the previous two years. The idea behind the “omnibus” is to include something for almost everyone in Congress, and thus ensure its passage. So it was little surprise when the “omnibus” public lands bill for the 115th Congress (2017-2018), the Natural Resources Management Act, passed the Senate earlier this week by a vote of 92-8. The House of Representatives is almost certain to pass this legislation sometime next week. Its possible that they may even pass it without amendment, which would send the legislation directly to President Trump for his signature to be enacted into law.
Presuming that happens, here is what you need to know about how the Natural Resources Management Act will impact the National Park System.
First up, the existing World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument is being broken up, creating a new addition to the National Park System. The “Valor” National Monument was always an odd creation from the moment that President George W. Bush created it in 2008 by combining the existing then-designated USS Arizona National Memorial with several other sites around Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, the site of the Tule Lake Internment Camp in California, and three World War II sites in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. The USS Arizona Memorial and the other sites around Pearl Harbor are redesignated as the Pearl Harbor National Memorial. The Tule Lake Unit of the Monument is redesignated as the Tule Lake National Monument, and this will effectively become the 419th Unit of the National Park System upon passage of the legislation (unless something very surprising happens between now and then). The Alaskan areas of the monument are redesignated as Aleutian Islands World War II National Monument, and they will continue to be managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and so will not be part of the National Park System.
Next, the bill authorizes the establishment of two new units of the National Park System:
Medgar and Myrlie Evers Home National Monument in Mississippi
Mill Springs Battlefield National Monument in Kentucky
Medgar and Myrlie Evers were famed civil rights activists, and this national monument will protect the home where they lived in Jackson, Mississippi from 1956 up until Medgar’s asssasination in 1963. Mill Springs Battlefield is located near the town of Nancy in south-central Kentucky. In January 1862, it was the site of the first significant Union victory during the Civil War.
Neither site will become the 420th unit of the National Park System just yet. Instead, both sites will become full-fledged national parks upon the acquisition of land for the sites by the National Park Service. In that sense, they join a pool of candidates that for that distinction that includes:
Ste. Genevieve National Historical Park – an early French settlement in Missouri that was first authorized last year (and whose authorized boundaries will be modified in this legislation in order to help move the process along);
the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial – first authorized in 1999, the memorial commission is currently hoping to complete construction on a site near the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC by May 8, 2020;
the Adams Memorial – first authorized in 2001 at the height of the popularity of David McCullough’s Pulitzer-Prize winning biography of family patriarch John Adams, the effort to memorialize the family has struggled with fundraising, but this legislation extends the authorization for the memorial until 2025 and establishes a Commission to try and jump-start these efforts;
Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home National Historic Site – first authorized in 2002, the National Park Service and the Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home Preservation Foundation were not able to agree on a selling price for the site in Dixon, Illinois, and so land acquisition won’t happen until that changes.
So, if you’re keeping track at home, it is likely that the 420th unit of the National Park System will be one of Mill Springs Battlefield National Monument, Medgar and Myrlie Evers Home National Monument, Ste. Genevieve National Historical Park, or Coltsville National Historical Park – but there is always the possibility that the President could declare a brand-new national monument under the Antiquities Act even before land acquisition for any one of those authorized (or soon-to-be authorized) parks happens.
The Natural Resources Management Act,once enacted will also make a large number of name changes to the National Park System:
Camp Nelson National Monument in central Kentucky, designated just a couple months ago to preserve a training ground for African-American Union soldiers during the Civil War gets renamed as Camp Nelson Heritage National Monument;
Golden Spike National Historic Site in northern Utah, where the first trans-continental railroad was completed on May 10, 1869 gets renamed Golden Spike National Historical Park, just in time for their 150th Anniversary;
Honouliuli National Monument, the Japanese prisoner of war camp that was also used for internement of Japanese-American civilians on Oahu, in Hawaii, gets renamed Honouliuli National Historic Site;
Ocmulgee National Monument, which preserves paleo-Indian archeological sites that are up to 17,000 years old, pre-Columbian American Indian mounds that are about 1,000 years old, and the historic culture of the Creek Nation in the city of Macon in central Georgia gets renamed as Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park;
Reconstruction Era National Monument in and around Beaufort, South Carolina, where the process of building a new life for recently-emancipated African-Americans began, gets renamed Reconstruction Era National Historical Park;
All of those name changes would take place immediately upon enactment.
