Since writing my first post on all the coming changes to the National Park System, the bill formerly known as the Natural Resources Management Act has been given a new name! After being passed by the Senate, the House proposed (and the Senate accepted) changing the name of this bill to the John Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act. John Dingell, Jr. passed away earlier this year on February 7th. He is notable as the longest-serving member of the US House of Representatives ever, a 59 year tenure that included 14 years as the top ranking Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
By any other name, however, this bill contains a unique provision with the addition of the Quindaro Town Site in Kansas as third national commemorative site that will operate in partnership with the National Park Service. What is a national commemorative site, you may ask? Well, Congress has actually never answered that question definitively by defining the term national commemorative site in law. Indeed, until just one year ago, there was only a single national commemorative site in the nation. With the creation of the third national commemorative site, however, we can start to draw some conclusions.
A national commemorative site appears to be an honorary designation that recognizes the historical significance of a place, without elevating it to the status of a full-fledged unit of the National Park System. In particular, this means that there is no National Park Service management of a national commemorative site, and only minimal federal funding for a national commemorative site, although the National Park Service does become authorized to enter into cooperative agreements with local authorities to improve interpretation at these sites.
A good way to think about these national commemorative sites is to look at where they logically fit into the heirarchy of historic designations in the United States:
The National Register of Historic Places was established in 1966 and currently includes more than 90,000 listings, making it the broadest designation. Listing on the National R
A national historic landmark must meet a higher standard of national significance than a listing on the National Register of Historic Places. National historic landmarks have been designated since 1935, and there are currently more than 2,500 such landmarks. All national historic landmarks are automatically listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
National historic sites all must meet the criteria for being a National historic landmark, and most must also meet the National Park Service’s criteria for administration as a unit of the National Park System. Upon passage of the Dingell Act, there will be 76 national historic sites* in the National Park System, 54 national historic parks in the National Park System, another 9 National Historic States that are affiliated areas of the National Park System, and 1 national historic site operated by the National Forest Service.
The national commemorative site designation seems to fit right between national historic landmark and national historic site in terms of level of recognition and Federal involvement. It definitely provides a bit more recognition and Federal involvement than designation as a national historic landmark. However, the relative obscurity of the national commemorative site designation and the very minimal Federal involvement places it well below the designation of a national historic site.
The first national commemorative site was designated in 1998. The Charleston Public School Complex in Charleston, AR received this unique designation in recognition of the fact that it was the first school system in the South to fully desegregate following the historic Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision in 1954. Most notably, the process of desegregation at Charleston occurred entirely peacefully – which is surely as worthy of recognition as the places where violence occurred.
This designation remained one-of-a-kind for nearly 20 years until Congress revived it again by designating the Landmark for Peace Memorial in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana as the Kennedy-King National Commemorative Site in April 2018. The Memorial is close by the site where then-Presidential Candidate Robert F. Kennedy was informed that Martin Luther King Jr. had been assassinated earlier that day, and proceeded to deliver extemporaneous remarks on racial reconciliation – rather than his planned stump speech. That speech is credited with playing a role in Indianapolis not seeing any race riots that evening, unlike so many other US cities. Its interesting that once again, the national commemorative site was used almost for what didn’t happen, or at the very least, what happened peacefully.
Once the Dingell Act is signed into law, the Quindaro Townsite archeological site in Kansas City, Kansas will become the third national commemorative site. Quindaro was a town founded by abolitionists in 1856 at the height of the “Bleeding Kansas” years. They were seeking to ensure that Kansas would eventually be admitted to the Union as a “Free State” where slavery was prohibited. The town became a stop on the Underground Railroad, and also played an important role in Reconstruction by setting up schools and other educational opportunities for freed slaves. The location of the townsite was eventually lost to history before being rediscovered in the 1980’s. This national recognition is the latest in a series of attempts to draw attention to the story of Quindaro and the role that it played in both the Underground Railroad and in Reconstruction. This post by Kansas Travel blogger Keith Stokes has detailed information on how to visit the Quindaro Townsite.
* – For simplicity, I included two sites with slightly different designations in these totals: (1) St Croix International Historic Site, an early French settlement on the border of Maine and New Brunswick; and (2) Aleutian World War II National Historic Area, an affiliated area of the National Park System on the island of Amaknak in Alaska.
For the curious, Grey Towers National Historic Site in Pennsylvania is the former home of Gifford Pinchot, founder of the US Forest Service, and remains a US Forest Service site rather than a National Park Service site.
This article is Part II of a three-part series on all the changes occurring to the National Park System in early 2019. Click here to read Part I.
Calendar year 2018 ended on a low note for the National Park System in the midst of a partial Federal government shutdown. With the budget negotiations to keep the Federal government open consuming almost all of Congress’ attention in November, December, and January, that left a lot of unfinished business that Congress was unable to get to before their 115th Session ended in early January. Fortunately, the newly elected Congress began the 116th Session by immediately taking up many of the pending public lands provisions that had received Committee hearings and debates over the previous two years in the 115th Session and sent many of them to the President’s desk for signature. Here’s a recap of what you need to know:
I’ll begin with the news that Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is now Indiana Dunes National Park. On Friday February 15, the President signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2019. This is the law the prevented another government shutdown from beginning on February 16 by providing budget authority to the National Park Service (and all other Federal agencies that weren’t previously funded) through September 30, 2019. Normally, any law with the words “Appropriations Act” in the title is supposed to be limited to just providing funding – and is not supposed to be making other changes to permanent law. However, advocates for redesignating Indiana Dunes were so persistent that they managed to get their provision tucked into this must-pass legislation keeping the government open so as to ensure that it was enacted into law. Thus, congratulations to Indiana Dunes on being redesignated as the 61st “national park” of the United States (or alternatively, the 62nd depending if you count “Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts” as a “national park.”)
