Yosemite National Park | – Happy Isles Art and Nature Center – Mariposa Grove
Gulf Islands National Seashore | – Rosamond Johnson Beach – Ship Island – William M. Colmer Visitor Center
Kate Mullany National History Site | Troy, NY
California National Historic Trail | National Frontier Trails Museum, MO Oregon National Historic Trail | National Frontier Trails Museum, MO
Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail | – Historic Locust Grove, KY – Nebraska City, NE – St. Charles, MO – Steubenville, OH – Trail of Tears State Park, MO
Trail of Tears National Historic Trail | – Natchez Trace PKWY – Meriwether Lewis Site, TN – Natchez Trace PKWY – Mount Locust, TN – Natchez Trace PKWY – Ridgeland, MS – Natchez Trace PKWY – Tupelo, MS – Tennessee Aquarium – Chattanooga, TN
Stories Behind the Stamps
Leading off this month’s list is a sixth stamp for Channel Islands National Park. Channel Islands National Park consists of five of the eight major islands located off the coast of Los Angeles in Southern California. The park includes all four of the northern islands, as well as small Santa Barbara Island to the south. Santa Rosa is the last of the five islands in the national park to get its own passport cancellation. The sixth cancellation for the Park is located at the mainland visitor center in Ventura, California.
Access to Santa Rosa Island is either by charter flight, or by a 2+hour each way concessionaire boat trip, which according to the Park website currently runs a couple times a week from April through early November. If you are planning your first trip to Channel Islands National Park, you may want to consider a trip to a trip to Anacapa Island or Santa Cruz Island, which are each only about a one hour’s boat ride.
For Yosemite National Park, the Happy Isles Nature Center in Yosemite Valley has been renamed the Happy Isles Art and Nature Center. The new name reflects that the Yosemite Conservancy, which operates the site, offers not just nature programs, but also art programs for kids and adults alike. The Mariposa Grove of giant sequoia trees is located in the southern end of the park. The Mariposa Grove reopened to the public in 2018 after a three year restoration .
Gulf Islands National Seashore has a total of ten cancellations, and all three on this month’s list are replacements for existing cancellations. On the Mississippi side of the park you can visit the William M. Colmer Visitor Center in the town of Ocean Springs, as well as the nearby Davis Bayou picnic area, which has its own cancellation. Ocean Springs is also the departure point for ferries to Ship Island where you can enjoy white sand beaches and explore historic Fort Massachusetts.
Gulf Islands National Seashore is unusual in that it has units in both Mississippi and Florida, but does not have any land in Alabama. Cancellations for Fort Barrancas and the Advanced Redoubt can be found at the Fort Barrancas Visitor Center on the grounds of the Pensacola Naval Air Station. Another cancellation for the Naval Live Oaks Visitor Center can be found in the nearby town of Gulf Breeze, Florida, located just across Pensacola Bay from the city of Pensacola itself. Then there are cancellations for the each of the remaining beaches on the Florida barrier islands, including the Santa Rosa Area on Opal Beach, the Fort Pickens Area on Pensacola Beach, and the Rosamond Johnson Beach on Perdido Key.
Kate Mullany National Historic Site in Troy, New York, a suburb of Albany, is one of 23 Affiliated Areas of the U.S. National Park System. Affiliated Areas are recognized by Congress for being nationally-significant, but are not directly managed by the National Park Service. As such, Affiliated Areas don’t count towards the total of 400+ Units of the National Park System (currently 419 as of this writing), but do receive technical assistance from the National Park Service on managing their significant resources – as well as additional recognition.
Kate Mullany immigrated to the United States from Ireland at a young age with the rest of her family. After the death of her father, she took a job in a laundry to support the rest of her family, including her mother, who was in ill health. Conditions in the laundry were difficult, demanding 12+ hour days for only $3 a week in wages. In February of 1864, Kate Mullany successfully organized around 300 laundry workers across several businesses to form the first labor union in the United States primarily for female workers. Shortly after organizing, they launched a six day strike and were successful in winning a 25% pay increase. Her home in Troy, New York was designated a National Historic Site in 2005 and is also home to the American Labor Studies Center. The website for the Center has a great short biography of Kate Mullany that is well worth reading.