With that, those are all the changes to the units of the National Park System in the proposed legislation as it passed the Senate. It remains possible that the House of Representatives may add a few changes of their own as they consider the legislation this week. In my next post, I will put together a summary of all the changes to the National Park System outside the those designated as official units.
This is Part I of a three-part series on changes to the National Park System in early 2019. Check out Part II and Part III.
Updated on February 18, 2019 to correct errors and clarify the order of which Parks will become the 419th and 420th Units of the National Park System.Share this Parkasaurus post: Follow Parkasaurus:
California National Historic Trail | NHT Interpretive Center, WY
Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail | NHT Interpretive Center, WY
Oregon National Historic Trail | NHT Interpretive Center, WY
El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail | The Stone Fort Museum, TX
Old Spanish National Historic Trail | Canyons of the Ancients VC & Museum
Trail of Tears National Historic Trail |
New Echota-Cherokee Capital SHS, GA
Shiloh NMP, TN
All of this month’s stamps represent replacements for existing cancellation locations.
Redwood National Park in northern California is a mix of Federal and State Park land preserving groves of coastal redwoods, including the tallest trees in the world. The Kuchel Visitor Center is located outside the small town of Orick, California. It is the primary visitor center for accessing the southern portion of Redwood National Park, which includes the bulk of the federal lands. The southern portion of Redwood National Park also includes the popular Lady Bird Johnson Trail and the four-mile Tall Trees Trail (free permit required.) The Hiouichi Visitor Center is located in the northern portion of the Park, which is primarily composed of state park land. The Hiouichi Visitor Center is located just outside of Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park (Parkasaurus | September 2016). The northern portion of the park also includes Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, which does not have a visitor center of its own.
The National Historic Trails Interpretive Center opened in Casper, Wyoming in 2002. It tells the story of the four National Historic Trails that run concurrently through most of Wyoming from the Wyoming-Nebraska border to Fort Bridger in the southwestern corner of the state: the Oregon, California, Mormon Pioneer, and Pony Express National Historic Trails. I’ve not been able to determine why only three of the four trails covered at the Center received new stamps this month. The Center does have a cancellation for the Pony Express National Historic Trail, but its a generic stamp listing all states through which the trail passes, and is not place-specific like the others. Hopefully the National Trails Office will issue a place specific stamp for the Pony Express Trail at the Center in the months ahead.
The Stone Fort Museum can be found on the campus of Stephen F. Austin University. Originally built sometime around 1790 on the El Camino Real de los Tejas, the Spanish colonial house acquired its nickname after playing a minor role in the Texas Revolution. The name of the trail translates as “The Royal Road to the Texas”, and commemorates the major Spanish trading route from colonial Mexico through Texas to present-day northwest Louisiana on the Mississippi River. The current structure is actually a replica of the original, built in 1936 for Texas’ Centennial.
The Canyons of the Ancients National Monument was established in 2000 to protect 32 million acres of landscape in southwestern Colorado. Much of that area is rich in Ancestral Puebloan archeological sites. In fact, three sites in that area had previously been designated as outlying areas of Hovenweep National Monument. The area also includes the path of the Old Spanish Trail, which once connected Santa Fe and Los Angeles. The Bureau of Land Management has actually operated the “Anasazi Heritage Center” to tell the stories of these archeological resources since 1988. The Center then became the Visitor Center for the National Monument upon its establishment in 2000. However, the word Anasazi is actually a Navajo word meaning “ancient enemy.” Thus, the modern-day Puebloans who are descended from the Ancestral Puebloans, discourage the use of the word Anasazi. Thus, the new stamp this month reflects that in April, the Anasazi Heritage Center was renamed as the Canyons of the Ancients Visitor Center and Museum, in respect of the wishes of the modern-day Pueblo Indians.