Most other proposed bills relating to the National Park System aren’t so lucky to be tucked into must-pass legislation. Instead, it has now become common practice that whenever a two-year session of Congress begins wrapping up, a giant “omnibus” piece of legislation is crafted to bring together a large number of public lands provisions that had been debated in Committee over the previous two years. The idea behind the “omnibus” is to include something for almost everyone in Congress, and thus ensure its passage. So it was little surprise when the “omnibus” public lands bill for the 115th Congress (2017-2018), the Natural Resources Management Act, passed the Senate earlier this week by a vote of 92-8. The House of Representatives is almost certain to pass this legislation sometime next week. Its possible that they may even pass it without amendment, which would send the legislation directly to President Trump for his signature to be enacted into law.
Presuming that happens, here is what you need to know about how the Natural Resources Management Act will impact the National Park System.
First up, the existing World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument is being broken up, creating a new addition to the National Park System. The “Valor” National Monument was always an odd creation from the moment that President George W. Bush created it in 2008 by combining the existing then-designated USS Arizona National Memorial with several other sites around Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, the site of the Tule Lake Internment Camp in California, and three World War II sites in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. The USS Arizona Memorial and the other sites around Pearl Harbor are redesignated as the Pearl Harbor National Memorial. The Tule Lake Unit of the Monument is redesignated as the Tule Lake National Monument, and this will effectively become the 419th Unit of the National Park System upon passage of the legislation (unless something very surprising happens between now and then). The Alaskan areas of the monument are redesignated as Aleutian Islands World War II National Monument, and they will continue to be managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and so will not be part of the National Park System.
Next, the bill authorizes the establishment of two new units of the National Park System:
Medgar and Myrlie Evers Home National Monument in Mississippi
Mill Springs Battlefield National Monument in Kentucky
Medgar and Myrlie Evers were famed civil rights activists, and this national monument will protect the home where they lived in Jackson, Mississippi from 1956 up until Medgar’s asssasination in 1963. Mill Springs Battlefield is located near the town of Nancy in south-central Kentucky. In January 1862, it was the site of the first significant Union victory during the Civil War.
Neither site will become the 420th unit of the National Park System just yet. Instead, both sites will become full-fledged national parks upon the acquisition of land for the sites by the National Park Service. In that sense, they join a pool of candidates that for that distinction that includes:
Ste. Genevieve National Historical Park – an early French settlement in Missouri that was first authorized last year (and whose authorized boundaries will be modified in this legislation in order to help move the process along);
the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial – first authorized in 1999, the memorial commission is currently hoping to complete construction on a site near the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC by May 8, 2020;
the Adams Memorial – first authorized in 2001 at the height of the popularity of David McCullough’s Pulitzer-Prize winning biography of family patriarch John Adams, the effort to memorialize the family has struggled with fundraising, but this legislation extends the authorization for the memorial until 2025 and establishes a Commission to try and jump-start these efforts;
Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home National Historic Site – first authorized in 2002, the National Park Service and the Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home Preservation Foundation were not able to agree on a selling price for the site in Dixon, Illinois, and so land acquisition won’t happen until that changes.
So, if you’re keeping track at home, it is likely that the 420th unit of the National Park System will be one of Mill Springs Battlefield National Monument, Medgar and Myrlie Evers Home National Monument, Ste. Genevieve National Historical Park, or Coltsville National Historical Park – but there is always the possibility that the President could declare a brand-new national monument under the Antiquities Act even before land acquisition for any one of those authorized (or soon-to-be authorized) parks happens.
The Natural Resources Management Act,once enacted will also make a large number of name changes to the National Park System:
Camp Nelson National Monument in central Kentucky, designated just a couple months ago to preserve a training ground for African-American Union soldiers during the Civil War gets renamed as Camp Nelson Heritage National Monument;
Golden Spike National Historic Site in northern Utah, where the first trans-continental railroad was completed on May 10, 1869 gets renamed Golden Spike National Historical Park, just in time for their 150th Anniversary;
Honouliuli National Monument, the Japanese prisoner of war camp that was also used for internement of Japanese-American civilians on Oahu, in Hawaii, gets renamed Honouliuli National Historic Site;
Ocmulgee National Monument, which preserves paleo-Indian archeological sites that are up to 17,000 years old, pre-Columbian American Indian mounds that are about 1,000 years old, and the historic culture of the Creek Nation in the city of Macon in central Georgia gets renamed as Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park;
Reconstruction Era National Monument in and around Beaufort, South Carolina, where the process of building a new life for recently-emancipated African-Americans began, gets renamed Reconstruction Era National Historical Park;
All of those name changes would take place immediately upon enactment.
With that, those are all the changes to the units of the National Park System in the proposed legislation as it passed the Senate. It remains possible that the House of Representatives may add a few changes of their own as they consider the legislation this week. In my next post, I will put together a summary of all the changes to the National Park System outside the those designated as official units.
This is Part I of a three-part series on changes to the National Park System in early 2019. Check out Part II and Part III.
Updated on February 18, 2019 to correct errors and clarify the order of which Parks will become the 419th and 420th Units of the National Park System.
California National Historic Trail | NHT Interpretive Center, WY
Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail | NHT Interpretive Center, WY
Oregon National Historic Trail | NHT Interpretive Center, WY
El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail | The Stone Fort Museum, TX
Old Spanish National Historic Trail | Canyons of the Ancients VC & Museum
Trail of Tears National Historic Trail |
New Echota-Cherokee Capital SHS, GA
Shiloh NMP, TN
All of this month’s stamps represent replacements for existing cancellation locations.
