July & August 2018 – US Civil Rights Trail Joins the Passport Program

The graves of Martin Luther & Coretta Scott King are just one of the destinations on the new US Civil Rights Trail, which joins the Passport Program this month. Photo from 2012.

U.S. Civil Rights Trail

  • Selma
  • Lowndes
  • Tuskegee Airmen NHS
  • Carver Museum
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. NHP

Alaska Public Lands Information Center

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

Ebenzer Baptist Church, where Martin Luther King, Jr. began his ministry is part of Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park on the US Civil Rights Trail. Photo from 2012

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.

The George Washington Carver Museum can be found at the Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site a short drive away in Alabama.  Tuskegee is also home to the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site.  Also in Alabama, the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail commemorates the route of the historic voting rights match from the city of Selma to the state capitol in Montgomery.  The Trail has two visitor centers, one in Selma, and one near the midpoint of the trail in Lowndes County.  Presumably, the recently-established Birmingham Civil RightsFreedom Riders, and Reconstruction Era National Monuments will also get their own US Civil Rights Trail cancellations once those new national parks are fully up and running.

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:

These ruins can be found in the Solstice Canyon area of Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, which adds a new cancellation this month. Photo from 2007.

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.

Final Shot: A trail heading off into the distance in Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. Photo from 2007.
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June 2018 – Hopewell Furnace Expands & More!

Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site in Pennsylvania headlines the list of this month’s new stamps. Photo from 2012.

Acadia National Park | Duck Harbor

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 Buckley & Brooke Store is a new cancellation location at Hopewell Furance National Historic Site. Photo from 2017

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.

Acadia National Park gets an updated cancellation this month for Duck Harbor on Isle au Haut. This photo, from the Schoodic Peninsula is from 2015.

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.

Idaho’s Three Island Crossing State Park features an Oregon Trail History and Education Center.  It was an important crossing of the Snake River for settlers on the Oregon National Historic Trail.

The Cimarron Chamber of Commerce has an updated Santa Fe National Historic Trail stamp this month. Photo from 2015.

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.

The History Museum on the Square can be found in Springfield, Missouri.  The Museum is dedicated to the entire history of the city in southwest Missouri, including the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail and Route 66, which also passed through the area.

Finally two stamps were actually removed from the Eastern National list this month.

El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail | Santa Fe, NM

El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail | Santa Fe, NM

These removals reflect the temporary closure of the Santa Fe Offices where the stamps had been housed.  Following rennovations, it is likely that the stamps will be reissued once the office reopens.

Final Shot: The town square in Cimarron, New Mexico. Photo from 2015.
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May 2018 – Gateway Arch, Mississippi Hills, Silos & Smokestacks and More!

This month you can find your park and find a new cancellation at Prince William Forest Park in Virginia. Photo from 2018.

Fort Pulaski National Monument |

  • Gullah-Geechee
  • Underground RR Freedom Network

Gateway Arch National Park | St. Louis, MO

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 |

  • Chicago, IL
  • Lockport, IL

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
  • Rust College
  • 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
  • Hartman Reserve
  • Hurstville Interpretive Center
  • Ice  House Museum
  • Jasper County Historical Museum
  • Maier Rural Heritage Center
  • Mathias Ham House
  • Motor Mill
  • National Farm Toy Museum
  • Sawmill Museum
  • Waterloo, IA
  • U of I Natural History Museum
  • Wapsipinicon Mill
The new name for Gateway National Park highlights this month’s cancellations. Photo from 2005.

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.

The exterior wall of Fort Pualski National Monument still shows the scars from bombardment by Union forces during the Civil War. The center section was rebuilt after new rifled cannons demonstrated that the brick walls were now obsolete. Photo form 2014.

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 has a new cancellation for when George Washington passed through the area on his way to Yorktown. It also commemorates some much older history, like this petrified log. Photo from 2014.

