Tag Archives: Arches

June 2018 – Hopewell Furnace Expands & More!

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

Acadia National Park | Duck Harbor

Great Smoky Mountains National Park | Sevierville Visitor Center

Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site |

  • Buckley & Brooke Office & Store
  • 80th Anniversary 1958-2018

Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail |

  • Historic Winter Quarters, NE
  • Sixth Crossing, WY
  • Church History Museum, UT

Old Spanish National Historic Trail

  • Fishlake National Forest – Gooseberry, UT
  • Museum of Moab, UT

Oregon National Historic Trail | Three Island Crossing SP, ID

Santa Fe National Historic Trail | Cimarron Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center, NM

Trail of Tears National Historic Trail | History Museum on the Square, MO

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

The highlight of this month’s stamps are two new cancellations for the Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site, located about an hour’s drive to the west of Philadelphia.  Hopewell Furnace is one of three national park system sites with a primary interpretive theme on the history of ironworking.   The first is the Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site, located just northeast of Boston.  The Saugus Iron Works were the first iron-making facility in the English Colonies, and operated in the mid-1600’s from 1646 to approximately 1670.  The Hopewell Furnace was founded a full century later in 1771.  It operated using charcoal for heat all the way until 1883 when coal-powered steel mills began to take over.  The Tredegar Iron Works were founded in 1831, and are today preserved as the main visitor facility for Richmond National Battlefield Park in Richmond, Virginia. The Tredegar Iron Works were the largest in the Confederate States, and were a critical armory to the Confederate war effort. Like Hopewell, Tredegar faded from prominence with the introduction of steel in the late 19th Century, but did manage to stay in operation through both World Wars and into the mid-20th Century.  The story of the transition to steel can be visited through the National Park Service’s Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area in western Pennsylvania.

The first new stamp for Hopewell Furnace of course commemorates the 80th anniversary of the park’s establishment.  The second is for one of the historic buildings preserved in the park, the Buckley & Brooke Office and Store.  In its heyday, Hopewell Furnace functioned as a self-contained company town in which the workers were paid by the company, and in turn bought much of what they needed from the company.  The company town concept bears a lot of similarities to the Blue Heron coal mining community at Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area in southeastern Kentucky.

If you visit Hopewell Furnace today, you can of course tour the historic buildings, including the historic furnace that is the centerpiece of the park, as well as of course the historic company store and the historic ironmaster’s house.  There are also farm buildings with livestock, which are always a hit with little kids, as well as reconstructed charcoal huts where the charcoal was made that powered the iron furnace.  It is hard to believe today, with Hopewell Furnace largely surrounded by the well-forested French Creek State Park but in the heyday of the Furnace, this area would have been nearly clear cut to fuel the furnace’s continuous need for charcoal.  An exception to that, however, would have been the iron-making community’s fruit orchards – and a visit to Hopewell Furnace in the late summer and early fall can provide the unique opportunity to go apple-picking in a national park, including many heirloom varieties.

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

The new stamp for Acadia National Park appears to be an update to the existing stamp for Isle au Haut.  Isle au Haut is a small outlying island, which is only accessible by ferry from the coastal town of Stonington.  Around half of the island is set aside as an outlying unit of Acadia National Park.  Duck Harbor is about four miles from the town of Isle au Haut and is the location of the National Park Service campground and the National Park Service trailheads for the island.

The town of Sevierville in Tennessee is one of many gateway communities to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  The towns of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are located just outside the park’s main visitor center, and are notorious for their crushing traffic congestion.  Sevierville is located at the junction of US Route 441 and Tennessee Route 66, and is a convenient place for the National Park Service to provide information to incoming travelers heading towards the Great Smoky Mountains just before they would reach Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg,

Notable also this month are stamps for three very significant locations on the Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail.  The Mormon Trail Center at Historic Winter Quarters in Omaha, Nebraska commemorates the settlement where the original group of Mormon Pioneers spent the winter of 1846-1847 after being expelled from Nauvoo, Illinois. (See Parkasaurus for June 2017.)  The new Sixth Crossing Visitors Center in Lander, Wyoming marks the difficult crossing of the Sweetwater River by  a later group of Mormon Pioneers in October 1856.  Hit by an early season snowstorm, this group of settlers ultimately had to be rescued  at this spot by supplies of food and clothing sent from Salt Lake City.  Finally, the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City, Utah comprehensively tells the story of the Church of Latter-Day Saints.