Pittsburg Landing was an area of relatively flat land on either side of the Tennessee River in southern Tennessee, which made it an important crossing point. This crossing point was used by southeastern American Indians being forced westward on the Trail of Tears, and by the Union Army heading south during the Civil War. The Union Army crossed the Tennessee at Pittsburg Landing on their way to the Confederate railroad junction at Corinth, Mississippi. This led immediately to the battle we now know as Shiloh (or Shiloh Church) as Confederate forces sought unsuccessfully to halt the Union Advance. On the first day of battle, the Union Army was pushed back to the Tennessee River, where their defence was reinforced by shelling from two Union gunboats in the river. Nevertheless, after capturing supplies the Union camps during the day, the Confederate generals felt sure that victory would be imminent the next day. However, during the night Grant’s reinforcements arrived, and around 24,000 troops came across the river at Pittsburg Landing overnight, allowing the Union Army to turn the tide of the battle the next morning.
Interestingly, this battle seems to violate the usual rule-of-thumb that Civil War battles are known by the name used by the side holding the field at the end of the engagement. The name “Battle of Pittsburg Landing” was commonly used in the north (which typically used the name of water features), but the name “Battle of Shiloh” was commonly used in the north (which typically used the name of towns.) However, the name “Battle of Shiloh” is the one that stuck in this case. The new stamp replaces the name of the river crossing used in the Trail of Tears with the name of Shiloh National Military Park, where it is now located.
In 1825, the town of New Echota in northern Georgia was established as the capital of the Cherokee Nation. It served as the capital, including the Cherokee legislature, executive, and courts until the removal of the Cherokee on the Trail of Tears in 1832. It was during this time that the Cherokee Sequoyah developed the written Cherokee language, bringing literacy to the Cherokee people – something that was still uncommon even among the Americans of European descent in the area at that time. The site of the Cherokee capital was reconstructed by the State of Georgia in the 1950’s, and opened to the public as a Georgia State Park in 1962.
James A. Garfield National Historic Site | Underground RR Freedom Network
Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area | Circle X Ranch
California National Historic Trail | Echo Information Center, UT
Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail | Echo Information Center, UT
Pony Express National Historic Trail | Echo Information Center, UT
Highlighting this month’s stamps are a set of five new stamps for the U.S. Civil Rights Trail partnership program. The U.S. Civil Rights Trail, which was just launched in 2017, actually has nothing to do with the National Historic Trails that so frequently feature in these regular passport cancellation update blog posts. A National Historic Trail can only be designated by Congress, and must reflect a route whose significance arises from actually being used in history. The U.S. Civil Rights Trail, however, is instead a branding mechanism to encourage both Americans and international tourists to explore the historic legacy of the 20th Century struggle for African-American civil rights in this country.
This program actually originated in an effort by the Obama Administration to identify additional American sites for recognition as World Heritage Sites by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO.) Despite the vast natural, historic, and cultural heritage of the United States, this country currently only has 23 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. That total is tied for just 10th most in the world with Iran, and behind such countries as Italy (#1 with 54 sites), Spain (47 sites), and Mexico (34 sites.) The idea of the US Civil Rights Trail is to connect together all of the significant sites associated with the civil rights movement, that might ultimately become suitable for nomination to be recognized as a World Heritage Site. UNESCO encourages such “serial nominations” that include multiple related and thematically connected locations together as a single “site,” so the concept of the US Civil Rights Trail could well boost the United States’ chances of being so recognized.
Currently, the US Civil Rights Trail actually includes nearly 100 different places in 14 primary destination cities, as well as in dozens of secondary destination cities. Some of the 14 primary destination cities need little introduction to anyone with even a cursory knowledge of the history of the civil rights movement, including Atlanta, Birmingham, Memphis, and Washington. Others included in the 14 primary destination cities may be less familiar. Farmville, Virginia was the site of a school desegregation case that was ultimately rolled into the more famous Brown v. Board of Education case from Topeka, Kansas. Sumner, Mississippi is part of the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area and was the site of the infamous murder of Emmitt Till (January 2017 Parkasaurus). Greensboro, North Carolina was the site of the first sit-in at a Woolworth’s lunch counter.