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 home where Elvis Presley was born in Tupleo, Mississippi is among the highlights from this month’s expansion of the Passport Program in the Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area. Photo Credit: By Ken Lund, Las Vegas, Nevada [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
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 Wapsipinicon Mill in the town of Independence, Iowa is among the highlights of the expanded Passport Program for the Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Area. Photo Credit: By Erich Fabricius [CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
The new stamps for the Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area take this partnership program in northeastern Iowa from 18 available cancellations to 32 available cancellations.   The African American Museum of Iowa can be found in the city of Cedar Rapids, and joins cancellations for five other museums there, including the Indian Creek Nature Center, the National Czech & Slovak Museum, the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, and the Grant Wood Studio.  Grant Wood is famously the artist behind the painting American Gothic, which is among the many Grant Wood pieces exhibited at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art.

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.

Andrew Johnson’s Tailor Shop is preserved inside the National Historic Site Visitor Center. Photo from 2013.

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.

 

Final Shot: The Field of Dreams in Dyersville, Iowa doesn’t have a cancellation for the Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Area…. yet – but it really aught to, right? Photo Credit: By IowaPolitics.com [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

 

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March 2018 – Special Stamps for Women’s Rights NHP & More

Three new cancellations for Women’s Rights National Historical Park highlight this month’s new stamps. The oldest Parkasaurus kid is certainly excited!  Photo from 2014.

Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site – Kiowa County, CO

Women’s Rights National Historical Park –

  • Bedford Falls, NY
  • Elizabeth Cady Stanton House
  • Convention Days

Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area – Stonecrest, GA

Appalachian National Scenic Trail – Blairstown, NJ

Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail – Harpers Ferry, WV

Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site is updating its single passport cancellation this month. Photo from 2015.

Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site in rural eastern Colorado has had a passport cancellation reading “Eads, CO” ever since the site was added to the National Park System in 2007.   The town of Eads, however, where the Park’s headquarters offices are located, is actually a couple miles from the site itself.  Thus, the National Park Service has apparently decided to update their cancellation to read “Kiowa County,” rather than the town of Eads.

The highlight of this month’s additions, however, are three new stamps for Women’s Rights National Historical Park in upstate New York.  The Elizabeth Cady Stanton house is the third park location to get its own passport cancellation, along with the main Visitor Center in Seneca Falls and the M’Clintock House in nearby Waterloo where the organizers of the Seneca Falls Convention met regularly.  Elizabeth Cady Stanton was one of the giants of the women’s suffrage movement and a key organizer of the Seneca Falls Convention.  The “Convention Days” stamps refers to the annual commemoration  of the Seneca Falls Convention on or around July 20th each summer.   The “Bedford Falls” stamp, however, is more closely associated with winter. The town of Seneca Falls was the model for the fictional town of Bedford Falls in Mrs. Parkasaurus’ all-time favorite Christmas movie, “Its a Wonderful Life.”   The National Park Service annually hosts an “It’s a Wonderful Life” weekend in mid-December each year.

The Monastery of the Holy Spirit is one of the more unusual cancellation locations for the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area. Photo from 2013.

The Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area commemorates the natural and cultural landscapes around two granite mountains located just east of Atlanta, Arabia Mountain itself and Panola Mountain.  (The famous Stone Mountain, with its massive carving of Confederate leaders etched in the side, is part of the same geological province, and is located just to the north of the designated National Heritage Area.)  This Heritage Area has previously had one cancellation, available at multiple locations, for the town of Lithonia, Georgia.  This new cancellation reflects that a new town of Stonecrest, Georgia, containing Arabia Mountain itself, has been split off from the town of Lithonia, Georgia.

The Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area, like many heritage areas, is organized around a number of “themes.”  For Arabia Mountain NHA, these themes are Natural Systems, Early Settlement, Culture & Community, Granite & Technology, and Spiritual Landscape.  The Spiritual Landscape theme is relatively unusual – the only other example I can immediately think of is the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area in Utah.  Thus, in addition to being able to obtain this new stamp at Panola Mountain State Park and at the Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve, this stamp can also be obtained at the  Monastery of the Holy Spirit.  The Monastery of the Holy Spirit is an unusual location for a passport cancellation as a religious site, but they also preserve a significant natural expanse of the Arabia Mountain area.  Their visitor center includes exhibits on the history of the monastery, and the gift shop includes fudge, fruitcake, and biscotti made on-site by the monks themselves.

