Grand Canyon National Park | Desert View Watchtower
Lake Mead National Recreation Area |
Erie Canal National Heritage Corridor | New York State
The Desert View Watchtower is a landmark on the south rim of Grand Canyon National Park. It was originally built in the 1930’s, and was designed by female architect Mary Colter. In recent years, the Watchtower had been used as a gift shop by a Park concessionaire, up until the National Park Service taking back management of the building in 2015. In 2016, the Watchtower was reopened after being restored to visitor uses closer to Mary Colter’s original vision of the space. Additionally, the National Park Service has partnered with area American Indian Tribes to include artwork by tribal artists on the site. The stamp this month is a replacement for an existing stamp that had either worn out, or its date had expired.
Lake Mead National Recreation Area is something of a sister park for Grand Canyon, encompassing the lands surrounding the Colorado River in Nevada and Arizona. The park stretches from the point on the Colorado River where Grand Canyon National Park ends the downstream through Lake Mead above the Hoover Dam and Lake Mohave above the the Davis Dam, north of Bullhead City in Arizona.
Prior to this month, there were 9 stamps available for Lake Mead NRA. One is for the main visitor center, located just outside of Boulder City, Nevada. The other eight were for various ranger stations and entrance stations located around the park’s 1.5 million acres. The Boulder Beach and Colville Bay Ranger Stations are both located on the north shore of Lake Mead, relatively near the most-visited section of the park near Boulder City and Las Vegas. With these additions, Lake Mead NRA now has 11 available cancellations. The only remaining Ranger Stations in Lake Mead NRA without their own cancellations are the entrance station at the junction of Lakeshore Road, Northshore Road, and the Lake Mead Parkway and also the remote Meadview Ranger Station in the far eastern portion of the park on the Arizona side of Lake Mead. Perhaps these will be sites for future cancellations?
Finally, the new stamp for the Erie Canalway National Heritage Area, with the generic text “New York State” on the bottom, will be located at the Canalway Headquarters at Peebles Island State Park in Waterford, New York where it will presumably be a replacement for an existing stamp. In an e-mail, the National Park Service staff advises stampers to call ahead before attempting to collect this stamp, as occasionally the staff at the office may be called away to various projects or events on the Canalway.
With this month’s new additions there are now 2,184 active Passport Cancellations, or 2,072 if you exclude the various anniversary and special event cancellations available.
The Pry House served as General McClellan’s headquarters at Antietam National Battlefield. Although it is within the Park boundaries, it is operated in partnership with the National Park Service as an outpost of the National Museum of Civil War Medicine, and has several exhibits on how medical needs were handled during the battle. This site previously had an official stamp from 2006 to 2011 – the new stamp replaces an unofficial stamp that the site had been using for the last five years.
There are two new additions in the Pacific Northwest this month. The remote village of Bettles in northern Alaska is most-famously a gateway community for Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve. A second stamp is added this month at the joint National Park Service – US Fish and Wildlife Service Ranger Station in the village for adventurers taking a longer flight to the remote rivers located in Noatak National Preserve. In testament to the size of Alaska, Bettles is itself some 600 miles (a 14.5 hour drive according to Google Maps) from Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city. Even so, it is approximately another 150 miles as the bush plane flies to get to Noatak National Preserve from Bettles, a remote national park with no on-site visitor facilities whatsoever.
In Seattle, Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park has added a stamp for the inter-agency information station at the REI Flagship Store in Seattle, which provides information about parks and other public lands throughout western Washington.
Gulf Islands National Seashore has added two stamps for the Florida section of the park. The Okaloosa Area is the easternmost section of the National Seashore, located just east of the town of Fort Walton Beach, and preserves the beaches on the barrier island. The Advanced Redoubt is located in the Fort Barrancas Unit of the Park, on the grounds of the Pensacola Naval Air Station. The Advanced Redoubt and Fort Barrancas were both built in the mid-19th Century to protect the Pensacola Navy Yard.
San Juan National Historic Site in Puerto Rico is comprised of two old Spanish fortifications, the Castillo San Marcos and the Castillo San Felipe del Morro. The latter received a new stamp this month, replacing an older stamp that referred to the location by its nickname, “El Morro.” There is also a brand new stamp this month for the San Antonio Guardhouse, which is located just outside the fortifications of El Morro. This gives the site three total Passport locations.
The other additions this month appear to primarily have local connections or secondary interest to the life of Abraham Lincoln. The two most notable are the additions for Mahomet, Illinois and Vandalia, Illinois. The Museum of the Grand Prairie is operated by Champaign County in Mahomet. Lincoln visited the area in and around Mahomet during his time as a lawyer on the 8th Judicial Circuit and the museum includes exhibits on this stage of Lincoln’s life. The Vandalia Statehouse State Historic Site preserves the old state capitol in Vandalia, Illinois where Lincoln worked as a state legislator from his election in 1834 up until the capitol being moved in 1839. The stamps for Carthage, Illinois; Clinton, Illinois; and Quincy, Illinois are each at local historical society museums. The stamp for Homer, Illinois is at the local nature center.
