January Through April 2019 – Explorers Across the Centuries

National Aviation Heritage Area |

      • Armstrong Air & Space Museum
      • Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum
      • Wright B. Flyer

Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail |

      • Canyon Ferry Reservoir, MT
      • Fort Benton, MT
      • Fort Peck, MT
      • Sioux City Lewis & Clark Center
      • Yellowstone Gateway Museum, MT

Vicksburg National Military Park | Shirley House

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 grave site of the Wright Brothers at Woodland Cemetery in Dayton, Photo credit: Wmpearl [CC0]

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 at Vicksburg National Military Park back in 2008, prior to the restoration work that led to it getting a new Passport cancellation this month.

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. 

The new cancellation for the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area is in the local visitor center for the town of Ottawa.   Just down the road is the Illinois Waterways Visitor Center for Starved Rock State Park, which has a cancellation reading “Ottawa, IL” for the Illinois & Michigan Canal National Heritage Area.  Starved Rock State Park is frequently mentioned by #ParkChat on Twitter as one of the best state parks in the country. 

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

Final Shot: Fort Kearny State Historical Park in Nebraska. Photo Credit: Hanyou23 [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]

Cover Photo Credit of the Armstrong Museum: Kremerbi [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]

 

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November & December 2018 – Big News for Indiana Dunes & More!

C&O Canal National Historical Park | Lockhouse #21 – Swains

The Lockkeeper’s House | Washington, DC

Ice Age National Scenic Trail | Camp Douglas, WI

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore |

  • West Beach
  • Bailly Homestead
  • Chellberg Farm
  • Mount Baldy
  • Pin Hook Bog

Camp Nelson National Monument | Nicholasville, KY

Isle Royale National Park | USNPS Ranger III

Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail | Prairie Trails Museum, IA

Underground Railroad Freedom Network | Longfellow House – Washington’s Headquarters NHS

The Bailly Homestead is one of the new passport locations for Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore – now Indiana Dunes National Park. Photo courtesy Bruce Johnson, 2008

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 in Washington, DC., is a relic of the Washington City Canal, which last ran past here more than 100 years ago. Photo from 2019.

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.

Mill Bluff State Park in Camp Douglas, Wisconsin is part of the Ice Age National Scientific Reserve, and has apparently also received a new cancellation for the Ice Age National Scenic Trail, which passes to the east of here. Photo from 2012.

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.

The Prairie Trails Museum is located in Corydon, Iowa, in the south-central part of the state.  This month it becomes one of around a dozen Passport locations for the Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail, from Nauvoo, Illinois to Salt Lake City, Utah.

Finally, there is a new stamp for the Underground Railroad Freedom Network at the Longfellow House – Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site in Cambridge, Massachusetts.   This stamp finally replaces the older stamp with this site’s old designation as Longfellow National Historic Site on it – despite the fact that “Washington’s Headquarters” was added to the site name back in December 2010.  The poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was a noted anti-slavery advocate in his time, and voiciferous opponent of the Fugitive Slave Act.  Although I couldn’t find any evidence that Longfellow sheltered fugitive slaves at his home, which is now a National Historic Site, there is good evidence of him providing financial support to others who sheltered fugitive slaves on the Underground Railroad.

Final Shot: The Longfellow House – Washington’s Headquarter’s National Historic Site has a new Passport cancellation for the Underground Railroad Freedom Network this month. Photo from 2015.
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October 2018 – Triumph & Tragedy

There were just three new cancellations this month:

Flight 93 National Memorial | Tower of Voices

National Capital Parks: Titanic Memorial | Washington, DC

Pennsylvania Avenue National Historic Site: George Gordon Meade Memorial | Washington, DC

All three of this month’s cancellations relate to memorials and national memorials – a favorite topic of Parkasaurus.

A crane installs chimes on the Tower of Voices at Flight 93 National Memorial. Photo credit: NPS.gov

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.

The landscape of the Titanic Memorial in Washington, DC. Photo from 2010

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.

Final Shot: The memorial bell at Flight 93 National Memorial from a time when the Memorial was still largely undeveloped. Photo from 2010.
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