August Stories Behind the Stamps – Reserves & Roadhouses

Fort Casey State Park in Ebey's Landing National Historical Reserve is one of this week's new cancellation locations. Photo Credit NPS.gov
Fort Casey State Park in Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve is one of this week’s new cancellation locations. Photo Credit NPS.gov

Here are the additions for the month of August:

Dry Tortugas National Park | Garden Key

Ebey’s Landing National Historic Reserve | Fort Casey State Park

Joshua Tree National Park | Oasis of Mara

Yellowstone National Park | Snake River Ranger Station

Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve | Slaven’s Roadhouse

Ohio & Erie National Heritage Canalway |

      • Canal Fulton
      • Cleveland History Center / University Circle
      • Hale Farm & Village
      • High Point of the Canal
      • Historic Zoar Village
      • Richard Howe House

California National Historic Trail | Salt Lake City, UT

Fort Jefferson in Dry Tortugas National Park almost literally spills over the edges of Garden Key. A small sand bar connects Garden Key to nearby Bush Key, and then to nearby Long Key beyond that.
Fort Jefferson in Dry Tortugas National Park almost literally spills over the edges of Garden Key. A small sand bar connects Garden Key to nearby Bush Key, and then to nearby Long Key beyond that.  Photo credit NPS.gov.

The signature landmark in Dry Tortugas National Park is Fort Jefferson, which is located on Garden Key – about 70 miles west of Key West, Florida.  About two years ago, Dry Tortugas National Park added a second cancellation for the Florida Keys Eco Discovery Center on Key West.  This new cancellation may simply be a replacement for the long-standing stamp reading “Dry Tortugas, FL” on the bottom; Garden Key being one of the largest of the Dry Tortugas and the primary visitor destination in the park.

Fort Jefferson was constructed in the years leading up to the Civil War.  All of the islands in the Dry Tortugas, including Garden Key, are “dry,” meaning they lack fresh water, However, they occupy a strategic location for any ships travelling through the Florida Strait between the United States and Cuba, effectively controlling the approach to the U.S. Gulf Coast and the all-important Port of New Orleans. Nevertheless, the fort was never fully completed.  It never saw action in the Civil War, and then was quickly rendered obsolete by the rapid evolution of naval technology in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries.

Joshua Tree National Park in southern California includes beautiful desert landscapes as well as many stands of the iconic joshua trees.   One of the first settlers in the region, used a natural oasis to plant twenty-nine palm trees.  That eventually led to the growth of the town of Twenty-Nine Palms, California.  In turn, the town of Twenty-Nine Palms donated the original oasis to the National Park Service for use as the Park Headquarters and main Visitor Center.  This stamp likely replaces the existing “Twenty-Nine Palms, CA” stamp found at the Park’s Oasis Visitor Center.

The Snake River at sunrise in the near vicinity of the Snake River Ranger Station. Photo from 2006.
The Snake River at sunrise in the near vicinity of the Snake River Ranger Station. Photo from 2006.

The Snake River Ranger Station is located at the southern end of Yellowstone National Park and serves as the primary contact point for visitors arriving from Grand Teton National Park along the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway.  This is also a replacement for an existing stamp.

Ebey’s Landing National Historic Reserve is a partnership that preserves the agricultural landscapes of Whidbey Island, located north of Seattle in Puget Sound, and the history of European settlement in the Pacific Northwest.  Fort Casey State Park on Whidbey Island is one of the Reserve’s partners.  Fort Casey was built right around the turn of the 20th Century, and was designed to control the strategic entrance to Puget Sound and the Ports of Seattle, Tacoma, and Olympia.

Slaven's Roadhouse has been retored and once again serves wearly travelers in the Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve. Photo credit: NPS.gov
Slaven’s Roadhouse has been retored and once again serves wearly travelers in the Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve. Photo credit: NPS.gov

The Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve in Alaska is one of nine national parks (including five that “count twice,” for a total of fourteen) in that state that are not accessible by road.   Slaven’s Roadhouse is located some 45 miles down the Yukon River from the nearest road, at the junction of Coal Creek with the Yukon River.  Roadhouses are an institution in Alaska, providing service to passing travelers across Alaska’s massive distances and remote wilderness.  Slaven’s Roadhouse was established in the early 20th Century by Frank Slaven during the Klondike Gold Rush.  The National Park Service restored the roadhouse in the early 1990’s, and ever since it has continued to serve its original purpose of providing shelter to travelers on the Yukon River.  The National Park Service has a nice one-minute video about Slaven’s Roadhouse on its website.   The new stamp for Slaven’s Roadhouse supplements the existing stamp for Coal Creek.

The California National Historic Trail marks the route of an earlier gold rush, the one to California in 1849.   The new stamp for Salt Lake City, UT will be at the National Park Service’s Intermountain Region Trails Office in Salt Lake City, which administers many of the western trails.

The Ohio & Erie Canal towpath and an old lock, near the town of Peninsula in Cuyahoga Valley National Park
The Ohio & Erie Canal towpath and an old lock, near the town of Peninsula in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Photo from 2011.

Finally, for the Ohio & Erie Canalway, since I’ve been behind on these posts for a couple months, I’ve combined the new stamps for this Heritage Area from both July and September into this post.   The original Ohio & Erie Canal was naturally inspired by the success of the Erie Canal, and stretched some 308 miles across central Ohio to the town of Portsmouth, where the Scioto River meets the Ohio River.   Today, the Congressionally-designated National Heritage Area only includes the first 110 miles or-so of the Canal and surrounding areas in northeast Ohio, stretching from Cleveland, through Akron and Canton, to the town of New Philadelphia.  The National Park Service has a comprehensive listing of Ohio & Erie Canalway sites on its website.

The stamp for the Cleveland History Center in Cleveland’s University Circle neighborhood was added to the list in July.  Cleveland’s University Circle is named for the presence of Case Western Reserve University, which happens to be the Parkasaurus Blog’s alma maters.  University Circle includes almost all of Cleveland’s premier cultural institutions, including the Cleveland Museum of Art and Severance Hall, the home of the Cleveland Orchestra. The Cleveland History Center is the museum of the Western Reserve Historical Society, which tells the story of the settlement and development of Cleveland and northeast Ohio.  The name Western Reserve dates back to the days when the State of Connecticut actually laid claim to the lands that are now northeast Ohio, calling them its “Western Reserve.”

The Richard Howe House was formerly the home of the Ohio & Erie Canalway’s resident engineer.  Today, it has been restored for use as a Canalway Visitor Center and moved from its original location to a location adjacent to the towpath.

Canal Fulton is one of the many historic towns located along the towpath.   The Canalway Center located in town also includes canalboat rides on the replica vessel St. Helena III.   Another unique historic town along the Canalway is Historic Zoar Village, which was founded by German separatists seeking religious freedom.

The high point of the Ohio & Erie Canalway is located near Summit Lake in downtown Akron, OH.

Finally, the Hale Farm & Village is also operated by the Western Reserve Historical Society, and had a new stamp listed in September.  It is a living history farm, and is actually located within the larger boundaries of Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

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