Together with the existing stamps for this heritage area, there are now 29 stamps for the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area located across central Illinois. Prior to 2015 there were just 17 on-location* stamps in the entire state of Illinois, including a single stamp for the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail, one for the Chicago Portage National Historic Site Affiliated Area, two for the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail, 10 for the Illinois & Michigan Canal National Heritage Corridor, and 3 for the Lincoln Home National Historic Site (including one for the Heritage Area and one for the Underground Railroad Freedom Network, both located at the main visitor center on the site). 2015 brought the addition for three more stamps for the brand-new Pullman National Monument in Chicago. Now the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area has single-handedly more the doubled the statewide cancellation total for the state of Illinois, with now at least 50 stamps being available in that state. That will be enough to keep Passport enthusiasts from the Midwest busy for quite a while, and is continued testament to how National Heritage Areas have really fueled the growth of the Passport Program in recent years.
* – This count of 17 stamps does not include stamps for the Amtrak Trails and Rails Partnership program, a couple of which pass through the state of Illinois.
There were only two new stamps in February 2017, so as I get caught up, I’m going to combine them with the much more extensive list for March 2017.
Antietam National Battlefield:
Antietam National Cemetery | 150th Anniversary 1867-2007
Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail | VA, TN, NC, SC
Katmai National Park & Preserve | Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes
Big Cypress National Preserve | Swamp Welcome Center
Sequoia National Park |
Foothills Visitor Center
Lodgepole Visitor Center
Giant Forest Museum
Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park | Church Creek, MD
Civil War Defense of Washington | Fort Stevens
Rock Creek Park:
Rock Creek Nature Center & Planetarium | Washington, DC
MotorCities National Heritage Area | Greenfield Village
Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail |
Great Falls, MT
The one-day battle of Antietam is famously the single-deadliest day in US history. Total dead, wounded, and missing among both the Union and Confederate forces was nearly 23,000. Of those, some 3,600 died on the day of the battle, and another 4,000 died of their wounds shortly thereafter or else were confirmed as dead after initially being listed as missing. These casualties were out of a total US population of 31.4 million in the 1860 Census just before the Civil War. By comparison, the current US population of 318 million is some ten times larger, and average daily deaths in the United States are approximately 6,700.
In the immediate aftermath of the battle, many of the casualties were buried in mass graves, or in inadequately shallow graves. President Andrew Johnson visited Antietam for the dedication of the cemetery on the 5th anniversary of the battle on September 17, 1867. The cemetery commemorates its 150th Anniversary this year.
The Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail marks the journey of some several hundred “overmountain men” to confront a force of British-commanded loyalist militia in South Carolina in 1780. The men gathered at Abingdon, Virginia on September 23, 1780, and a day later at Sycamore Shoals, Tennessee before marching to confront the British-loyalists at the Battle of Kings Mountain on October 7th, 1780. This new stamp replaces an existing Overmountain Victory Trail at Cowpens National Battlefield. The Battle of Cowpens was a coda to the Overmountain Campaign, being fought three months later on January 17, 1781. In this battle, a force of American regular soldiers and militia defeated a force of largely British regulars. Although a few of the overmountain men also participated in this battle, many had returned home after the Battle of Kings Mountain, and one contingent of them arrived a day after the decisive victory for the Americans.
Although Katmai National Park & Preserve in Alaska is world-famous for viewing grizzly bears catching salmon near the waterfalls at Brooks Camp, the park was actually originally established in 1918 to protect the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. The Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes was actually created only 6 years earlier during the simultaneous volcanic eruptions of the Mt. Katmai and Novarupta volcanoes. When explorer Robert Griggs from the National Geographic Society reached the valley in 1916, it was still filled with fumaroles, or openings, in the volcanic ash releasing steam. Although most of the fumaroles have stopped steaming, the volcanic landscape remains a popular attraction within the park; bus tours are offered regularly from Brooks Camp.
The new stamp for Big Cypress National Preserve reflects the rebranding of the Ochopee Welcome Center, near the town of the same name on the west side of the park, to the Swamp Welcome Center. Likewise, Sequoia National Park is simply replacing three of its existing stamps from being location-based to structure based. Thus, the existing stamp for “Three Rivers, CA” is being replaced by one for the “Foothills Visitor Center.” At Parkasaurus, we always prefer the location-based stamps to the structure-based stamps, so this is a disappointing move.
Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park is a relatively new addition to the National Park System, and is celebrating the grand opening of its new visitor center in partnership with the Maryland State Park Service. The new facility is in the hamlet of Church Creek.