This month’s batch of new cancellations for the US Civil Rights Trail covers the fully-operational National Park Service sites in the National Park Service’s Southeast Region. The Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park in Atlanta, Georgia preserves both the home where the famed civil rights activist grew up and the Church where he first began to preach, and also has a fantastic visitor center. In an innovative approach, the visitor center includes a number of kiosks where you can actually hear the words of Martin Luther King from records of his speeches, and you can wander in and out of them as you browse the exhibits.
Eventually, National Park Service sites that are included in the US Civil Rights Trail, but are located outside the Southeast Region may eventually also request cancellations for the US Civil Rights Trail. As of this writing, that list would include:
Brown v Board of Education National Historic Site in Topeka, Kansas;
Gateway Arch National Park in St. Louis, Missouri (site of the courthouse where the original trial that became the landmark Supreme Court case Dred Scott v Sanford was argued);
the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC (site of Marian Anderson’s famous concert after she was denied access to Constitution Hall, and of course, of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech (Parkasaurus | March 2015);
Among the other stamps this month is a new cancellation for the Alaska Public Lands Information Center in Anchorage, Alaska which provides information on all sorts of public lands in south-central Alaska. This location had already been a cancellation location for the Iditarod National Historic Trail and for Lake Clark National Park & Preserve. Now it gets a cancellation of its own.
The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area was established in 1978 in suburban Los Angeles as part of the movement to establish urban National Recreation Areas. Like many newer national parks, this area is largely run in partnerships with the state of California, local governments, universities, and private land holders. In fact, the National Park Service actually only controls just a bit more than 23,000 of this park’s nearly 157,000 acres, which is just 15% of the total land. The Circle X Ranch is among those federally-managed parcels of land. The Ranch was formerly a Boy Scout Camp, but now serves as the only National Park Service-managed campground within the park.
The Echo Canyon Information Center is a highway rest area accessible from westbound Interstate 80 in eastern Utah. It formerly had stamps for the California, Mormon Pioneer, and Pony Express National Historic Trails from 2011 until the center temporarily closed in 2016. Now that the center has reopened, it has a new set of Passport cancellations.
Finally, there are are six stamps that have been removed from the list this month.
El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail | El Camino Real Int’l Heritage Ctr, NM
Trail of Tears National Historic Trail | Junaluska Memorial & Museum, NC
California National Historic Trail | Salt Lake City, UT
Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail | Salt Lake City, UT
Oregon National Historic Trail | Salt Lake City, UT
Pony Express National Historic Trail | Salt Lake City, UT
The El Camino Real Heritage Center in central New Mexico and the Intermountain Region Trails Office are both temporarily closed for rennovations. The Memorial and Museum to Cherokee Chief Junaluska, who fought with Andrew Jackson at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, in Robbinsville, North Carolina was damaged several years ago during severe storms and has been closed indefinitely.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park | Sevierville Visitor Center
Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site |
Buckley & Brooke Office & Store
80th Anniversary 1958-2018
Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail |
Historic Winter Quarters, NE
Sixth Crossing, WY
Church History Museum, UT
Old Spanish National Historic Trail
Fishlake National Forest – Gooseberry, UT
Museum of Moab, UT
Oregon National Historic Trail | Three Island Crossing SP, ID
Santa Fe National Historic Trail | Cimarron Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center, NM
Trail of Tears National Historic Trail | History Museum on the Square, MO
The highlight of this month’s stamps are two new cancellations for the Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site, located about an hour’s drive to the west of Philadelphia. Hopewell Furnace is one of three national park system sites with a primary interpretive theme on the history of ironworking. The first is the Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site, located just northeast of Boston. The Saugus Iron Works were the first iron-making facility in the English Colonies, and operated in the mid-1600’s from 1646 to approximately 1670. The Hopewell Furnace was founded a full century later in 1771. It operated using charcoal for heat all the way until 1883 when coal-powered steel mills began to take over. The Tredegar Iron Works were founded in 1831, and are today preserved as the main visitor facility for Richmond National Battlefield Park in Richmond, Virginia. The Tredegar Iron Works were the largest in the Confederate States, and were a critical armory to the Confederate war effort. Like Hopewell, Tredegar faded from prominence with the introduction of steel in the late 19th Century, but did manage to stay in operation through both World Wars and into the mid-20th Century. The story of the transition to steel can be visited through the National Park Service’s Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area in western Pennsylvania.