The Old Spanish National Historic Trail had just added stamps in Moab, Utah and for the Fish Lake National Forest in April 2018.  This first of this month’s stamps appear to be headed for the US Forest Service Offices for Fish Lake National Forest, in addition to the previous stamp for Fish Lake Resorts.  The second stamp is headed to the the Museum of Moab, Utah – the gateway community for Arches and Canyonlands National Parks.  The town of Moab now has four different cancellation locations for the Old Spanish National Historic Trail, as this cancellation joins existing ones at Arches National Park, the Bureau of Land Management Moab Field Office, and the town of Moab Information Center.  Unfortunately, and strangely, the Museum of Moab is closed until September 2019.  Go figure.

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

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

The new stamp for the Cimarron Chamber of Commerce replaces an existing stamp reading “Cimarron, NM” for the Santa Fe National Historic Trail, which passed through the area.  Many readers may be familiar with the town of Cimarron, New Mexico as also being the gateway to the famed Philmont Scout Ranch, operated by the Boy Scouts of America.

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

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

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

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

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

Final Shot: The town square in Cimarron, New Mexico. Photo from 2015.
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April 2018 – Alexander Majors & More

The Alexander Majors House on the southside of Kansas City highlight’s this month’s cancellations. Photo Credit: JERRYE & ROY KLOTZ MD [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons
Statue of Liberty National Monument | Ellis Island Immigration Station

California National Historic Trail | Alexander Majors House, MO

Oregon National Historic Trail | Alexander Majors House, MO

Pony Express National Historic Trail | Alexander Majors House, MO

Old Spanish National Historic Trail |

  • Moab Field Office, UT
  • Fish Lake Lodge, UT
Portrait of Alexander Majors and the Alexander Majors House. Photo from 2016.

The highlight of this month’s listings are three new stamps for the Alexander Majors House, just south of Kansas City.  This site previously had a stamp for the Santa Fe National Historic Trail, and now adds stamps for three others.  The Oregon and  California National Historic Trails all follow the same route as the Santa Fe Trail from the city of Independence just east of Kansas City, around the southern end of the city, and into the Great Plains. The city of Independence owes its origins to being the westernmost point on the Missouri River accessible by steamships. The nearby city of Kansas City would later overtake it, first due to its position at the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri Rivers, and later due to the locating of a major railroad bridge across the Missouri River at Kansas City.  The stories of Independence and Kansas City remind a bit of the stories of St. Paul and Minneapolis in Minnesota.  St. Paul is the northernmost navigable point on the Mississippi River, and so was a major shipping center.  Minneapolis, however, is located on St. Anthony Falls, which powered the milling industry.

The addition of the Pony Express National Historic Trail cancellation is a bit more interesting than the first two trails, as the Pony Express trail begins more than 60 miles to the north in the city of St. Joseph, Missouri. The explanation for this stamp being located an hour’s drive away from the trail that it commemorates is explained by Alexander Majors himself – as he was one of three Kansas City businessmen who founded the Pony Express.  Majors made his initial fortune hauling freight on the Santa Fe Trail and proposed the Pony Express to more than halve the then-25 day time for mail deliveries to California by conestoga wagon along the southerly Butterfield Overland Mail Route.  The Pony Express would follow a new northerly route through Salt Lake City to Sacramento and San Francisco, and of course, make innovative use of relay teams of ponies.  Unfortunately for Majors, within just a couple years, the development telegraph and the railroad spelled the doom not only of the Pony Express, but of Majors’ Santa Fe Trail operations as well.  Majors ultimately died penniless – but not before helping launch the career of Buffalo Bill Cody, an assistant on his Santa Fe Trail operations who went on to become one of his most famous Pony Express riders

Alexander Majors’ House is now preserved as a historic site on the southern side of Kansas City and is run by a non-profit foundation that also operates the John Wornall House from the same era.

An outdoor sculpture of the Santa Fe Trail, located very near the Alexander Majors House in Kansas City. Photo from 2016.