The new cancellation for the Appalachian National Scenic Trail is for Blairstown, New Jersey.   Blairstown is located just to the east of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area on the upper Pennsylvania-New Jersey border.  This stamp is located at the Mohican Outdoor Center, operated by the Appalachian Mountain Club.

Finally, the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail has updated its stamp for Harpers Ferry National Historical Park to reflect the name of the town on the bottom instead of the name of the park.

Final shot: The Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail runs along the north (far) shore of the Potomac River near and through Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. Photo from 2007.

 

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January & February 2018 – Delaware Water Gap Reboot, Everglades Airboats, & More

The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area in Pennsylvania and New Jersey has rebooted its passport program this month. Photo from 2012.

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area |

  • Park Headquarters
  • Pocono Environmental Education Center
  • Dingmans Falls Visitor Center
  • Peters Valley School of Craft
  • Millbrook Village General Store
  • Kittatiny Point Visitor Center

Everglades National Park |

  • Coopertown
  • Everglades Safari Park
  • Gator Park

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park | Kahuku Unit

Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area | Charleston, IL

Oil Region National Heritage Area |

  • Oil City, PA
  • Drake Well Museum
  • Pumping Jack Museum
  • Venango Museum
  • DeBence Antique Music World

National Aviation Heritage Area | WACO Air Museum

El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail | Albuquerque Museum, NM

North Country National Scenic Trail | Jay Cooke State Park, MN

Oregon National Historic Trail |

  • Homestead NM of America, NE
  • McLoughlin House, OR
  • Harry S Truman NHS, MO

Pony Express National Historic Trail |

  • B. F. Hastings Building, CA
  • Fort Sedgwick Museum, CO
  • Pony Express National Museum
  • Old Sacramento Visitor Center, CA

Santa Fe National Historic Trail | Bent’s Old Fort NHS, CO

Trail of Tears National Historic Trial |

  • Great Smoky Mountains NP – Oconoaluftee, NC
  • Great Smoky Mountains NP – Sugarlands, TN
  • Hidden Springs, Shawnee NF, IL
  • Mississippi Bluffs, Shawnee NF, IL

Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail | St. Mary’s County Museum Division, MD

Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail | St. Mary’s County Museum Division, MD

Underground Railroad Freedom Network | St. Mary’s County Museum Division, MD

The Peters Valley Craft Store in New Jersey is one of six passport locations for the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. Photo from 2012.

As I get caught up, I am going to combine two months of stamps from last winter.

The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area straddles the border between Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and provides a relatively close National Park experience for millions of residents in the New York and Pennsylvania metro areas, as well as millions more residents of eastern Pennsylvania and central New Jersey.  The park has historically had six cancellation locations, and this months listings simply represent a “reboot” of the same six cancellation locations, with a consistent lexicon for each location on the bottoms of the new stamps.

Everglades National Park has added three new cancellations this month for their airboat tour operator partners. Photo Credit: jjron [GFDL 1.2 (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html)], from Wikimedia Commons
More interesting are the new stamps for Everglades National Park.   This park already has six cancellation locations, including one at each of this massive national park’s five visitor centers.  The sixth is for the Nike Missile Site, which was added in January 2016.     The three new additions this month are for each of the three authorized airboat tour operators within Everglades National Park.    So getting a complete set of Passport cancellations for this Park will now require visiting each of the three authorized airboat concessionaires.  I’m trying to think of a parallel for placing  Passport cancellations at multiple concessionaires, but I think that this may be a first.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has been much in the news lately for the ongoing volcanic eruption that closed most of the park for several months in 2018.  The Kahuku Unit, however, is an outlying area of the park, away from the main crater of Kilauea.  It is one of the only parts of the park that was able to remain open during the eruption event.