The first new stamp for Hopewell Furnace of course commemorates the 80th anniversary of the park’s establishment. The second is for one of the historic buildings preserved in the park, the Buckley & Brooke Office and Store. In its heyday, Hopewell Furnace functioned as a self-contained company town in which the workers were paid by the company, and in turn bought much of what they needed from the company. The company town concept bears a lot of similarities to the Blue Heron coal mining community at Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area in southeastern Kentucky.
If you visit Hopewell Furnace today, you can of course tour the historic buildings, including the historic furnace that is the centerpiece of the park, as well as of course the historic company store and the historic ironmaster’s house. There are also farm buildings with livestock, which are always a hit with little kids, as well as reconstructed charcoal huts where the charcoal was made that powered the iron furnace. It is hard to believe today, with Hopewell Furnace largely surrounded by the well-forested French Creek State Park but in the heyday of the Furnace, this area would have been nearly clear cut to fuel the furnace’s continuous need for charcoal. An exception to that, however, would have been the iron-making community’s fruit orchards – and a visit to Hopewell Furnace in the late summer and early fall can provide the unique opportunity to go apple-picking in a national park, including many heirloom varieties.
The new stamp for Acadia National Park appears to be an update to the existing stamp for Isle au Haut. Isle au Haut is a small outlying island, which is only accessible by ferry from the coastal town of Stonington. Around half of the island is set aside as an outlying unit of Acadia National Park. Duck Harbor is about four miles from the town of Isle au Haut and is the location of the National Park Service campground and the National Park Service trailheads for the island.
The town of Sevierville in Tennessee is one of many gateway communities to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The towns of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are located just outside the park’s main visitor center, and are notorious for their crushing traffic congestion. Sevierville is located at the junction of US Route 441 and Tennessee Route 66, and is a convenient place for the National Park Service to provide information to incoming travelers heading towards the Great Smoky Mountains just before they would reach Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg,
Notable also this month are stamps for three very significant locations on the Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail. The Mormon Trail Center at Historic Winter Quarters in Omaha, Nebraska commemorates the settlement where the original group of Mormon Pioneers spent the winter of 1846-1847 after being expelled from Nauvoo, Illinois. (See Parkasaurus for June 2017.) The new Sixth Crossing Visitors Center in Lander, Wyoming marks the difficult crossing of the Sweetwater River by a later group of Mormon Pioneers in October 1856. Hit by an early season snowstorm, this group of settlers ultimately had to be rescued at this spot by supplies of food and clothing sent from Salt Lake City. Finally, the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City, Utah comprehensively tells the story of the Church of Latter-Day Saints.
The Old Spanish National Historic Trail had just added stamps in Moab, Utah and for the Fish Lake National Forest in April 2018. This first of this month’s stamps appear to be headed for the US Forest Service Offices for Fish Lake National Forest, in addition to the previous stamp for Fish Lake Resorts. The second stamp is headed to the the Museum of Moab, Utah – the gateway community for Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. The town of Moab now has four different cancellation locations for the Old Spanish National Historic Trail, as this cancellation joins existing ones at Arches National Park, the Bureau of Land Management Moab Field Office, and the town of Moab Information Center. Unfortunately, and strangely, the Museum of Moab is closed until September 2019. Go figure.
The new stamp for the Cimarron Chamber of Commerce replaces an existing stamp reading “Cimarron, NM” for the Santa Fe National Historic Trail, which passed through the area. Many readers may be familiar with the town of Cimarron, New Mexico as also being the gateway to the famed Philmont Scout Ranch, operated by the Boy Scouts of America.