Redwood National Park in northern California is a mix of Federal and State Park land preserving groves of coastal redwoods, including the tallest trees in the world. The Kuchel Visitor Center is located outside the small town of Orick, California. It is the primary visitor center for accessing the southern portion of Redwood National Park, which includes the bulk of the federal lands. The southern portion of Redwood National Park also includes the popular Lady Bird Johnson Trail and the four-mile Tall Trees Trail (free permit required.) The Hiouichi Visitor Center is located in the northern portion of the Park, which is primarily composed of state park land. The Hiouichi Visitor Center is located just outside of Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park (Parkasaurus | September 2016). The northern portion of the park also includes Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, which does not have a visitor center of its own.
The National Historic Trails Interpretive Center opened in Casper, Wyoming in 2002. It tells the story of the four National Historic Trails that run concurrently through most of Wyoming from the Wyoming-Nebraska border to Fort Bridger in the southwestern corner of the state: the Oregon, California, Mormon Pioneer, and Pony Express National Historic Trails. I’ve not been able to determine why only three of the four trails covered at the Center received new stamps this month. The Center does have a cancellation for the Pony Express National Historic Trail, but its a generic stamp listing all states through which the trail passes, and is not place-specific like the others. Hopefully the National Trails Office will issue a place specific stamp for the Pony Express Trail at the Center in the months ahead.
The Stone Fort Museum can be found on the campus of Stephen F. Austin University. Originally built sometime around 1790 on the El Camino Real de los Tejas, the Spanish colonial house acquired its nickname after playing a minor role in the Texas Revolution. The name of the trail translates as “The Royal Road to the Texas”, and commemorates the major Spanish trading route from colonial Mexico through Texas to present-day northwest Louisiana on the Mississippi River. The current structure is actually a replica of the original, built in 1936 for Texas’ Centennial.
The Canyons of the Ancients National Monument was established in 2000 to protect 32 million acres of landscape in southwestern Colorado. Much of that area is rich in Ancestral Puebloan archeological sites. In fact, three sites in that area had previously been designated as outlying areas of Hovenweep National Monument. The area also includes the path of the Old Spanish Trail, which once connected Santa Fe and Los Angeles. The Bureau of Land Management has actually operated the “Anasazi Heritage Center” to tell the stories of these archeological resources since 1988. The Center then became the Visitor Center for the National Monument upon its establishment in 2000. However, the word Anasazi is actually a Navajo word meaning “ancient enemy.” Thus, the modern-day Puebloans who are descended from the Ancestral Puebloans, discourage the use of the word Anasazi. Thus, the new stamp this month reflects that in April, the Anasazi Heritage Center was renamed as the Canyons of the Ancients Visitor Center and Museum, in respect of the wishes of the modern-day Pueblo Indians.
Pittsburg Landing was an area of relatively flat land on either side of the Tennessee River in southern Tennessee, which made it an important crossing point. This crossing point was used by southeastern American Indians being forced westward on the Trail of Tears, and by the Union Army heading south during the Civil War. The Union Army crossed the Tennessee at Pittsburg Landing on their way to the Confederate railroad junction at Corinth, Mississippi. This led immediately to the battle we now know as Shiloh (or Shiloh Church) as Confederate forces sought unsuccessfully to halt the Union Advance. On the first day of battle, the Union Army was pushed back to the Tennessee River, where their defence was reinforced by shelling from two Union gunboats in the river. Nevertheless, after capturing supplies the Union camps during the day, the Confederate generals felt sure that victory would be imminent the next day. However, during the night Grant’s reinforcements arrived, and around 24,000 troops came across the river at Pittsburg Landing overnight, allowing the Union Army to turn the tide of the battle the next morning.
Interestingly, this battle seems to violate the usual rule-of-thumb that Civil War battles are known by the name used by the side holding the field at the end of the engagement. The name “Battle of Pittsburg Landing” was commonly used in the north (which typically used the name of water features), but the name “Battle of Shiloh” was commonly used in the north (which typically used the name of towns.) However, the name “Battle of Shiloh” is the one that stuck in this case. The new stamp replaces the name of the river crossing used in the Trail of Tears with the name of Shiloh National Military Park, where it is now located.
In 1825, the town of New Echota in northern Georgia was established as the capital of the Cherokee Nation. It served as the capital, including the Cherokee legislature, executive, and courts until the removal of the Cherokee on the Trail of Tears in 1832. It was during this time that the Cherokee Sequoyah developed the written Cherokee language, bringing literacy to the Cherokee people – something that was still uncommon even among the Americans of European descent in the area at that time. The site of the Cherokee capital was reconstructed by the State of Georgia in the 1950’s, and opened to the public as a Georgia State Park in 1962.
James A. Garfield National Historic Site | Underground RR Freedom Network
Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area | Circle X Ranch
California National Historic Trail | Echo Information Center, UT
Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail | Echo Information Center, UT
Pony Express National Historic Trail | Echo Information Center, UT
Highlighting this month’s stamps are a set of five new stamps for the U.S. Civil Rights Trail partnership program. The U.S. Civil Rights Trail, which was just launched in 2017, actually has nothing to do with the National Historic Trails that so frequently feature in these regular passport cancellation update blog posts. A National Historic Trail can only be designated by Congress, and must reflect a route whose significance arises from actually being used in history. The U.S. Civil Rights Trail, however, is instead a branding mechanism to encourage both Americans and international tourists to explore the historic legacy of the 20th Century struggle for African-American civil rights in this country.
This program actually originated in an effort by the Obama Administration to identify additional American sites for recognition as World Heritage Sites by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO.) Despite the vast natural, historic, and cultural heritage of the United States, this country currently only has 23 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. That total is tied for just 10th most in the world with Iran, and behind such countries as Italy (#1 with 54 sites), Spain (47 sites), and Mexico (34 sites.) The idea of the US Civil Rights Trail is to connect together all of the significant sites associated with the civil rights movement, that might ultimately become suitable for nomination to be recognized as a World Heritage Site. UNESCO encourages such “serial nominations” that include multiple related and thematically connected locations together as a single “site,” so the concept of the US Civil Rights Trail could well boost the United States’ chances of being so recognized.