The Drake Well Museum is a highlight of the new stamps this month for the Oil Region National Heritage Area. Photo credit: By Niagara [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons
A highlight of this group of stamps are the first five stamps for the Oil Region National Heritage Area, which previously did not have any passport cancellation locations.  The headquarters of the Oil Region Alliance are located in Oil City, PA, along with the Venango Museum of Art, Science, and Industry.   The Drake Well Museum, the fist commercially-successful oil well, is just to the north in the town of Titusville, Pennsylvania.  The Pumping Jack Museum, dedicated to the symbol of oil wells everywhere, can be found in the town of Emlemton, Pennsylvania. Finally, the DeBence Antique Music World  is a museum dedicated to antique mechanical musical instruments in the town of Franklin.

The Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area massively expanded their passport program in January 2017 and again in June 2017.    This new stamp will be located at Charleston City Hall, and continues the recent trends of heritage areas involving local governments in the passport program.

The National Aviation Heritage Area has had a number of unofficial passport cancellations for its “Wil-bear Wright Passport Program” (a special program specific to the National Heritage Area) for a number of years, but the new stamp for the WACO Air Museum in Troy, Ohio is its first official Passport to Your National Parks cancellation.  The museum is dedicated to the history of the historic WACO Air Company; for a time it was the largest manufacturer of civil aircraft in the country during the early days in the history of aviation.

The Harry S Truman National Historic Site in Independence, Missouri is located in the same town as the historic starting point for the Oregon National Historic Trail. Photo from 2016

Several of the National Historic Trails received replacement stamps for existing passport cancellation locations.  The El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail marks the US portion of the historic “Royal Road” that linked the Spanish colonial capital of Mexico City to Santa Fe.  The Albuquerque Museum of Art and History is one of 18 passport cancellation locations for this trail. Jay Cooke State Park, near Duluth, Minnesota, is one of 17 passport locations for the North Country National Scenic Trail from North Dakota to New York State.  Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site was a trading post at the midway point of the  Santa Fe National Historic Trail in Colorado, and is one of 38 passport cancellation locations for the trail.  The Oregon National Historic Trail replaced three of its 22 passport cancellation locations, including at Harry S Truman National Historic Site in Missouri, Homestead National Monument in Nebraska, and at the McLoughlin House Unit of Fort Vancouver National Historic Site in Oregon City, Oregon.  Fort Vancouver was an important trading post of the Hudson Bay Company in nearby Vancouver, Washington, located just across the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon.  John McLoughlin was a former official at Fort Vancouver, and went on to become known as the “Father of Oregon” for his role in promoting settlement of the then-Oregon Territory.

A statue of a Pony Express Rider outside the Pony Express Museum in St. Joseph, Missouri, which has a replacement passport cancellation this month. Photo from 2004.

The new stamps for the Pony Express National Historic Trail are a mixture of the old and new.  The B.F. Hastings Building in Sacramento is a former headquarters for the Wells Fargo Company and a some-time endpoint for the Pony Express Route that began at the Pony Express Museum in St. Joseph, Missouri.   The Old Sacramento Visitor Center is a new location for the trail, in the town where many Pony Express letters were loaded onto steamships for the final stretch down the Sacramento River into San Francisco.

All four of the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail passport cancellations listed are new, bringing the trail to a total of 47 passport cancellation locations across nine states.  This includes the two new locations at either end of Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the two new locations in the Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois.

The Piney Point Lighthouse in St. Mary’s County, Maryland has three new passport cancellations this month thanks to various NPS Trails and partnership programs. Photo Credit: Kitkat70 [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons
Finally, the Museum Division of St. Mary’s County in southern Maryland operates the Piney Point Lighthouse Museum and Historic Park.  They have three new cancellations this month, representing their location on the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail, the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail, and the Underground Railroad Network to Freedom.  Somewhat surprisingly, no cancellation was issued for the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail – but perhaps that will come at a later date.