Prince William Forest Park | Washington-Rochambeau NHT
Crossroads of the Revolution National Heritage Area |
Abraham Staats House c. 1740 SBB, NJ
Battle of Bound Brook Reenactment
Ilinois & Michigan Canal National Heritage Area |
Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area |
Elvis Presley Birthplace & Museum
Historic DeSoto County Courthouse
Historic Lafayette County Courthouse
Ida B. Wells Barnett Museum
L.Q.C. Lamar House Museum
Tennessee Williams Home
Tupelo Hardware Store
Union County Heritage Museum
University of Mississippi Lyceum
William Faulkner’s Rowan Oak
(Stephen D.) Lee Home Museum
Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area |
African American Museum of Iowa
Calkins Nature Area
Center Grove Orchard
Hardin County Farm Museum
Hurstville Interpretive Center
Ice House Museum
Jasper County Historical Museum
Maier Rural Heritage Center
Mathias Ham House
National Farm Toy Museum
U of I Natural History Museum
Headlining this month’s new stamps is a new stamp for the recently-designated Gateway Arch National Park. The famous St. Louis Arch had previous been in the National Park System under the name of the “Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. ” St. Louis is located at the confluence of the Missouri River with the Mississippi River, and so served as the “gateway to the west” from the time of Thomas Jefferson’s Louisiana Purchase onward, including to the completion of the arch in 1967. The name “Jefferson National Expansion Memorial” was always one of the most-awkward names in the National Park System, and referenced the role of Thomas Jefferson in arranging for the Louisiana Purchase that brought much of the lands west of the Mississippi River into the United States. Few people probably ever heard that name, outside of National Park junkies and those with a real attention to detail. The new name of Gateway Arch National Park will certainly roll of the tongue much more easily, and will no doubt increase the visibility of the site itself, as well as increase the visibility of the fact that it is part of the National Park System.
Some purists have objected that the title of “national park” aught to be reserved for natural landscapes managed by the National Park Service. However, this name is such a clear improvement over the old name, I find it hard to support that objection. Many years ago, when I embarked on my first cross-country road trip to report for an assignment with the National Park Service in Colorado, the one detour that I made time for on my trip was a stop at the Gateway Arch. It is truly one of the most recognizable landmarks in all of the National Park System, so why not go ahead and call it Gateway Arch National Park? In fact, I’d even argue for using it as a precedent for increasing the visibility of another iconic landmark in the National Park System. How about combining Statue of Liberty National Monument and Castle Clinton National Monument into a new Liberty National Park? The Statue of Liberty National Monument includes not just the iconic statute on Liberty Island, but also the Ellis Island Immigration Museum. Castle Clinton is an early 19th-century fortification located in Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan. It was used as an immigration processing facility in the decades before Ellis Island opens, and nowadays serves as one of the main ferry departure points for visitors to Liberty Island and Ellis Island. Its a radical proposal, but for Parkasaurus, Liberty National Park certainly has a nice ring to it. So here’s a hearty welcome to Gateway Arch National Park to the list of national parks, and here’s hoping that it even inspires more.
Fort Pulaski National Monument is located near Savannah, Georgia and was the site of major bombardment in the Civil War. The successful seige of the Fort heralded the end of the era of masonry coastal fortifications, which were now obsolete against rifled artillery. The two cancellations this month are updates to existing cancellations reflecting Fort Pulaski’s participation in the Underground Railroad: Network to Freedom Partnership Program and in the Gullah-Geechee National Heritage Area. Once Fort Pulaski was captured by Union forces in April 1862, they emancipated the slaves there, and the area became a magnet for slaves escaping from the surrounding areas and seeking freedom. The Park also interprets the history of the free people of African ancestry who developed the unique Gullah culture in the coastal lowlands of Georgia and South Carolina.
Prince William Forest Park is located just outside the famed Quantico Marine Corps Base along Interstate 95 in Virginia. The new cancellation commemorates the route taken by George Washington and French General Jean-Baptiste Rochambeau on their way from New England to the final battle at Yorktown in 1781 during the closing days of the Revolutionary War.
The new stamps for the Crossroads of the Revolution National Heritage Area supplement the additions for Union County that were featured in October 2017. The Abraham Staats House is a historic home dating to circa 1740 in South Bound Brook, New Jersey. The Battle of Bound Brook was a Revolutionary War engagement that occurred in 1777. The reenactment occurs in April each year.