The Civil War Defenses of Washington is a partnership program that connects related sites around the greater Washington, DC area that are variously under the jurisdiction of the superintendents of National Capital Parks, Rock Creek Park, or the George Washington Memorial Parkway. Fort Stevens Park is located just a half mile from Rock Creek Park in the northern portions of the District of Columbia, and so is managed by the Superintendent of Rock Creek Park. Fort Stevens is notable because during Confederate General Jubal Early’s 1864 raid on Washington, it became the only time in history than an American President came under enemy fire while in his role as Commander-in-Chief. This stamp will be kept at the Rock Creek Park Nature Center, along with the replacement stamp for the Nature Center, which includes the words “and Planetarium” for the first time.
The Motorcities National Heritage Area is centered around the history of the automobile industry in southeast Michigan. Greenfield Village is a living history attraction that is part of The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.
Finally, there are two replacement stamps for locations along the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail in Montana. The Great Falls of the Missouri River were a major obstacle for Lewis & Clark and their Corps of Discovery. Today, dams and development projects along the Missouri River have deprived the namesake of the town of Great Falls, Montana much of its grandeur, but there is still a good Lewis & Clark interpretive center in town. Meanwhile, Traveler’s Rest State Park near Lolo, Montana preserves the only known archeological remains of an actual encampment by the Corps of Discovery. Lewis and Clark encamped here in September 1805 before embarking on the difficult crossing of the Lolo Pass. They then camped here a second time in June 1806, before splitting into two separate exploration parties for the return route home. The two parties would reunite some two and a half months later in North Dakota to take advantage of the swift currents of the Missouri River for the return trip back to civilization.
With these new additions, Parkasaurus calculates that there are now 2,148 active stamp cancellations to collect. There are 2,039 of these if you exclude special stamps for anniversaries and special events.
Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site | 10th Anniversary 2007-2017
First State National Historical Park |
New Castle Court House
The Green – New Castle
Minuteman Missile National Historic Site | South Dakota
Hopewell Culture National Historical Park | Camp Sherman
Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area |
Mt. Pulaski, IL
Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area |
Museum of the Mississippi Delta
Robert Johnson Gravesite
California National Historic Trail | Hollenberg Pony Express Station SHS
Oregon National Historic Trail | Hollenberg Pony Express Station SHS
Pony Express National Historic Trail | Hollenberg Pony Express Station SHS
Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site may only be ten years old in 2017, but this is already their second anniversary stamp. In 2014, they had a stamp commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the massacre of a camp of Cheyenne Indians by Colorado soldiers in 1864. This park immediately retired that 150th Anniversary stamp as soon as the calendar turned to 2015, so if you want to collect this anniversary cancellation, you’ll probably need to trek out to eastern Colorado before the year is out.
For First State National Historical Park, the New Castle Courthouse stamp is simply a replacement for the existing stamp reading “New Castle, DE” on the bottom. The New Castle Courthouse is where Delaware seceded from Great Britain in 1775, and is also the baseline for Delaware’s curved border with Pennsylvania, which is 12 miles from the courthouse. The other stamp is for the New Castle Green and will be located at the New Castle Historical Society’s Visitor Center in The Arsenal. A great summary of the history of New Castle Green can be found in this blog post from the official Delaware State Government blog. This new addition for New Castle Green gives First State NHP a total of 8 active cancellations.
Hopewell Culture National Historical Park in south-central Ohio was officially established to interpret the archeological remains of a 2,000-year-old Indian civilization that archeologists refer to as “the Hopewell Culture,” since they did not leave behind a written language recording their own name for themselves. However, 100 years ago, part of the land that is now the national park was included in the then newly-designated Camp Sherman to gather and train US troops for the war effort. This new cancellation is timely, as it coincides with the 100th Anniversary of the U.S. entering the first World War in 1917, and with Hopewell Culture National Historical Park stepping up its interpretation of the small role it played in the First World War.
The Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area, which is run by the Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition, covers some 40 counties in central Illinois. Previously, this Heritage Area had only a single cancellation, for the Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield, IL. These 15 additional cancellations cover the heritage area’s official gateway cities of Alton, Bloomington, Danville, and Quincy. These cancellations also cover several other partner sites, including the Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic Site in Lerna, where Lincoln’s father and stepmother lived once he was a grown man in Springfield. Also included are several sites associated with Lincoln practicing law, including those in Mt. Pualski, Pittsfield, and Taylorville. The remainder of the sites appear to be primarily associated with more-general history and visitation of the area, the most notable of which is the Joseph Smith Historic Site in Nauvoo, which is also the starting point for the Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail.
The Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area has been steadily adding stamps since joining the Passport Program in November 2014. You can find the Parkasaurus write-up for all the previous additions here. Particularly notable this month is the addition of a stamp for Bryant’s Grocery. In August 1955, a 14-year-old teenager from Chicago named Emmett Till was visiting his family in the small town of Money, Mississippi. On that trip, an incident with a white woman, Carolyn Bryant, at Bryant’s Grocery, led to Till being murdered by Ms. Bryant’s husband, Roy Bryant and his half-brother, John W. Milam. Despite ample evidence, Bryant and Milam were acquitted by the all-white jury after a little more than an hour of deliberations. You can read more details on the events of the case in this account from famous-trials.com.
The other three stamps for the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area this month can all be found in the town of Greenwood, Mississippi, which is just 17 miles to the south of Money. Fort Pemberton was the site of a minor Confederate victory as part of the Vicksburg campaign. The Museum of the Mississippi Delta comprehensively covers the human and natural history of the region. Robert Johnson was a renowned blues artist, and the most-likely site of his burial is Little Zion Missionary Baptist Church on Money Road in Greenwood.
Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor | Stephen & Harriet Myers Residence
Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area | Stephen & Harriet Myers Residence
Oregon National Historic Trail |
Craters of the Moon NM & PRES
Fossil Butte NM
Pony Express National Historic Trail | Camp Floyd State Park
The Lolo Pass in Idaho is where the Lewis & Clark expedition made a treacherous mountain crossing in September 1805, despite the early onset of winter weather. This stamp will be available at the US Forest Service’s Lolo Pass Visitor Center on US Route 12. The new stamp for the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail finally replaces a previous stamp that had been available here from 2004 to 2007. In addition, this site has had a stamp for the Nez Perce National Historic Trail since 2011.
The new North Country National Scenic Trail replaces a previous stamp reading simply “New York” on the bottom that had been available at both the US Forest Service Finger Lakes Ranger Station in the town of Hector, NY as well as at Fort Stanwix National Monument in Rome, NY. The “New York” stamp is still available at Fort Stanwix.
The Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site preserves a small section of what was originally a 36 mile railroad using a series of cables to carry canal boats over the Allegheny Mountains between separate sections of the Pennsylvania Canal. Operating from 1834 to 1854, until steam engines rendered the system of canal boats and cables obsolete, the railroad is known to also have been used by slaves attempting to escape to freedom; hence its inclusion in the Underground Railroad Freedom Network.
Meanwhile, the main route of the Oregon National Historic Trail passes some 60 miles to the south of the 50 million year-old fossils of Fossil Butte National Monument at Fort Bridger and Fort Bridger State Historic Site. However, an alternate route, known as the Sublette Cutoff, passes within just 5 miles of the park, and the park has recently added the Oregon Trail to its interpretive activities. Interestingly, the nearest town to Fossil Butte is Kemmerer, Wyoming, which is the home of the original J.C. Penney store.
Finally, Camp Floyd State Park preserves a historic stagecoach inn, just south of the Salt Lake City metro area in the town of Fairfield. Camp Floyd is one of the first stops where the Pony Express National Historic Trail diverges from the California National Historic Trail. The California Trail, which took 49ers to the gold fields of California, roughly follows the route of what is now Interstate 80 across northern Utah and Nevada. The Pony Express Trail, however, took a route that was roughly 50 miles to the south, a route that doesn’t appear to have translated into our modern road system.
After some time away, I’m at least returning to blogging. To catch up, I’ve decided to go ahead and write the monthly new stamps post for the months I missed. Here are the new stamps for the month of September 2016:
Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument | Penobscot County, ME
Natchez National Historical Park | Fort Rosalie
Nez Perce National Historical Park | Bear Paw Battlefield
Redwood National Park | Prairie Creek Redwoods SP
Redwood National Park | Jedediah Smith Redwoods SP
Rainbow Bridge National Monument |
Lees Ferry, AZ
Big Water, UT
California National Historic Trail | Fairway, KS
Oregon National Historic Trail | Fairway, KS
El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail | Mission Dolores State Historic Site
Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail | Pismo Beach, CA
Old Spanish National Historic Trail | Arizona/Utah
Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail | St. Clements Island SP, MD
Congress established Natchez National Historical Park in 1988 to encompass the historic district of Natchez, Mississippi, and to include three National Park Service-managed properties, the Melrose Plantation, the William Johnson House, and the archaeological site of Fort Rosalie. Fort Rosalie was a French trading post, established in 1716, and was the seed that eventually grew into the present-day town of Natchez. The original authorizing legislation required the National Park Service to first study the archaeological significance of Fort Rosalie before adding it to the park.
The Nez Perce National Historic Park includes 38 sites across the Pacific Northwest. The Bear Paw Battlefield site in Montana is where in 1877 Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce ended his attempts to flee US troops, just 40 miles short of safety across the Canadian Border. The new stamp replaces an earlier version and will be kept at the Blaine County Museum in nearby Chinook, Montana.