Currently, the US Civil Rights Trail actually includes nearly 100 different places in 14 primary destination cities, as well as in dozens of secondary destination cities. Some of the 14 primary destination cities need little introduction to anyone with even a cursory knowledge of the history of the civil rights movement, including Atlanta, Birmingham, Memphis, and Washington. Others included in the 14 primary destination cities may be less familiar. Farmville, Virginia was the site of a school desegregation case that was ultimately rolled into the more famous Brown v. Board of Education case from Topeka, Kansas. Sumner, Mississippi is part of the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area and was the site of the infamous murder of Emmitt Till (January 2017 Parkasaurus). Greensboro, North Carolina was the site of the first sit-in at a Woolworth’s lunch counter.
This month’s batch of new cancellations for the US Civil Rights Trail covers the fully-operational National Park Service sites in the National Park Service’s Southeast Region. The Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park in Atlanta, Georgia preserves both the home where the famed civil rights activist grew up and the Church where he first began to preach, and also has a fantastic visitor center. In an innovative approach, the visitor center includes a number of kiosks where you can actually hear the words of Martin Luther King from records of his speeches, and you can wander in and out of them as you browse the exhibits.
Eventually, National Park Service sites that are included in the US Civil Rights Trail, but are located outside the Southeast Region may eventually also request cancellations for the US Civil Rights Trail. As of this writing, that list would include:
Brown v Board of Education National Historic Site in Topeka, Kansas;
Gateway Arch National Park in St. Louis, Missouri (site of the courthouse where the original trial that became the landmark Supreme Court case Dred Scott v Sanford was argued);
the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC (site of Marian Anderson’s famous concert after she was denied access to Constitution Hall, and of course, of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech (Parkasaurus | March 2015);
Among the other stamps this month is a new cancellation for the Alaska Public Lands Information Center in Anchorage, Alaska which provides information on all sorts of public lands in south-central Alaska. This location had already been a cancellation location for the Iditarod National Historic Trail and for Lake Clark National Park & Preserve. Now it gets a cancellation of its own.
The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area was established in 1978 in suburban Los Angeles as part of the movement to establish urban National Recreation Areas. Like many newer national parks, this area is largely run in partnerships with the state of California, local governments, universities, and private land holders. In fact, the National Park Service actually only controls just a bit more than 23,000 of this park’s nearly 157,000 acres, which is just 15% of the total land. The Circle X Ranch is among those federally-managed parcels of land. The Ranch was formerly a Boy Scout Camp, but now serves as the only National Park Service-managed campground within the park.
The Echo Canyon Information Center is a highway rest area accessible from westbound Interstate 80 in eastern Utah. It formerly had stamps for the California, Mormon Pioneer, and Pony Express National Historic Trails from 2011 until the center temporarily closed in 2016. Now that the center has reopened, it has a new set of Passport cancellations.
Finally, there are are six stamps that have been removed from the list this month.
El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail | El Camino Real Int’l Heritage Ctr, NM
Trail of Tears National Historic Trail | Junaluska Memorial & Museum, NC
California National Historic Trail | Salt Lake City, UT
Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail | Salt Lake City, UT
Oregon National Historic Trail | Salt Lake City, UT
Pony Express National Historic Trail | Salt Lake City, UT
The El Camino Real Heritage Center in central New Mexico and the Intermountain Region Trails Office are both temporarily closed for rennovations. The Memorial and Museum to Cherokee Chief Junaluska, who fought with Andrew Jackson at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, in Robbinsville, North Carolina was damaged several years ago during severe storms and has been closed indefinitely.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park | Sevierville Visitor Center
Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site |
Buckley & Brooke Office & Store
80th Anniversary 1958-2018
Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail |
Historic Winter Quarters, NE
Sixth Crossing, WY
Church History Museum, UT
Old Spanish National Historic Trail
Fishlake National Forest – Gooseberry, UT
Museum of Moab, UT
Oregon National Historic Trail | Three Island Crossing SP, ID
Santa Fe National Historic Trail | Cimarron Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center, NM
Trail of Tears National Historic Trail | History Museum on the Square, MO
The highlight of this month’s stamps are two new cancellations for the Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site, located about an hour’s drive to the west of Philadelphia. Hopewell Furnace is one of three national park system sites with a primary interpretive theme on the history of ironworking. The first is the Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site, located just northeast of Boston. The Saugus Iron Works were the first iron-making facility in the English Colonies, and operated in the mid-1600’s from 1646 to approximately 1670. The Hopewell Furnace was founded a full century later in 1771. It operated using charcoal for heat all the way until 1883 when coal-powered steel mills began to take over. The Tredegar Iron Works were founded in 1831, and are today preserved as the main visitor facility for Richmond National Battlefield Park in Richmond, Virginia. The Tredegar Iron Works were the largest in the Confederate States, and were a critical armory to the Confederate war effort. Like Hopewell, Tredegar faded from prominence with the introduction of steel in the late 19th Century, but did manage to stay in operation through both World Wars and into the mid-20th Century. The story of the transition to steel can be visited through the National Park Service’s Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area in western Pennsylvania.
The first new stamp for Hopewell Furnace of course commemorates the 80th anniversary of the park’s establishment. The second is for one of the historic buildings preserved in the park, the Buckley & Brooke Office and Store. In its heyday, Hopewell Furnace functioned as a self-contained company town in which the workers were paid by the company, and in turn bought much of what they needed from the company. The company town concept bears a lot of similarities to the Blue Heron coal mining community at Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area in southeastern Kentucky.