The first of the two new stamps for the Old Spanish National Historic Trail is for the Bureau of Land Management Field Office in the town of Moab, Utah, which is the gateway to both Arches and Canyonlands National Park.  The other is for the Fish Lake Resorts located in the namesake National Forest near the town of Richfield in central Utah.

Finally, the Statue of Liberty National Monument has updated its cancellation for the historic Ellis Island Immigration Station.  The majestic statue itself is, of course, the symbol of America’s welcome to overseas immigrants.  The old Ellis Island Immigration Station is also part of this national park, and now hosts the fantastic Ellis Island Immigration Museum, which tells the story of all US immigrant people, but primarily those who arrived through the Ellis Island Immigration Station in the early 20th Century.

Final Shot: The Statue of Liberty, namesake of Statue of LIberty National Monument, which includes Ellis Island.

 

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30 for 300 – Part I

I’m going to take a brief break from my usual postings on this blog to engage in a little self-indulgence.   Careful readers may have noticed in my recent Trip Report that my trip to Petersburg National Battlefield marked my milestone 300th national park visited.  To mark this occasion, I’ve decided to put together a brief retrospective on 30 of my favorite moments from the visits to my first 300 national parks.   These are not necessarily my 30 favorite national parks, but rather they are 30 of my favorite moments from visiting national parks – in fact, some national parks that have had more than one special moment in my travels to them may even appear more than once.   For simplicity, I’ve limited the choices here to parks that I visited after 1998, when I first discovered the Passport Program and first started to conceive of the possibility of visiting all the national parks, and all the way up to my trip to Petersburg just a couple months ago.    To make this more readable, I’ll break this up into three posts of 10 favorite memories each.  So without further ado, here are #’s 21-30 of my “30 for 300” in the national parks.

#30) Yosemite National Park in the Snow – March 2006
I figured that I should start this off this series with a  national park that would rank as many people’s favorite.   Back in 2006, I met up with a friend of mine from college who was living in the San Francisco Bay Area at the time, and we headed out to Yosemite National Park for the weekend.  After our first night in the Curry Village, we woke up to find that our spring day in Yosemite had been turned into a Winter Wonderland.   The snow cover made the iconic Yosemite Falls especially spectacular.

Yosemite Falls in the snow made this national park visit especially memorable.
Yosemite Falls in the snow made this national park visit especially memorable.

#29) Discovering George Rogers Clark National Historical Park – May 2003
When you set out to visit all of the national parks in the United States, one of the many rewards is the discovery of the unexpected places that you never even knew existed before the journey began.   Perhaps no place symbolizes that “discovery of the unexpected” for me more than George Rogers Clark National Historical Park in tiny Vincennes, Indiana.  Most Americans have never heard of George Rogers Clark, although most have probably heard of his “little brother,” William Clark, of the famous Lewis & Clark expedition.

During the heart of the American Revolutionary War, however, it was older brother George who would stake first claim to the history books.   In the dead winter of mid-February 1779, George Rogers Clark would lead 170 volunteers out of Fort Kaskasia in Illinois on a daring sneak attack.  Together they would march across 180 miles of flooded prairie, sometimes wading through icy water that rose to their shoulders, to surprise the British garrison at present-day Vincennes.  Their arrival caught the British completely by surprise – understandably given the extraordinary conditions – and he was able to force their surrender.  This victory helped cement American control of the whole territory from Ohio to Illinois.  This control would then be formally recognized four years later in the Treaties of Paris that ended the American Revolution, making this territory part of the fledgling United States, rather than part of Canada .  Younger brother William would make his own way into the history books some 14 years later, but this extraordinary effort under incredibly harsh conditions demonstrated that there was more than one Clark brother with “Undaunted Courage.”

Today, Vincennes, IN is a location that is truly “off-the-beaten-path,” but the impressive memorial to George Rogers Clark commemorates his story – a story that I would likely never have learned had this national park not existed.