For the Illinois and Michigan Canal National Heritage Area the two new stamps this month, are actually reissues of earlier cancellations. The stamp for Chicago, Illinois was previously at the Chicago Historical Society Museum, but they ended their participation in the Passport Program back in 2006. The new stamp reading “Chicago, IL” will be located at the McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum. The old stamp for Lockport, Illinois was located in the historic Gaylord Building. but which now has a stamp reading “Gaylord Building.” The new Lockport, Illinois stamp is located at the Will County Historical Museum.
The Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area in northeast Mississippi has doubled its total number of cancellations this month from 12 to 24. The headliners are the Elvis Presley Birthplace Museum in the city of Tupelo and the Tennessee Williams Home in the city of Columbus. “The King” of rock’n’roll needs no introduction. Tennessee Williams is the famed playwright who wrote A Streetcar Named Desire, Orpheus Descending, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.His home is now a visitor welcome center in Columbus, and this stamp likely replaces an existing stamp simply reading “Columbus, MS.” Back in Tupelo there is also the Tupelo Hardware Store, where Gladys Presley famously bought her son, Elvis, his first guitar. Additionally, also located in Columbus is the home of former Civil War General Stephen D. Lee, which now houses a museum of Civil War artifacts that is primarily open by appointment, with limited regular hours.
The University of Mississippi is located in Oxford, Mississippi. The Lyceum is the oldest building remaining on campus and remains the primary administration building; it is named for the garden in Athens where Aristotle taught philosophy. Rowan Oak is located adjacent to the University of Mississippi campus, and was the home of William Faulkner for 40 years. In addition to winning two Pulitzer Prizes, Faulker is one of just 16 Americans to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. He is also, I believe, only the second of those 16 Americans to be associated with a site with a Passport cancellation, the other being the Eugene O’Neill National Historic Site in the East Bay Area of California, which is a full-fledged unit of the National Park System.
The L.Q.C. Lamar House is also located in Oxford. Lamar was a Congressman from Mississippi both before the Civil War and then again after Reconstruction ended in 1873. He actually drafted Mississippi’s secession documents, and then went on to become an Ambassador for the Confederate States of America. After his return to Congress, went on to become a Senator, a Secretary of the Interior under President Grover Cleveland, and then a Supreme Court Justice (nominated by Cleveland.) The town of Oxford also includes the Historic Lafayette County Courthouse.
Ida B. Wells is perhaps somewhat less famous that the above cultural figures, but no less remarkable. Born in Mississippi in the middle of the Civil War, she would lose both her parents to disease at the age of 16. Nevertheless, she went on to become a journalist as an African-American woman, with a particular focus on documenting lynchings in the South. She was also a civil rights activist. Some 70 years before Rosa Parks, she refused to give up her seat in a segregated train car, only to be forcibly removed. The year before, the U.S. Supreme Court had overturned the 1875 Civil Rights Act banning discrimination in public accommodations as unconstitutional. That decision that would take nearly 80 years to fully overturn, with passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1864. The Ida B. Wells-Barnett Museum is open by appointment only in her hometown of Holly Springs, Mississippi. Rust College is also located in Holly Springs, and is the historically black college where Ms. Wells earned her bachelor’s degree.
Finally, the new additions this month also include the Union County Heritage Museum in the town of New Albany. The Historic DeSoto County Courthouse in Hernando includes a number of murals depicting the explorations of Hernando DeSoto. The famed explorer Hernando De Soto arrived near present-day Bradenton, Florida in 1539 where there is a National Memorial as a full-fledged Unit of the National Park System dedicated to him. DeSoto explored all the way to the Mississippi River before he died in either present-day Louisiana or Arkansas in 1542. This stamp joins a previous stamp for the Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area simply reading “DeSoto County,” as well as a stamp in the same location for the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area – a relatively rare example of two National Heritage Areas overlapping with each other.