Final Shot: This mill stone provided a great photo opportunity for the oldest of the Parkasaurus kids, then 2.5 years old, back in 2012 at Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.

 

 

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November & December 2017 – Jefferson Patterson Park & More

A reconstructed Patuxent Indian wigwam at Jefferson Patterson Park, which has several new stamps this month. Photo from 2017.

Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network | Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum

Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail | Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum

Underground Railroad Freedom Network | Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum

Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument |

  • Mimbres, NM
  • Trailhead Museum

Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail | National Frontier Trails Museum, MO

Schuykill River Valley National Heritage Area |

  • Southeastern PA
  • Pottstown, PA
A signpost at Jefferson Patterson Park highlights its affiliations with the Underground Railroad Network to Freedom, the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail, and the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail. Photo from 2017.

The list of new stamps was fairly short over these two months,  so I’m combining November and December for 2017 together into a single post.

Three new stamps were issued for the Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum in southern Maryland, which previously has had a Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail stamp since September 2015.  Jefferson Patterson Park preserves the Point Farm Estate, which was donated the state of Maryland by philanthropist Mary Marvin Breckenridge Patterson in 1983.  She made the donation in honor of her late husband, Jefferson Patterson, a former U.S. ambassador to Uruguay, and the son of the founder of the National Cash Register company.

One of the highlights of Jefferson Patterson Park is a reconstruction of an Indian Village on the property, of the sort that might have been encountered by John Smith on one of his  voyages of exploration up the Chesapeake Bay in 1609.   The park is also the site of the 1813 naval engagement known as the Battle of St. Leonard’s Creek, which was fought in the Patuxent River  directly offshore the property.  In addition to visitor services, the park is the site of ongoing archaeological research, and has exhibits related to the science of archaeology.  This month’s additions give this park a total of four cancellation stamps.

Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument has updated its passport cancellations this month. Photo Credit: National Park Service

Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument in New Mexico is one of the most-remote national parks in the contiguous United States, located some 100 miles from the nearest national parks and some 35 miles from the nearest town.  The first new stamp simply reflects a change in the main post office servicing the park, which formerly was Silver City, New Mexico, but now is Mimbres, New Mexico.   The Cliff Dwellings themselves were built around the year 1275 and are located at more than a mile above sea level.  To reach them, visitors have to drive about two miles from the Visitor Center to the trailhead, and then hike a one mile loop trail.  The second stamp is the first one to be located at the National Park Service’s trailhead contact station.

The National Frontier Trails Museum in Independence, Missouri is affiliated with five different National Historic Trails. Photo from 2016.

The National Frontier Trails Museum is located in Independence, Missouri, and is the legendary starting point of the Oregon National Historic Trail.  The museum also contains exhibits interpreting the California National Historic Trail, Mormon Pioneer National Historic TrailSanta Fe National Historic Trail, and the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail.  The new stamp for the Lewis and Clark Trail appears to be a replacement for an earlier stamp reading “Independence, Missouri” on it.

Finally, the Schuykill River Valley National Heritage Area includes a corridor from where the Schuykill River meets the Delaware River in Philadelphia out to Pottstown, Pennsylvania.  The two stamps this month are replacements for previously existing stamps, and reflect a change in branding for the partner association that manages the Heritage Area.  The association has rebranded itself as Schuylkill River Greenways, Inc. and the new stamps read Schuylkill River Greenways NHA on top – although the legal name of the Heritage Area, Schuylkill River Valley National Heritage Area, remains the same.   Both of these stamps are located at the Heritage Area’s Headquarters Offices in Pottstown, Pennsylvania.  This Heritage Area has three other cancellations, located at Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site, Valley Forge National Historical Park, and Independence National Historical Park; all of which retain stamps with the original branding.

Final Shot: Another one of the reconstructed American Indian wigwams at Jefferson Patterson Park. Photo from 2017.
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