Redwood National Park operates as a mix of federal and state lands along the Pacific Coast of northernmost California. Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park and Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park are two of the partners with this effort, and are managed cooperatively by the National Park Service and the California Department of Parks and Recreation. There are now 5 cancellation locations for Redwood National Park, three for the National Park Service visitor centers in Orick, Hiouichi, and Crescent City, and two for these two California State Parks. As an interesting historical footnote, one of these stamps was originally mis-printed as Jedediah Redwoods SP and was used for a short time before being replaced by a correctly-worded stamp. Additionally, no stamp at all has been issued for the third California State Park in this partnerships, Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park. This is presumably because as near as I can tell, Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park lacks a proper visitor center as a location to place the stamp.
The Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail stamp will presumably be found at the historic Price Historical Park in the town of Prismo Beach. Although the ranch was founded decades after the 18th-Century Anza Expedition, Anza and his companions passed through what is now called Price Canyon on the journey north to San Francisco Bay in 1775.
Two of the new stamps for the North Country National Scenic Trail will be at the Friends of the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center in Fergus Falls, Minnesota and at Itasca State Park in Park Rapids, Minnesota. Itasca State Park is, of course, famously home to the headwaters of the mighty Mississippi River, making it one of the most-notable additions to the Passport Program this month. The significance of Itasca State Park has long made it one of the most-famous State Parks in the country, and now it is also part of the national Passport to Your National Parks program. The third stamp will be at the Douglas County Forestry Department in Solon Springs, Wisconsin.
Just one week before leaving office, on January 12, 2017, President Barack Obama proclaimed three new National Monuments under the Antiquities Act, and added those monuments to the National Park System. Two of those National Monuments, Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument and Freedom Riders National Monument, both in central Alabama, will preserve locations associated with the Civil Rights Movement of the mid-1960’s.
Prior to these designations, there were already a handful of National Park Service Units dedicated to the story of the modern Civil Rights Movement in the post-World War II era. Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site in Topeka, Kansas preserves the story of the pivotal 1954 Supreme Court case that led to nationwide desegregation of the schools. Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site in Arkansas preserves the story of the contentious desegregation effort at that school three years later in 1957.
Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta, Georgia preserves the home where the civil rights leader lived from his birth in 1929 until 1941, as well as the Ebenezer Baptist Church where he would jointly serve as pastor with his father into the 1950’s and 60’s. There is also the relatively new Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial in Washington, DC. In addition, the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC interprets the story of several civil rights moments from history, including the 1963 March for Jobs and Freedom and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legendary “I Have a Dream” speech.
Most notable of the National Park Service sites from this time period, however, is one place that that doesn’t actually count among the 417 units of the National Park System, the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail in Alabama. Despite having two Visitor Centers and being staffed by uniformed National Park Service Rangers, National Historic Trails are not given full national park status. Nonetheless, visitors to the Trail can follow the route of the famous Voting Rights March of March 1965, which were led in part by Martin Luther King, Jr.
National Park Service map of the new Freedom Riders National Monument in and around Anniston, Alabama.The two new sites fill in more of the civil rights timeline between the two school desegregation sites from the 1950’s, and the Voting Rights March in 1965. Freedom Riders National Monument preserves two sites associated with a particular 1961 effort by activists to exercise their right to desegregated facilities in intercity bus service, and the violent effort by desegregation opponents to oppose them. The plan for this “Freedom Ride” was to send a mixed-race group of civil rights activists to ride together on two intercity buses from Washington, DC to New Orleans, Louisiana. The route for that trip would take the riders through much of the Deep South where they knew that tactics of intimidation, sometimes violent intimidation, were used to prevent racial minorities from making use of desegregated facilities.
The first bus was a Greyhound Bus, and when that bus pulled into the town of Anniston in eastern Alabama it was attached by a violent mob that slashed the bus’ tires and broke its windows with rocks. The old Greyhound bus station in Anniston is now one of the two sites that comprise this new national monument.
Eventually, police officers arrived, and they provided an escort for the bus to leave the station – along with an “escort” of protesters from the mob. Two cars from the rioters pulled in front of the bus and slowed down in order to slow the bus’s progress. The bus made it six miles west down Highway 202 towards Birmingham before the slashed tires finally gave out. The bus driver pulled to the side of the road, and the mob descended again, throwing fire bombs into the broken windows of the bus. The Freedom Riders struggled to escape from the burning bus, even as the mob acted to try and prevent them from escaping. Eventually they did break free, and were given some treatment at the Anniston hospital before civil rights leaders from Birmingham were able to arrange their transfer to the Birmingham hospital. A site of nearly 6 acres where the bus burning took place is now the other site comprising this National Monument.
Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument includes a four-and-a-half block area in downtown Birmingham. The only site within the Monument boundaries that will be Federally-owned is the former A. G. Gaston Motel. The Gaston Motel was itself owned by an African-American businessman, and was the best hotel in Birmingham at which the African-American civil rights activists could find accommodations. In the spring of 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr., and other leaders from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference arrived in Birmingham to plan a series of marches and sit-ins to protest segregation in the city.
On April 6, 1963, the first attempt to march on Birmingham City Hall began at the Galston Motel, but ended with the protestors being arrested within three blocks. The next day, a march began at the nearby St. Paul United Methodist Church, but was stopped after just one block in Kelly Ingram Park. Both of those sites are located within the authorized boundaries for the new National Monument.
A few days later, the City of Birmingham obtained an injunction against King and other civil rights leaders prohibiting future marches. Nonetheless, April 12th dawned as Good Friday that year, and the leaders went ahead with a planned march anyways – an act for which they were promptly arrested. It was after this arrest that King wrote his seminal essay, Letter from Birmingham Jail, laying out the philosophical and moral justification for his campaign of nonviolent protest against segregation.
It was in this letter that King wrote the memorable words “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny, whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” These words are now inscribed on the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Particularly striking to me, however, is another passage of the Letter in which King addresses his justification for defiantly breaking laws, and thus have led him to the circumstances of writing from within a Birmingham Jail. He starts by reflecting on the Brown v. Board of Education decision, and then invoking principles of moral philosophy and theology.
Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court’s decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, at first glance it may seem rather paradoxical for us consciously to break laws. One may want to ask: “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?” The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that “an unjust law is no law at all”
For Dr. King, the laws of segregation are unjust because they, quote, “degrade human personality.” The laws of Alabama, and King presumably has in mind here particularly the laws governing protest and assembly, are also unjust because they are not equally applied to the majority and the minority alike, but instead are only applied to the minority. Moreover, King argues that all of these laws were also unjust because they were only enacted as a result of so many blacks having been denied the right to vote. As King writes in his letter, “who can say that the legislature of Alabama, which set up the state’s segregation laws, was democratically elected?”
Having laid out his case for the fundamental injustice of the laws of Alabama, King then turns his attention to one of the great philosophical questions: “what is the role of a just man in an unjust world?” Here King lays out his radical justification for his program of non-violent protest, and for working within the American system rather than to overthrow it. He writes:
In no sense do I advocate evading or defying the law, as would the rabid segregationist. That would lead to anarchy. One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty. I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.
King loved the law, and so he willingly accepted the penalty. This was despite the fact that his fourth child, daughter Bernice, had been born just two weeks earlier. King would ultimately spend nine days in jail, finally being released on April 20th.
After King’s release from prison, the civil rights campaign in Birmingham would continue to escalate. A key turning point was the decision of organizers to use children in the protests to reinvigorate the campaign and advance the goal of drawing national attention to the injustice in Birmingham. Beginning May 2nd, thousands of high school and even elementary students began leaving school to participate in marches. A great many of them would be peacefully arrested. In other cases, the city of Birmingham authorities would escalate the situation by using police dogs and extremely powerful fire hoses to disrupt the marches. By May 5th, some of the African-American crowds that had gathered in Kelly Ingram Park themselves began to turn violent, responding to police violence by throwing rocks and other debris – despite the efforts of civil rights leaders to maintain non-violence. As the crisis continued to escalate, normal business in downtown Birmingham ground to a halt. By May 8, business leaders began calling for desegregation, and by May 10 a political deal was reached to end the crisis, release most of the protesters from jail, and to repeal Birmingham’s segregation ordinances.
As the crisis came to an end, a bomb blast would heavily damage the Galston Motel on the night of May 11, only a few hours after King himself had left. King would then go on to lead the March for Jobs and Freedom in Washington in August of that year. His efforts would lead to passage of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 in July of that year, and he would receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his advocacy of non-violent protest in October of 1964.
Ebey’s Landing National Historic Reserve | Fort Casey State Park
Joshua Tree National Park | Oasis of Mara
Yellowstone National Park | Snake River Ranger Station
Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve | Slaven’s Roadhouse
Ohio & Erie National Heritage Canalway |
Cleveland History Center / University Circle
Hale Farm & Village
High Point of the Canal
Historic Zoar Village
Richard Howe House
California National Historic Trail | Salt Lake City, UT
The signature landmark in Dry Tortugas National Park is Fort Jefferson, which is located on Garden Key – about 70 miles west of Key West, Florida. About two years ago, Dry Tortugas National Park added a second cancellation for the Florida Keys Eco Discovery Center on Key West. This new cancellation may simply be a replacement for the long-standing stamp reading “Dry Tortugas, FL” on the bottom; Garden Key being one of the largest of the Dry Tortugas and the primary visitor destination in the park.