If you visit Hopewell Furnace today, you can of course tour the historic buildings, including the historic furnace that is the centerpiece of the park, as well as of course the historic company store and the historic ironmaster’s house. There are also farm buildings with livestock, which are always a hit with little kids, as well as reconstructed charcoal huts where the charcoal was made that powered the iron furnace. It is hard to believe today, with Hopewell Furnace largely surrounded by the well-forested French Creek State Park but in the heyday of the Furnace, this area would have been nearly clear cut to fuel the furnace’s continuous need for charcoal. An exception to that, however, would have been the iron-making community’s fruit orchards – and a visit to Hopewell Furnace in the late summer and early fall can provide the unique opportunity to go apple-picking in a national park, including many heirloom varieties.
The new stamp for Acadia National Park appears to be an update to the existing stamp for Isle au Haut. Isle au Haut is a small outlying island, which is only accessible by ferry from the coastal town of Stonington. Around half of the island is set aside as an outlying unit of Acadia National Park. Duck Harbor is about four miles from the town of Isle au Haut and is the location of the National Park Service campground and the National Park Service trailheads for the island.
The town of Sevierville in Tennessee is one of many gateway communities to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The towns of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are located just outside the park’s main visitor center, and are notorious for their crushing traffic congestion. Sevierville is located at the junction of US Route 441 and Tennessee Route 66, and is a convenient place for the National Park Service to provide information to incoming travelers heading towards the Great Smoky Mountains just before they would reach Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg,
Notable also this month are stamps for three very significant locations on the Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail. The Mormon Trail Center at Historic Winter Quarters in Omaha, Nebraska commemorates the settlement where the original group of Mormon Pioneers spent the winter of 1846-1847 after being expelled from Nauvoo, Illinois. (See Parkasaurus for June 2017.) The new Sixth Crossing Visitors Center in Lander, Wyoming marks the difficult crossing of the Sweetwater River by a later group of Mormon Pioneers in October 1856. Hit by an early season snowstorm, this group of settlers ultimately had to be rescued at this spot by supplies of food and clothing sent from Salt Lake City. Finally, the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City, Utah comprehensively tells the story of the Church of Latter-Day Saints.
The Old Spanish National Historic Trail had just added stamps in Moab, Utah and for the Fish Lake National Forest in April 2018. This first of this month’s stamps appear to be headed for the US Forest Service Offices for Fish Lake National Forest, in addition to the previous stamp for Fish Lake Resorts. The second stamp is headed to the the Museum of Moab, Utah – the gateway community for Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. The town of Moab now has four different cancellation locations for the Old Spanish National Historic Trail, as this cancellation joins existing ones at Arches National Park, the Bureau of Land Management Moab Field Office, and the town of Moab Information Center. Unfortunately, and strangely, the Museum of Moab is closed until September 2019. Go figure.
The new stamp for the Cimarron Chamber of Commerce replaces an existing stamp reading “Cimarron, NM” for the Santa Fe National Historic Trail, which passed through the area. Many readers may be familiar with the town of Cimarron, New Mexico as also being the gateway to the famed Philmont Scout Ranch, operated by the Boy Scouts of America.
Prince William Forest Park | Washington-Rochambeau NHT
Crossroads of the Revolution National Heritage Area |
Abraham Staats House c. 1740 SBB, NJ
Battle of Bound Brook Reenactment
Ilinois & Michigan Canal National Heritage Area |
Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area |
Elvis Presley Birthplace & Museum
Historic DeSoto County Courthouse
Historic Lafayette County Courthouse
Ida B. Wells Barnett Museum
L.Q.C. Lamar House Museum
Tennessee Williams Home
Tupelo Hardware Store
Union County Heritage Museum
University of Mississippi Lyceum
William Faulkner’s Rowan Oak
(Stephen D.) Lee Home Museum
Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area |
African American Museum of Iowa
Calkins Nature Area
Center Grove Orchard
Hardin County Farm Museum
Hurstville Interpretive Center
Ice House Museum
Jasper County Historical Museum
Maier Rural Heritage Center
Mathias Ham House
National Farm Toy Museum
U of I Natural History Museum
Headlining this month’s new stamps is a new stamp for the recently-designated Gateway Arch National Park. The famous St. Louis Arch had previous been in the National Park System under the name of the “Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. ” St. Louis is located at the confluence of the Missouri River with the Mississippi River, and so served as the “gateway to the west” from the time of Thomas Jefferson’s Louisiana Purchase onward, including to the completion of the arch in 1967. The name “Jefferson National Expansion Memorial” was always one of the most-awkward names in the National Park System, and referenced the role of Thomas Jefferson in arranging for the Louisiana Purchase that brought much of the lands west of the Mississippi River into the United States. Few people probably ever heard that name, outside of National Park junkies and those with a real attention to detail. The new name of Gateway Arch National Park will certainly roll of the tongue much more easily, and will no doubt increase the visibility of the site itself, as well as increase the visibility of the fact that it is part of the National Park System.
Some purists have objected that the title of “national park” aught to be reserved for natural landscapes managed by the National Park Service. However, this name is such a clear improvement over the old name, I find it hard to support that objection. Many years ago, when I embarked on my first cross-country road trip to report for an assignment with the National Park Service in Colorado, the one detour that I made time for on my trip was a stop at the Gateway Arch. It is truly one of the most recognizable landmarks in all of the National Park System, so why not go ahead and call it Gateway Arch National Park? In fact, I’d even argue for using it as a precedent for increasing the visibility of another iconic landmark in the National Park System. How about combining Statue of Liberty National Monument and Castle Clinton National Monument into a new Liberty National Park? The Statue of Liberty National Monument includes not just the iconic statute on Liberty Island, but also the Ellis Island Immigration Museum. Castle Clinton is an early 19th-century fortification located in Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan. It was used as an immigration processing facility in the decades before Ellis Island opens, and nowadays serves as one of the main ferry departure points for visitors to Liberty Island and Ellis Island. Its a radical proposal, but for Parkasaurus, Liberty National Park certainly has a nice ring to it. So here’s a hearty welcome to Gateway Arch National Park to the list of national parks, and here’s hoping that it even inspires more.
