June & July 2019 – Civil War Start-To-Finish, the Top of Texas, and More

New Stamps

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

Eldora Statehouse is found in the Apollo Beach Unit of Canaveral National Seashore. Photo from 2015.

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 has several new cancellations this month. Public domain photo from 2004.

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.

Fog rolling in on Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, which has two new cancellations this month. Photo Credit 2005: Aaron/ConspiracyofHappiness – https://www.flickr.com/photos/97964364@N00/52117339/in/set-1130893/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=898801

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 from the steps of the Old Courthouse, which has a new cancellation this month. Photo from 2019.

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 Living History Farm at Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial has a new cancellation this month. Photo Credit: National Park Service

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.

Fort Moultrie gets a new cancellation this month as part of the park’s name change earlier this month. Photo from 2011.

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.

Several other stamps this month simply reflect changed mailing addresses for existing Passport locations. This includes the Fort Hunt Park and Fort Marcy Park along the George Washington Memorial Parkway in northern Virginia. This also includes the rock formations of Cedar Breaks National Monument in Utah.

Closing out the list of stamps this month, Olympic National Park replaces two stamps this month for each of its Wilderness Information Center. The Lagunas de Anza are preserved wetlands on a private ranch south of Tucson, Arizona at the very beginning of the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail route in the United States. The new stamp for the Captain John Smith National Historic Trail will be located at Thomas Stone National Historic Site in southern Maryland. The Ashland Company Store is a restored mining company store that is now part of an adventure resort supporting tours in the Coal National Heritage Area in southern West Virginia.

Final Shot: the interior of the dome at the Old Courthouse in Gateway Arch National Park. This photo and the cover photo both from 2019.
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