The George Rogers Clark NHP in Vincennes, Indiana memorializes a forgotten hero. Photo Credit: National Park Service
The George Rogers Clark NHP in Vincennes, Indiana memorializes a forgotten hero. Photo Credit: National Park Service

#28) Playing in the Surf at Cape Hatteras National Seashore – July 2002
Sometimes we visit a National Park to pursue solititude, and sometimes national parks are best visited with a friend.  In the summer of 2002, my best friend from college and I took a road trip through all three of the national seashores in the middle of the Atlantic Coast.   At Cape Hatteras National Seashore in North Carolina, we particularly enjoyed playing in the surf, tossing a football to each other, with the waves crashing around us.   Approriately enough, we named this particular game “Hatteras,” in honor of how much we enjoyed the pristine sandy beaches at this park.

#27) Counting Alligators at Big Cypress National Preserve – May 2014
The spring of 2014 found me travelling across south Florida from Miami to Naples with my family on the Tamiani Trail.  Along the way, Big Cypress National Preserve proved to be the perfect place to stop for a picnic lunch.  Right outside the picnic area, there is a boardwalk running alongside a canal that was also the perfect place to look for alligators with my then three-year old son.   I can still hear him saying, “Dad, there’s another one!”

You don't have to look hard to find alligators at Big Cypress National Preserve.
You don’t have to look hard to find alligators at Big Cypress National Preserve.  There are at least six in this photograph.

#26) Cajun Culture at Jean Lafitte National Historical Park & Preserve – May 2004

Jean Lafitte National Historical Park & Preserve in southeast Louisiana is something of a grab-bag of a national park, covering New Orleans’ French Quarter, the Barataria Nature Preserve just west of New Orleans,  the Chalmette Battlefield from the War of 1812 just east of New Orleans, and then three Acadian Cultural Centers in the nearby cities of Eunice, Lafayette, and Thibodaux.  Back in 2004, I was heading out to the Prairie Acadian Culture Center in Eunice, some 2.5 hours west of New Orleans, to try and catch a scheduled demonstration of cajun music.  Unfortunately, as sometimes happens, I was running late getting out there, and ended up missing it.  As it turned out, though, I had no worries.  The Ranger on duty that day said that she was in a cajun music band herself, and that her band was playing a gig that evening at a nearby restaurant called Bubba Frey’s.  Arriving there, the special that evening was “boulet” – a dish that reminded me of a hush puppy, only with seafood mixed in.  Acadian Cultural experiences rarely get more authentic than that!

#25) Looking Up at the World’s Biggest Trees in Redwood National Park – March 2001
In 2001, I was only two years out of college and making my first trip to the State of California.  While visiting two of my friends in the San Francisco Bay Area, we decided, almost son the spur of the moment, to make the long day trip up the Pacific Coast Highway to Redwood National Park.  This was my first encounter with the Pacific Coast Rainforest and with the giant trees.  There’s a reason why these giants have inspired generations of conservationists.  Standing under some of the tallest living things anywhere on the face of the Earth is always awe-inspiring.

Its hard for a photograph to do justice to the towering heights of some of the world's tallest trees, which are found in Redwood National Park.
Its hard for a photograph to do justice to the towering heights of some of the world’s tallest trees, which are found in Redwood National Park.

#24) Sailing to Dry Tortugas National Park – December 2002
Dry Tortugas National Park is one of the harder-to-reach places in the U.S. National Park System.  Its location says it all – 70 miles west of Key West.  The centerpiece of the park is historic Fort Jefferson, which straddles the tiny island of Garden Key like a behemoth – so much so that its walls seemingly stretch right over the edges of the key and plunge into the ocean.   The Fort was built in the early 19th Century to protect the shipping passage around the Florida Keys into New Orleans, and was later used as an Alcatraz-style prison. Today, on a day trip out of Key West, not only do you get to tour this impressive historic fort, but the boat operators also provide snorkeling gear to discover the coral reef that has grown up around the walls in the ocean below.  To top it all off, nearby Long Key, which is frequently connected to Garden Key by a sandbar, is a major seabird rookery.  From my vantage point standing on the walls of Fort Jefferson, Long Key looked like it was a scene out of Jurassic Park, surrounded as it was by a virtual cloud of nesting seabirds.