Independence, Missouri is famously the traditional starting point of the Oregon Trail, as well as the home of Harry S Truman National Historic Site. The National Frontier Trails Museum is a little gem of a museum that provides exhibits on the Oregon, California, Mormon Pioneer, Santa Fe, and Lewis and Clark National Historic Trails – the great trails of western settlement and exploration. The exhibits use excerpts from diary and journal entries to really bring the experience of the journey westward undertaken by these explorers and pioneers to life. The new cancellations for the Oregon and California National Historic Trails replace existing “generic” cancellations that listed all the states for each trail.
The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail already had a place-specific stamp at the National Frontier Trails Musem. It adds five new cancellations, three of which are related to the recent eastward extension of the trail from St. Louis, Missouri back to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The reconstructed 18th-Century Historic Fort Steuben in Steubenville, Ohio is open from May to October. The original fort was already abandoned by the time of the expedition, but Meriwether Lewis passed through the area on his journey eastward to assemble to the Corps of Discovery in St. Charles, Missouri. The Lewis and Clark Boathouse in St. Charles includes a replica keelboat and two replica pirogues, all of which are seaworthy and are occasionally used in reenactments.
The Missouri River Basin Lewis & Clark Center in Nebraska City, Nebraska includes a replica of the explorers’ keelboat, as well as a replica Plains Indian earth lodge. Missouri’s Trail of Tears State Park is located near the city of Cape Girardeau, about an hour’s drive north of the confluence between the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. Meriwether Lewis would have passed by this area on his preparatory journey, and both Lewis and Clark would have passed by here on their return home. Locust Grove in Louisville, Kentucky was the estate of William Clark’s sister and husband. Lewis and Clark stopped here in 1806 and celebrated the return of the expedition with Clark’s family.
Finally, the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail adds four locations along the Natchez Trace Parkway this month, including the site where Meriwether Lewis died, most likely by suicide. Mount Locust Plantation, Ridgeland, and Tupelo are all locations of other Visitor Centers along the Parkway. The famous Tennessee Aquarium may seem like an unlikely location for a Trail of Tears passport cancellation, but the aquarium shares its location with the Chattanooga History Center – which does provide interpretation of Chattanooga’s role in the 19th Century removal of American Indians to present-day Oklahoma.
Canaveral National Seashore | Apollo Beach Playalinda Beach
Cumberland Gap National Historical Park | Iron Furnace 1819 Tri-State Marker
Cuyahoga Valley National Park | Cuyahoga River Water Trail
Gateway Arch National Park | Old Courthouse
Guadalupe Mountains National Park | Guadalupe Peaks – The Top of Texas Salt Basin Dunes Williams Ranch
Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area | Freeport, IL Jonesboro, IL Petersburg, IL Pontiac, IL
Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial | Living Historical Farm
Fort Sumter & Fort Moultrie National Historical Park | Charleston Harbor, SC Fort Moultrie Liberty Square
Reconstruction Era National Historical Park | Beaufort, SC Port Royal, SC St. Helena Island, SC
Cedar Breaks National Monument | Brianhead, Utah
Fort Hunt Park | Fairfax, VA Fort Marcy Park | Fairfax, VA
Olympic National Park | Hoodsport WIC Port Angeles WIC
Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail | Port Tobacco, MD
Coal National Heritage Area | Ashland Company Store
Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail | Las Lagunas de Anza, CA
Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network | Roving Ranger Annapolis, MD
Stories Behind the Stamps
Leading off the new stamps this month are two new cancellations for Canaveral National Seashore on Florida’s Space Coast. Its fitting that a stamp for “Apollo Beach” is being issued in the same year that we are celebrating the historic 50th Anniversary of the Apollo Moon Landing. Canaveral National Seashore shares the Cape with Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, as well as the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. As near as I can tell, though, Apollo Beach has no significance to the space program other than being named in its honor.
The Seashore itself is divided into three beaches on the barrier islands just to the north of the Kennedy Space Center. The new cancellation for Apollo Beach is possibly a replacement for the existing Passport cancellation reading “New Smyrna Beach, FL,” which is the closest town to Apollo Beach. Apollo Beach is the northern-most beach in the park, and is where the park’s main visitor center is, as well as the historic Eldora state house from an early 20th-century resort. Despite this fact, Apollo Beach actually gets significantly less visitation than Playalinda Beach, the southern-most beach in the park. Playalinda, which means “beautiful beach” in Spanish, is only accessible by driving through the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, and there may be temporary access restrictions during space launch activity at the nearby Kennedy Space Center.