Fort Pulaski National Monument is located near Savannah, Georgia and was the site of major bombardment in the Civil War. The successful seige of the Fort heralded the end of the era of masonry coastal fortifications, which were now obsolete against rifled artillery. The two cancellations this month are updates to existing cancellations reflecting Fort Pulaski’s participation in the Underground Railroad: Network to Freedom Partnership Program and in the Gullah-Geechee National Heritage Area. Once Fort Pulaski was captured by Union forces in April 1862, they emancipated the slaves there, and the area became a magnet for slaves escaping from the surrounding areas and seeking freedom. The Park also interprets the history of the free people of African ancestry who developed the unique Gullah culture in the coastal lowlands of Georgia and South Carolina.
Prince William Forest Park is located just outside the famed Quantico Marine Corps Base along Interstate 95 in Virginia. The new cancellation commemorates the route taken by George Washington and French General Jean-Baptiste Rochambeau on their way from New England to the final battle at Yorktown in 1781 during the closing days of the Revolutionary War.
The new stamps for the Crossroads of the Revolution National Heritage Area supplement the additions for Union County that were featured in October 2017. The Abraham Staats House is a historic home dating to circa 1740 in South Bound Brook, New Jersey. The Battle of Bound Brook was a Revolutionary War engagement that occurred in 1777. The reenactment occurs in April each year.
For the Illinois and Michigan Canal National Heritage Area the two new stamps this month, are actually reissues of earlier cancellations. The stamp for Chicago, Illinois was previously at the Chicago Historical Society Museum, but they ended their participation in the Passport Program back in 2006. The new stamp reading “Chicago, IL” will be located at the McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum. The old stamp for Lockport, Illinois was located in the historic Gaylord Building. but which now has a stamp reading “Gaylord Building.” The new Lockport, Illinois stamp is located at the Will County Historical Museum.
The Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area in northeast Mississippi has doubled its total number of cancellations this month from 12 to 24. The headliners are the Elvis Presley Birthplace Museum in the city of Tupelo and the Tennessee Williams Home in the city of Columbus. “The King” of rock’n’roll needs no introduction. Tennessee Williams is the famed playwright who wrote A Streetcar Named Desire, Orpheus Descending, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.His home is now a visitor welcome center in Columbus, and this stamp likely replaces an existing stamp simply reading “Columbus, MS.” Back in Tupelo there is also the Tupelo Hardware Store, where Gladys Presley famously bought her son, Elvis, his first guitar. Additionally, also located in Columbus is the home of former Civil War General Stephen D. Lee, which now houses a museum of Civil War artifacts that is primarily open by appointment, with limited regular hours.
The University of Mississippi is located in Oxford, Mississippi. The Lyceum is the oldest building remaining on campus and remains the primary administration building; it is named for the garden in Athens where Aristotle taught philosophy. Rowan Oak is located adjacent to the University of Mississippi campus, and was the home of William Faulkner for 40 years. In addition to winning two Pulitzer Prizes, Faulker is one of just 16 Americans to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. He is also, I believe, only the second of those 16 Americans to be associated with a site with a Passport cancellation, the other being the Eugene O’Neill National Historic Site in the East Bay Area of California, which is a full-fledged unit of the National Park System.
The L.Q.C. Lamar House is also located in Oxford. Lamar was a Congressman from Mississippi both before the Civil War and then again after Reconstruction ended in 1873. He actually drafted Mississippi’s secession documents, and then went on to become an Ambassador for the Confederate States of America. After his return to Congress, went on to become a Senator, a Secretary of the Interior under President Grover Cleveland, and then a Supreme Court Justice (nominated by Cleveland.) The town of Oxford also includes the Historic Lafayette County Courthouse.
Ida B. Wells is perhaps somewhat less famous that the above cultural figures, but no less remarkable. Born in Mississippi in the middle of the Civil War, she would lose both her parents to disease at the age of 16. Nevertheless, she went on to become a journalist as an African-American woman, with a particular focus on documenting lynchings in the South. She was also a civil rights activist. Some 70 years before Rosa Parks, she refused to give up her seat in a segregated train car, only to be forcibly removed. The year before, the U.S. Supreme Court had overturned the 1875 Civil Rights Act banning discrimination in public accommodations as unconstitutional. That decision that would take nearly 80 years to fully overturn, with passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1864. The Ida B. Wells-Barnett Museum is open by appointment only in her hometown of Holly Springs, Mississippi. Rust College is also located in Holly Springs, and is the historically black college where Ms. Wells earned her bachelor’s degree.
Finally, the new additions this month also include the Union County Heritage Museum in the town of New Albany. The Historic DeSoto County Courthouse in Hernando includes a number of murals depicting the explorations of Hernando DeSoto. The famed explorer Hernando De Soto arrived near present-day Bradenton, Florida in 1539 where there is a National Memorial as a full-fledged Unit of the National Park System dedicated to him. DeSoto explored all the way to the Mississippi River before he died in either present-day Louisiana or Arkansas in 1542. This stamp joins a previous stamp for the Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area simply reading “DeSoto County,” as well as a stamp in the same location for the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area – a relatively rare example of two National Heritage Areas overlapping with each other.