Fort Jefferson was constructed in the years leading up to the Civil War. All of the islands in the Dry Tortugas, including Garden Key, are “dry,” meaning they lack fresh water, However, they occupy a strategic location for any ships travelling through the Florida Strait between the United States and Cuba, effectively controlling the approach to the U.S. Gulf Coast and the all-important Port of New Orleans. Nevertheless, the fort was never fully completed. It never saw action in the Civil War, and then was quickly rendered obsolete by the rapid evolution of naval technology in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries.
Joshua Tree National Park in southern California includes beautiful desert landscapes as well as many stands of the iconic joshua trees. One of the first settlers in the region, used a natural oasis to plant twenty-nine palm trees. That eventually led to the growth of the town of Twenty-Nine Palms, California. In turn, the town of Twenty-Nine Palms donated the original oasis to the National Park Service for use as the Park Headquarters and main Visitor Center. This stamp likely replaces the existing “Twenty-Nine Palms, CA” stamp found at the Park’s Oasis Visitor Center.
Ebey’s Landing National Historic Reserve is a partnership that preserves the agricultural landscapes of Whidbey Island, located north of Seattle in Puget Sound, and the history of European settlement in the Pacific Northwest. Fort Casey State Park on Whidbey Island is one of the Reserve’s partners. Fort Casey was built right around the turn of the 20th Century, and was designed to control the strategic entrance to Puget Sound and the Ports of Seattle, Tacoma, and Olympia.
The Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve in Alaska is one of nine national parks (including five that “count twice,” for a total of fourteen) in that state that are not accessible by road. Slaven’s Roadhouse is located some 45 miles down the Yukon River from the nearest road, at the junction of Coal Creek with the Yukon River. Roadhouses are an institution in Alaska, providing service to passing travelers across Alaska’s massive distances and remote wilderness. Slaven’s Roadhouse was established in the early 20th Century by Frank Slaven during the Klondike Gold Rush. The National Park Service restored the roadhouse in the early 1990’s, and ever since it has continued to serve its original purpose of providing shelter to travelers on the Yukon River. The National Park Service has a nice one-minute video about Slaven’s Roadhouse on its website. The new stamp for Slaven’s Roadhouse supplements the existing stamp for Coal Creek.
The California National Historic Trail marks the route of an earlier gold rush, the one to California in 1849. The new stamp for Salt Lake City, UT will be at the National Park Service’s Intermountain Region Trails Office in Salt Lake City, which administers many of the western trails.
Finally, for the Ohio & Erie Canalway, since I’ve been behind on these posts for a couple months, I’ve combined the new stamps for this Heritage Area from both July and September into this post. The original Ohio & Erie Canal was naturally inspired by the success of the Erie Canal, and stretched some 308 miles across central Ohio to the town of Portsmouth, where the Scioto River meets the Ohio River. Today, the Congressionally-designated National Heritage Area only includes the first 110 miles or-so of the Canal and surrounding areas in northeast Ohio, stretching from Cleveland, through Akron and Canton, to the town of New Philadelphia. The National Park Service has a comprehensive listing of Ohio & Erie Canalway sites on its website.
The stamp for the Cleveland History Center in Cleveland’s University Circle neighborhood was added to the list in July. Cleveland’s University Circle is named for the presence of Case Western Reserve University, which happens to be the Parkasaurus Blog’s alma maters. University Circle includes almost all of Cleveland’s premier cultural institutions, including the Cleveland Museum of Art and Severance Hall, the home of the Cleveland Orchestra. The Cleveland History Center is the museum of the Western Reserve Historical Society, which tells the story of the settlement and development of Cleveland and northeast Ohio. The name Western Reserve dates back to the days when the State of Connecticut actually laid claim to the lands that are now northeast Ohio, calling them its “Western Reserve.”
The Richard Howe House was formerly the home of the Ohio & Erie Canalway’s resident engineer. Today, it has been restored for use as a Canalway Visitor Center and moved from its original location to a location adjacent to the towpath.
Canal Fulton is one of the many historic towns located along the towpath. The Canalway Center located in town also includes canalboat rides on the replica vessel St. Helena III. Another unique historic town along the Canalway is Historic Zoar Village, which was founded by German separatists seeking religious freedom.
Finally, the Hale Farm & Village is also operated by the Western Reserve Historical Society, and had a new stamp listed in September. It is a living history farm, and is actually located within the larger boundaries of Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
Appalachian National Scenic Trail | Shenandoah National Park
Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership:
Lake George Historical Association Museum
Pember Museum of Natural History
Continental Divide National Scenic Trail:
South Fork, CO
Pagosa Springs, CO
Pie Town, NM
Silver City, NM
North Country National Scenic Trail:
Crown Point State Historic Site, NY
The headliners from this group are the stamps for the newly designated Stonewall National Monument in New York City and the relatively newly designated Honouliuli National Monument outside of Honolulu, Hawaii. Despite the name, Stonewall National Monument consists of Christopher Park, located adjacent to a bar known as the Stonewall Inn – which was famously the site of riots on June 28, 1969 protesting police harrassment of gays. The stamp is being made avaialable at an information table in the Park, as well as each of the seven other national park sites located in Manhattan and nearby Mount Vernon, NY.