Located between Apollo Beach and Playalinda Beach is Klondike Beach, but it is not accessible by car, and so does not have its own Passport cancellation, at least not yet.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park, located in far western Texas added three cancellations this month, giving it a total of 8 active cancellations. Seven of the eight stamps are available at the park’s Pine Springs Visitor Center on the south side of the park, including all three of the new stamps. One of the new stamps commemorates the fact that Guadalupe Peak at 8,751 feet is the highest point in Texas. The peak is accessible through a well-marked 4.2 mile one-way trail from the Visitor Center. The Salt Basin Dunes are stunning white gypsum sand dunes. To access the dunes requires a one hour drive around to the remote west side of the park, and then a one mile hike. The access road is impassable when wet, so this will not be a destination for every park visitor. The Williams Ranch is accessible only by special permit with a high-clearance four-wheel drive vehicle or else a strenuous 10+ mile one way hike. Suffice to say, that will be a destination that few park visitors will make it to.
The overall stamp for the park reads “Salt Flat, Texas.” The park also has a cancellation commemorating the path of the Butterfield Overland Mail Route through the park. There is also a stamp for the nearby historic Frijole Ranch. The last stamp at the main visitor center is for McKittrick Canyon, which is located a 45 minute drive around to the east side of the park. The McKittrick Canyon area has three hiking trails, a self-guided nature trail, the geology-focused Permian Reef trail, and the main trail into McKittrick Canyon itself.
The eighth stamp for Guadalupe Mountains National Park is for Dog Canyon on the north side of the park. Dog Canyon is only accessible from New Mexico, and is a 2.5 hour drive from the Pine Springs Visitor Center.
Cumberland Gap National Historic Park has added two new stamps this month to encourage visitors to more thoroughly explore all the places this park has to offer, although all stamps are located at the main visitor center – the only stamping location for the park. The Cumberland Gap is the famous location where Daniel Boone led settlers west of the Appalachian on the Wilderness Road. The Tri-State Marker commemorates the joint border of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia inside the park. It is accessible by a 1.2 mile one-way hike from the Wilderness Road Parking Lot on the Pinnacle View Road. The Iron Furnace is an easy two-tenths of a mile hike from the Iron Furnace Parking Area located at 902 Pennlynn Avenue in the nearby town of Cumberland Gap, Tennessee (although the trail is located entirely in Virginia.
These two new additions give Cumberland Gap NHP a total of seven active non-anniversary Passport cancellations. A stamp reading “Middlesboro, KY” is the overall stamp for the Park. There are also cancellations at the main visitor center available for the Wilderness Road Trail, the Pinnacle Overlook, the Gap Cave, and the Hensley Settlement. The Wilderness Road Trail and Pinnacle Overlook are easily accessible from the main park road. The Gap Cave is only accessible by a one mile hike, followed by a half mile inside the cave, and requires closed-toe shoes; children under 5 are not permitted. The historic Hensley Settlement is ordinarily only accessible by guided tour with advance reservations, but all tours have been cancelled for 2019 due to deteriorated road conditions.
Gateway Arch National Park gets a new stamp this month for the Old Courthouse. In addition to preserving the iconic Gateway Arch in St. Louis, this National Park also preserves the Old Courthouse, which served as a site for both Federal and state courts. The Old Courthouse was where the Missouri Courts, including the Missouri Supreme Court, heard the the Dred Scott cases. Those cases ultimately resulted in the infamous 1857 US Supreme Court decision in Dred Scott v. Sanford, which bizarrely and controversially held that “black people” were not, and indeed, never could be, citizens of the United States.
Gateway Arch National Park is not thought often thought about as a “Civil War” park. However, it does tell the story of how the Nation’s westward expansion made our tenuous compromise on the issue of slavery ever-more unstable. Ironically, Supreme Court Justice Roger Taney, the author of the Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision, thought that he was writing a decision that would help settle the issue of slavery. In fact, the infamous decision further set the Nation on a course towards Civil War.
The Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial in southern Indiana commemorates the time that America’s greatest President spent in Indiana, in between the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park in Kentucky and the Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield, Illinois. As the designation of the site as a national memorial implies, little remains of the Lincoln family home from this time period, other than what has been revealed by archeologists. However, in addition to the memorial structure itself, the site includes a living history farm as a tribute to Lincoln’s formative years here.
The Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area adds four new cancellations. Freeport, Illinois was the site of one of the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates, and has a memorial to the debate that occurred there as well as a historic museum. Jonesboro, Illinois was the site of the third Lincoln-Douglas debate, and likewise has a memorial and offices for the Shawnee National Forest, where the cancellation will be located. Pontiac, Illinois was one of the many communities were Lincoln practiced law and today has a museum dedicated to Historic Route 66. The new cancellation for Petersburg, Illinois will apparently be located at the Riverbank Lodge resort.
The Cuyahoga River Water Trail is an ambitious proposal to encourage the use of the restored Cuyahoga River for boating and paddling of all kinds. The section of the Cuyahoga River flowing through Cuyahoga Valley National Park is one of five designated segments along the trail.
Two national parks in South Carolina received new names thanks to the Dingell Act, and now have updated cancellations. Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Historical Park was famously the site of the opening salvos in the American Civil War. South Carolinian-occupied batteries on the mainland opened fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, which was occupied by Federal troops. The main visitor center for the park is located on Liberty Square in downtown Charleston, and is also the primary departure point for boat excursions to Fort Sumter on the island. Fort Moultrie is located just across the river from Liberty Square and played only a minor role in the bombardment of Fort Sumter. Today it shows the history of coastal defenses all the way from the antebellum years through to the Second World War. The Reconstruction Era National Historical Park includes three sites related to the integration of the freed slaves into society following emancipation. Located in and around Beaufort, South Carolina, a short drive from Charleston, the area provides an interesting set of “book ends” with the place where the Civil War began and some of the places where the post-war era began.
The highlight of this month’s new stamps is the new stamp for Tule Lake National Monument. The Tule Lake Japanese Internment Camp had been a part of World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument ever since President George W. Bush established that monument in 2008, but it became a stand-alone unit of the National Park System with the passage of the Dingell Act earlier this year. This month, it finally got its own Passport Cancellation. Tule Lake is now the third of the ten Japanese relocation centers established during World War II to become a Unit of the National Park System, the others being Mazanar National Historic Site in California and Minidoka National Historic Site in Idaho (with an outlying unit in Washington State.) Honouliuli National Historic Site in Hawaii was also used for Japanese Internment, but it was not an official relocation center, and its largest population consisted of Prisoners of War.
Tule Lake is notable because despite being the second relocation center to open, just two and a half weeks after Manzanar opened, Tule Lake went on to become:
the largest relocation center, with more than 18,000 internees at peak population on Christmas Day, 1944;
the last relocation center to peak in population, with the 9 other relocation centers peaking in population in 1942 or 1943;
the longest-open relocation center, at 1,394 days; and
the last relocation center to close, with the last resident not departing until March 20, 1946, some seven months after the war had ended.
The addition of Tule Lake National Monument as a stand-alone national park is yet another reminder that the National Park System includes not just the triumphs of American history, but also those moments when our country painfully failed to live up to our founding ideals and was responsible for grave injustice.
The Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, in Washington and Oregon, primarily interprets the story not of a military installation, but instead of an important Hudson’s Bay Company fur trading outpost in Vancouver, Washington, just across the Columbia River from Portland. The first fort was established in 1825 before being relocated in 1829. The park features a reconstruction of the original fort, which burned to the ground in 1866.
This national park site is also responsible, however, for administering the Vancouver National Historic Reserve, which is something of a historic preservation district immediately adjacent to the Park. Although not a unit of the National Park System, the Vancouver National Historic Reserve preserves the Vancouver Barracks. The current structures in the Barracks mostly date to the early 20th Century, but the origins of the Barracks date back to U.S. Army’s Camp Vancouver. Camp Vancouver was established in 1849 to provide order for settlers arriving on the Oregon Trail, and was intentionally placed adjacent to the Hudson Bay Company’s installation for that reason. The Pearson Air Museum is actually part of the National Historic Reserve, not the National Historic Site. The area that became Pearson Field actually dates back to aviation’s first decade when it was an aircraft demonstration area and manufacturing center. It was formally established as an air field in the early 1920’s. The Pearson Air Museum commemorates the aviation history of this location, including how the first aircraft to circumnavigate the world landed here in 1924.
The Port Byron Canal Heritage Park is located directly off the New York State Thruway in central New York. The Park features an old canal lock from an 1854 enlargement, a restored 1894 tavern, and a new visitor center that was just built in 2016. The visitor center is particularly notable for including a model of a canal lock that was displayed at the 1893 Columbian Exposition / World’s Fair in Chicago. This new addition gives the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor 31 active cancellation locations, from Albany to Buffalo.