The Calkins Nature Area is a county nature preserve located about an hour west of the city of Waterloo. Close by the Calkins Nature Area is the Hardin County Farm Museum, whose website delightfully describes its location as “1 mile north of the stoplight in Eldora.” The stamp for the Hartman Reserve is a replacement for an existing stamp at a Nature Center just outside Waterloo in Cedar Falls. The Ice House Museum is also located in Cedar Falls, and tells the story of ice harvesting from the Cedar River. Downtown Waterloo has a stamp for the Grout Museum District, which includes two historic homes, a science center, a natural history museum, and a museum dedicated to the Sullivan Brothers. The Sullivan Brothers died while serving together in World War II, sparking a policy change that led to the events portrayed in the movie Saving Private Ryan. The new stamp reading Waterloo, IA is expected to be kept at the Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area Headquarters in downtown Waterloo.
East of Waterloo can be found the Wapsipinicon Mill in the town of Independence, Iowa. The mill is run by the Buchanan County Historical Society and is an impressive six story structure.
Center Grove Orchard is a family fun farm in Cambridge, Iowa, about a half hour’s drive north of the State Capital in Des Moines. This stamp joins an existing one for Living History Farms in Urbandale, Iowa just outside of Des Moines to the west. Living History Farms includes the re-created frontier town of Walnut Hill, and three re-created frontier farms from 1700 (American Indian), 1850 (Pioneer Era), and 1900 (Horse-Powered.) The Museum of the Jasper County Historical Society is located about a half hour’s drive east of Des Moines in Newton, Iowa. In Des Moines itself is the existing stamp for the Iowa State History Museum.
The Hurstville Interpretive Center is the Nature Center for Jackson County, about mid-way between Dubuque and Davenport in the eastern end of the state. The House of Mathias Ham is a historic 19th century mansion on the north side of Dubuque. In downtown Dubuque is an existing stamp for the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium. On the south side of Dubuque is an existing stamp for the Mines of Spain State Recreation Area. This natural area is notable for its monument to Julien Dubuque, who settled this area in the late 1700’s under the authority of the Spanish Governor in New Orleans, back when the Mississippi River Basin was a Spanish colony.
The Maier Rural Heritage Center is a museum to rural farm life in the town of Elkader in northern Iowa. Also in Elkader is the Motor Mill, a 19th century flour mill that is now a historic site. There are four other existing cancellations across norther Iowa, including the Gilbertson Park Nature Center in Elgin, Iowa. The Fossil and Prairie Center in remote Rockford, Iowa allows amateur fossil hunting among their collection of 365 million year old marine fossils from the Devonian Period. The Iowa Dairy Center is an educational dairy farm operated by Northeast Iowa Community College in the town of Calmar, Iowa. Finally, the Vesterhein Norwegian-American Museum can be found in the town of Decorah, Iowa.
West of Dubuque is the town of Dyersville, where you can find the National Farm Toy Museum. Dyersville is also, of course, famously the home of the Field of Dreams movie site, from the famous Kevin Costner movie. Alas, the Field of Dreams movie site is not yet an official Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area partner, so there’s no passport cancellation there – but Parkasaurus certainly thinks that we almost need to find a way to make that happen!
The Sawmill Museum is located a bit more than hour’s drive south of Dubuque, along the Mississippi River in Clinton, Iowa. This museum tells the story of Iowa’s timber industry – an industry we don’t often associate with Iowa in the present day. South of Clinton is an existing stamp for The Putnam Museum of science and history in Davenport, Iowa. Just west of Davenport in Iowa City is the University of Iowa Natural History Museum. Between Iowa City and Cedar Rapids is the existing stamp for the Amana Heritage Museum, in the town of Amana, Iowa. The Amana were a Protestant Religious Sect founded in Europe, but which came to America in the 19th Century seeking religious freedom.
Finally, there was one stamp removed from the list this month.
Andrew Johnson National Historic Site | Tailor Shop
The Andrew Johnson National Historic Site in eastern Tennessee preserves Andrew Johnson’s tailor shop inside the visitor center itself. There was really no need for it to have a separate cancellation, when it was located inside the visitor center itself, and so the National Park Service has apparently decided to discontinue it.
Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site – Kiowa County, CO
Women’s Rights National Historical Park –
Bedford Falls, NY
Elizabeth Cady Stanton House
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 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 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.
Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area | Charleston, IL
Oil Region National Heritage Area |
Oil City, PA
Drake Well Museum
Pumping Jack 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
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.
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.
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 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.
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 |
Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail | National Frontier Trails Museum, MO
Schuykill River Valley National Heritage Area |
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 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.
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.
Wrangell St. Elias National Park & Preserve | Hubbard Glacier – Yakutat
National Center for Preservation Technology and Training | Natchitoches, LA
Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail |
Canyon Ferry Reservoir, MT
Fort Benton, MT
Yellowstone Gateway Museum, MT
Mississippi Gulf Coast National Heritage Area | Intermodal Tourist Center
MotorCities National Heritage Area |
Automotive Hall of Fame
Detroit Historical Museum
Detroit Institute of Arts
Durant – Dort Carriage Company
Edsel & Eleanor Ford House
Gilmore Car Museum
GM – Renaissance Center
Historic Fort Wayne
Meadow Brook Hall
Michigan Historical Center
Michigan Military Tech. & Hist. Soc.
Old Mill Museum
Plymouth Historical Museum
R. E. Olds Transportation Museum
Roush Automotive Collection
Sloan Auto Museum
Stahls Automotive Foundation
Walker Tavern Historic Site
Yankee Air Museum
Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum
Wrangell St. Elias National Park & Preserve is the largest unit in the National Park System, encompassing 13.2 million acres around Alaska’s “southeastern hinge” between the panhandle and the main part of the state. The new stamp this month combines two previously separate stamps, one for the Hubbard Glacier and the other for the Yakutat Ranger Station. The Hubbard Glacier is at the extreme southeastern end of this park, at the point where Alaska itself is the narrowest, and the Alaska Panhandle is squeezed between the Pacific Ocean, the Canadian Yukon Territory and Province of British Columbia. The Hubbard Glacier area is only accessible by boat or by plane, and has been described to me by one National Park Ranger who has worked in the area as “one of the most-spectacular sights in all of the National Park System.” The town of Yakutat is actually located a dozen miles away from the park itself, across Yakutat Bay in the Tongass National Forest, and more than 25 miles away from the Hubbard Glacier itself, but is the only community of any size in the area. Rangers based in Yakutat are responsible for managing the visitors who approach the Hubbard Glacier area by boat, cruise ship, or seaplane.