For those prone to seasickenss, Fort Jefferson in Dry Tortugas National Park can also be visited by seaplane. Long Key can be seen in the far back of this image. Photo Credit: National Park Service
For those prone to seasickenss, Fort Jefferson in Dry Tortugas National Park can also be visited by seaplane. Long Key can be seen in the far back of this image. Photo Credit: National Park Service

#23) Discovering Petroglyphs at Arches National Park – July 1999
I could probably fill a whole blog post with my stories from Arches National Park, a true gem of the National Park System.  On this trip, I was travelling by myself, on my way to Salt Lake City, and was camping on Bureau of Land Management Land along the Colorado River, just outside of the National Park.  While there, I ran into a young woman who was also travelling solo.  We agreed that it would be fun to go hiking together in the Park.   It turns out that she had heard that there was a “secret” petroglyph panel in Arches National Park.  Its “secret” because there is no marked trail to the panel, and the Park Rangers will not provide directions to it. This is due to the relatively small number of petroglyphs in the Park and the very high number of visitors that this “destination park” receives every year.  Nevertheless, her directions were good, and when we arrived at the location, we found this simple sign from the National Park Service, “You’ve Found Something Unique – Please Preserve It.”  Really – that sign could be placed almost anywhere in the National Park System, but it was particularly poignant here.  This was the very first time I had ever encountered petroglyphs, and I was enthralled.  Moreover, more than 15 years later, in an age when almost all information is available on the Internet, it seems amazing that a place with unpublished directions like this can still exist.  You can see some good photos of the Dark Angel Petroglyphs, including that sign, here.

#22) The World is Big and Small at Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve – September 2008
Since Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve is one of those odd national parks that “counts twice,” I’m going to cheat a little bit and include two moments from this trip.

The main visitor center for this Park, located in Copper Center, AK, is set up somewhat unusually. The theatre with the park movie is actually located in a separate out-building from the rest of the visitor center.  So after planning my hike in the main building, I went out to watch the move.  I was so floored by the stunning aerial photography in this film that I just had to go back into the main building and ask the Rangers about how the photography was done, and hopefully purchase a take-home copy – something I had never done before (or since!).  That ended up being a most-fortuitous decision.  While I was talking to the Rangers back in the main building, the phone rang.  A nearby flight-seeing operation had someone who was interested in going up for a tour, but they needed someone else to split the cost of the plane.  The Rangers said that this had never happened before all summer – so clearly this was “meant to be.”  The following hour spent flying above the glaciers in the Wrangell Mountains was one of the most memorable hours of my life.

Few experiences can compare to seeing the rugged peaks of the Wrangell Mountains up close from a flight-seeing tour.
Few experiences can compare to seeing the rugged peaks of the Wrangell Mountains up close from a flight-seeing tour.

Shortly after the flight-seeing tour ended, I proceeded to drive the rest of the way towards my planned hike.  Along the way, I stopped at an overlook like this one, with the aspens in full fall colors.   I checked my phone at one of these stops, and I had a text message with a picture of my new nephew, Aiden, who had been born just an hour or two earlier more than 3,800 miles away, on the other side of the continent, in Florida.  This day had shown that the world was both larger and smaller than I had imagined.

Even in the middle of the wilderness, modern technology meant that news of a birth on the side of the continent could still reach you.

#21) “She Said ‘Yes!'” at Harper’s Ferry National Historical Park – October 2007
As things were getting serious with my then-girlfriend, it only seemed natural given my second love for the national parks that I should ask the big question in a national park.  I was lucky to pick a beautiful fall colors day in West Virginia.  We began the day with a quiet picnic lunch away from the crowds on Bolivar Heights in the western end of the Park.  Then we headed to the historic downtown, where we discovered that the recently-rennovated Historic St. Peter’s Chapel was open for the first time that I had seen in my several years of having visited this Park.  Since we are both Catholics, that ended up being the perfect place to combine faith, hope, and love and to ask her to spend the rest of our lives together. I’ve felt a special connection to this national park ever since.

The author and the future Mrs. Parkasaurus capped off their big day by happily celebrating at the top of Maryland Heights in Harper’s Ferry National HIstorical Park.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post, if you’d like to keep reading, here are links to Part II with #’s 11-20,  Part III with #’s 1-10, and the Honorable Mentions.

Stamp Collage 1-001

 

Edit: This post was updated after original publication to add the stamp collage image at the end.

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