The Calkins Nature Area is a county nature preserve located about an hour west of the city of Waterloo. Close by the Calkins Nature Area is the Hardin County Farm Museum, whose website delightfully describes its location as “1 mile north of the stoplight in Eldora.” The stamp for the Hartman Reserve is a replacement for an existing stamp at a Nature Center just outside Waterloo in Cedar Falls. The Ice House Museum is also located in Cedar Falls, and tells the story of ice harvesting from the Cedar River. Downtown Waterloo has a stamp for the Grout Museum District, which includes two historic homes, a science center, a natural history museum, and a museum dedicated to the Sullivan Brothers. The Sullivan Brothers died while serving together in World War II, sparking a policy change that led to the events portrayed in the movie Saving Private Ryan. The new stamp reading Waterloo, IA is expected to be kept at the Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area Headquarters in downtown Waterloo.
East of Waterloo can be found the Wapsipinicon Mill in the town of Independence, Iowa. The mill is run by the Buchanan County Historical Society and is an impressive six story structure.
Center Grove Orchard is a family fun farm in Cambridge, Iowa, about a half hour’s drive north of the State Capital in Des Moines. This stamp joins an existing one for Living History Farms in Urbandale, Iowa just outside of Des Moines to the west. Living History Farms includes the re-created frontier town of Walnut Hill, and three re-created frontier farms from 1700 (American Indian), 1850 (Pioneer Era), and 1900 (Horse-Powered.) The Museum of the Jasper County Historical Society is located about a half hour’s drive east of Des Moines in Newton, Iowa. In Des Moines itself is the existing stamp for the Iowa State History Museum.
The Hurstville Interpretive Center is the Nature Center for Jackson County, about mid-way between Dubuque and Davenport in the eastern end of the state. The House of Mathias Ham is a historic 19th century mansion on the north side of Dubuque. In downtown Dubuque is an existing stamp for the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium. On the south side of Dubuque is an existing stamp for the Mines of Spain State Recreation Area. This natural area is notable for its monument to Julien Dubuque, who settled this area in the late 1700’s under the authority of the Spanish Governor in New Orleans, back when the Mississippi River Basin was a Spanish colony.
The Maier Rural Heritage Center is a museum to rural farm life in the town of Elkader in northern Iowa. Also in Elkader is the Motor Mill, a 19th century flour mill that is now a historic site. There are four other existing cancellations across norther Iowa, including the Gilbertson Park Nature Center in Elgin, Iowa. The Fossil and Prairie Center in remote Rockford, Iowa allows amateur fossil hunting among their collection of 365 million year old marine fossils from the Devonian Period. The Iowa Dairy Center is an educational dairy farm operated by Northeast Iowa Community College in the town of Calmar, Iowa. Finally, the Vesterhein Norwegian-American Museum can be found in the town of Decorah, Iowa.
West of Dubuque is the town of Dyersville, where you can find the National Farm Toy Museum. Dyersville is also, of course, famously the home of the Field of Dreams movie site, from the famous Kevin Costner movie. Alas, the Field of Dreams movie site is not yet an official Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area partner, so there’s no passport cancellation there – but Parkasaurus certainly thinks that we almost need to find a way to make that happen!
The Sawmill Museum is located a bit more than hour’s drive south of Dubuque, along the Mississippi River in Clinton, Iowa. This museum tells the story of Iowa’s timber industry – an industry we don’t often associate with Iowa in the present day. South of Clinton is an existing stamp for The Putnam Museum of science and history in Davenport, Iowa. Just west of Davenport in Iowa City is the University of Iowa Natural History Museum. Between Iowa City and Cedar Rapids is the existing stamp for the Amana Heritage Museum, in the town of Amana, Iowa. The Amana were a Protestant Religious Sect founded in Europe, but which came to America in the 19th Century seeking religious freedom.
Finally, there was one stamp removed from the list this month.
Andrew Johnson National Historic Site | Tailor Shop
The Andrew Johnson National Historic Site in eastern Tennessee preserves Andrew Johnson’s tailor shop inside the visitor center itself. There was really no need for it to have a separate cancellation, when it was located inside the visitor center itself, and so the National Park Service has apparently decided to discontinue it.