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area preserves an extensive portion of the Colorado River, including several of its tributaries, in southern Utah and northern Arizona. In particular, it includes the Colorado River from the moment that it flows west out of Canyonlands National Park into the eponymous Glen Canyon, and then as the rivers widen into the famous Lake Powell, formed by the Glen Canyon Dam in the city of Page in northern Arizona. The park then also includes the Colorado River’s path through Marble Canyon south of the Glen Canyon Dam to the western tip of Grand Canyon National Park. The two stamps this month are replacements for existing stamps. One is for the Park’s main visitor center, the Navajo Bridge Interpretive Center, in the Arizona town of Marble Canyon. The Navajo Bridge is one of just two bridges (and one car ferry) across more than 250 miles of the Colorado River from the Hoover Dam all the way upstream to the remote town of Hite in central Utah. This spectacular bridge is both an important transportation corridor in this part of the country, as well as an architectural landmark itself.
The National Center for Preservation Technology and Training is a research institute that was founded in 1994 on the campus of Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. The National Park Service facility has the mission of advancing the state of the art in the preservation of historic resources of all types. Its not clear how much of this facility really caters to visitors, but this stamp does advance the growing trend towards even National Park Service management offices having a Passport cancellation. One aspect of the National Park Service that many people don’t think about is the huge collection of historic artifacts in the various National Park Service museum collections from Civil War battlefields, to southwest American Indian pueblos, to pioneer forts and ancient fossil beds. This center brings in National Park Service employees from across the country to help meet that preservation challenge.
The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail now has 37 active cancellations with the addition of these three new cancellations from the state of Montana. The town of Fort Benton, in the central part of the state, contains the interpretive center for the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument, which is managed by the Bureau of Land Management. That monument preserves spectacular cliffs and rock formations, as well as one of the last wild stretches of the Missouri River that remains much as Lewis & Clark would have experienced it. The Canyon Ferry Reservoir is located much further upstream, near the state capital of Helena. Suffice to say, the Canyon Ferry dam has not left the Missouri River much as Lewis & Clark would have experienced it, as has happened to so many stretches of the Missouri River. However, the dams are import sources of electrical power and flood control, and also provide natural points for providing historical interpretation. Finally, the Yellowstone Gateway Museum is located in Livingston, MT, just east of Bozeman, MT on the Yellowstone River. The Yellowstone River Valley was explored by William Clark on the return trip home from the Pacific Ocean.
Finally, this month it is the turn of the Motor Cities National Heritage Area to expand. This heritage area includes portions of 16 counties in southeast and central Michigan, and the partner association for his heritage area focuses on programs and activities telling the history of the automobile industry in the area. Up to this point, the heritage area had 18 active cancellations, and the new additions this month bring it to 27 active active cancellations. Since this is a reboot of the passport program for the Heritage Area, I’ll give a brief overview of all the active cancellations.
Eastern Michigan is the home of America’s iconic automobile brands, and a number of automobile museums, 10 of which have cancellations now. The GM – Renaissance Center is located in the world headquarters of General Motors in downtown Detroit. The Sloan Auto Museum in Flint, Michigan is devoted to the history of the Buick brand, and is now part of a larger science center. Also in Flint is the museum of the Durant-Dort Carriage Company‘s offices, which is believed to have been the largest manufacturer of horse-drawn carriages in the age before the automobile. The R. E. Olds Transportation Museum in the state capital of Lansing, Michigan is dedicated to the history of the Oldsmobile brand. The Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum in the town of the same name has a collection ranging across a number of current and former automotive brands, including a Hudson Hornet race car – a car made famous in the Disney-Pixar “Cars” series of movies. Also in Ypsilanti is the Michigan Firehouse Museum, with collections spanning the history of fire fighting equipment, including the history of fire fighting vehicles. The Roush Automotive Collection in Livonia is dedicated to the history of the company, and includes a large number of race cars. The Gilmore Car Museum in the town of Hickory Corners has a collection of more than 200 vehicles, along with other attractions. The Stahls Automotive Foundation has more than 80 vehicles in Chesterfield, Michigan. Finally, the Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn has honored more than 800 significant figures in the automotive industry from around the world.
Dearborn is also the home of the most-famous automotive industrialist of all time, Henry Ford. There are seven cancellations dedicated to his legacy. Several of the MotorCities NHA passport locations are dedicated to him, his family, and his works. The Nankin Mills in Westland, Michigan and the Old Mill Museum in Dundee, Michigan both preserve early 19th-century grist mills that were once owned by Henry Ford. The Ford Piquette Avenue Plant is where Henry Ford produced the first Model T. Edsel Ford was Henry Ford’s only child, and the home he shared with his wife Eleanor in Grosse Pointe Shores is now open for visitation. The Yankee Air Museum at Willow Run Airport in Belleville, Michigan is where Henry Ford directed the construction the B-24 Liberator Bombers during World War II. Today it has a number of display aircraft, and also offers rides in historic aircraft. The Henry Ford National Historic Landmark in Dearborn, Michigan is one of the largest museums in the country, devoted to the history of the industrial revolution in the United States, along with other aspects of modern American history. Greenfield Village is a living history museum attached to The Henry Ford with an extensive collection of historic buildings. Among those historic buildings, is the home of the Wright Brothers, which was moved here by Henry Ford from Dayton, Ohio, long before the site eventually became part of Dayton Aviation National Historical Park.