The Tutwiler Quilters stamp is the 29th cancellation for the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area in northeast Mississippi. 20 of those are generic stamps for the various counties or localities in the Heritage Area, so this is only the 9th destination-specific cancellation for the heritage area. This stamp has an interesting story behind it. In 1987, Sister Maureen Delaney, a Catholic nun, moved from California to Tutwiler, MIssissippi to join the Tutwiler Clinic. The clinic had been founded four years earlier by the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary to serve one of the poorest counties in the Delta. Soon after arriving, Sister Delaney met Mary Sue Robertson, who sewed quilt tops by hand in her home, and was part of the strong quilt-making tradition in the African-American community there. Sister Delaney recognized that the high-quality quilts produced in this tradition had untapped value that could be used to empower the women in this community. She brought together expert quilters and sewers, along with younger women who could learn from those with more experience, and carry on the quilt-making tradition. Although Mary Sue Robertson would die just two years later, her experience with Sister Maureen Delaney led directly to the establishment of the Tutwiler Quilters, along with the Tutwiler Community Education Center. One of Mary Sue Robertson’s quilts still hangs in the Tutwiler Community Education Center, and the Tutwiler Quilters still sell a variety of quilts and other creations. These
The Nez Perce National Historical Park interprets the culture and history of the Nez Perce Tribe of American Indians, and includes a total of 38 sites across four states – although only three of them current have separate cancellations. The Nez Perce National Historic Trail* commemorates the route taken by a large band of Nez Perce Indians under the leadership of Chief Joseph in their attempt to flee to Canada in order to escape a U.S. Cavalry unit with orders to force them on to a reservation. The trail begins in eastern Oregon and ends at the Bear Paw Battlefield unit of Nez Perce National Historical Park in north-central Montana. Like Tule Lake National Monument, the Nez Perce National Historic Trail tell the story of a darker period in U.S. History of the government forcibly expelling pepople from their homes.
The main visitor center for both the park and the trail is located in Spalding, Idaho in the center of Idaho’s panhandle. The town of Lapwai is the next town to the south of Spalding, and is the seat of government of the Nez Perce Tribe. The town of Spalding is named after Henry Spalding, who was a missionary to the Nez Perce. The addition of the new stamps reading “Lapwai, ID” adds a stamp with a name in the Nez Perce Tribe’s own language for the park and trail dedicated to their history and culture. The Nez Perce National Historical Park includes numerous sites in the area relating to the cultural traditions and history of the Nez Perce Tribe. The visitor center also includes a stamp for the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, commemorating the important encounter the explorers had with the Nez Perce on their journey across the Rocky Mountains.
Saratoga National Historical Park commemorates the 1777 turning-point battle of the American Revolutionary War. The battle defeated British General John Burgoyne’s planned three-pronged attack to re-take what is now New York State and divide the colonies. The Saratoga Monument is located in the town of Victory, New York and is open seasonally for self-guided climbs to the top. You can also find the restored home of American General Philip Schuyler in nearby Schuylerville, also open seasonally.
The Rodgers Tavern is located in Perryville, at the top of the Chesapeake Bay, and just across the Susquehanna River from Havre de Grace, Maryland – which is a Passport cancellation site of its own. The British burned Havre de Grace as well as the nearby Principio Iron Furnace during the War of 1812 in May 1813 – a year and a half before the famed Battle of Fort McHenry in Baltimore. The Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail links together many sites associated with British activity in the Chesapeake Bay during the War of 1812, as well as marking the actual route of attack for British troops on their way to Baltimore for the fateful engagement there.
The Rodgers Tavern was originally built in the late 1600’s and was known as the “ferry house” for its association with a ferry across the Susquehanna River to Havre de Grace, Maryland. George Washington was a frequent guest at the tavern on his travels between Virginia and Philadelphia and points north. This includes stopping there with the Comte de Rochambeau on his way to the final engagement of the Revolutionary War in Yorktown, Virginia – a journey commemorated by the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail.
Cover Photo: The Saratoga Monument in Victory, NY. Photo from 2007.
Note: the original release of stamps for May 2019 included a cancellation for Nez Perce National Historic Trail | Lapwai, ID. Prior to the publication of this post, however, the list was corrected to reflect that this was a stamp for the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail. This post reflects the corrected list.
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.
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.