Salem Maritime National Historic Site is located in the town just north of Boston that is perhaps most famous today for its 17th Century “witch trials.” However, in the 17th and 18th centuries, the town of Salem was famous for its maritime trading network that stretched literally around the world. Today, the National Park Service site encompasses the historic wharves and approximately 10 historic buildings.
On July 14, 2006, Eastern National celebrated the grand opening a new bookstore and gift shop for the Park, which they branded as “Waite & Peirce” after one of the most-prominent trading partnerships from the port’s heyday. Aaron Waite (1742-1830) appears to have formed his partnership with Jerathmiel Peirce (1747-1827) in 1778, at the height of the American Revolutionary War with Great Britain. Records indicate that they jointly owned the two-gun schooner, Greyhound, and they likely used it in privateering ventures – i.e. attempts to capture British merchant vessels. After the war, Waite & Peirce built a successful mercantile enterprise that lasted until Peirce’s death in 1827. Among their merchant vessels was the Friendship. A fully sea-worthy replica of that boat, the Friendship of Salem, is now part of the park.
The Custom House is one of the centerpieces of the park, and the largest of the park’s historical buildings. The Custom House is where government officials worked who were responsible for overseeing the trade in the port of Salem and imposing the appropriate custom duties on cargo shipments. One of those government officials was Nathaniel Hawthorne whose House with Seven Gables is not official part of the national park, but is also one of the most-significant historical sites in Salem.
The Derby House formerly belonged to the Derby family, one of Salem’s most-successful merchant families. The Friendship of Salem is docked on Derby Wharf, which is part of the park, and the Derby Light lighthouse, which dates back to 1871, is located at the end of the Derby Wharf. Finally, the Narbonne House is set back a little bit from Salem’s waterfront and is more typical of the residences for Salem’s working class and small business owner families.
In addition those stamps, I’ve also updated my master list of stamp locations to include five dated unofficial stamps featuring the trail logo offered by the Nez Perce National Historic Trail in Montana and Idaho. The Nez Perce Trail marks the route the Nez Perce Indians and their leader, Chief Joseph, took in 1877 as they fled the U.S. Army.
The list of new stamps for June is out, and all but one of them associated with partnership programs:
Crossroads of the American Revolution National Heritage Area |
Lawrence Twp (Maidenhead), NJ
1761 Brearley House, Lawrence Twp, NJ
David Brearley, NJ Signer of U.S. Constitution
Maidenhead Meadows, NJ
Maidenhead Road/King’s Highway, NJ
Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail | Lawrence Twp (Maidenhead), NJ
Coal National Heritage Area |
Country Roads Byway
Mine Wars Museum
Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area | Albany Pine Bush Preserve
Cuyahoga Valley National Park | Hunt House
The Crossroads of the American Revolution National Heritage Area encompasses much of central New Jersey. Up to this point, it has had a single Passport cancellation available at multiple sites, all identical and reading “New Jersey” on the bottom. These will be the Heritage Area’s first-place specific stamps. Lawrence Township is the newest official site in the Crossroads NHA Program, and all of the stamps, as well as the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail stamp, will be available at both the Lawrence Township Municipal Building during weekday hours and at the historic home of David Brearley, which has very limited hours.
When new sites are added to the Passport Program we have sometimes seen a high-level of enthusiasm expressed in the form of multiple stamps for what is essentially a single site. In particular, all of the stamps highlight Lawrence Township’s previous name as Maidenhead in the 18th Century, and its connection with David Brearley. Brearley served in the New Jersey militia, including at the Battle of Monmouth in 1778, and indeed represented New Jersey at the Constitutional Convention. Brearley is buried in St. Michael’s Episcopal Church just a short down the road in nearby Trenton, New Jersey. As of this writing, his historic home dating from 1761 is open twice a month, from 10am to Noon on the first Saturday of the month and from 2pm to 3pm on the third Sunday of the month.
The Coal National Heritage Area in southern West Virginia has added two stamps this month. The West Virginia Mine Wars Museum is located in Matewan, WV and tells the story of the historical conflicts between labor unions and coal mining companies. In particular, the “Battle of Matewan” also known as the “Matewan Massacre” occurred in 1920 between coal miners and detectives hired by the local coal mine to evict some coal mining families living nearby from their houses. The ensuing gun battle left a total of 10 people dead.
The other new stamp is for the Country Roads Byway Visitor Center, located outside of Logan, West Virginia, which just opened last September. The visitor center has tourism information for the three county area covered by the Country Roads Byway.