Tag Archives: California NHT

September 2018 – Redwood National Park, Cherokee Capital, and More!

Council House, New Echota, GA July 2017
The Council House at New Echota State Historic Site, the capital of the Cherokee Nation from 1825 until removal in 1832 is one of the many locations receiving a replacement Passport Cancellation this month.  Photo from 2017 by Thomson200 [CC0], from Wikimedia Commons
Redwood National Park

  • Kuchel Visitor Center
  • Hiouichi Visitor Center

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.

National Historic Trails Interpretive Center
The National Historic Trails Interpretive Center in Casper, Wyoming has new cancellations this month for three of the four trails interpreted there. Photo from 2005 by Henry Tom [CC BY 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons
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 Anasazi Heritage Center, a museum of the Ancestral Puebloan (or Anasazi) Culture and other Native cultures in the Four Corners region near Dolores in Montezuma County, Colorado LCCN2015632652
The Anasazi Heritage Center was recently renamed the Canyons of the Ancients Visitor Center and Museum, and has received an updated Passport cancellation this month. Photo from 2015 by Carol M. Highsmith [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
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 important Tennessee River Crossing on the Trail of Tears and the key to the Union victory at the battle of Shiloh. Photo from 2008.

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.

Cherokee Monument, New Echota, July 2017
Final Shot: the Cherokee Monument at New Echota. The monument stands as a reminder of the accomplishments of the Cherokee Nation, and how the United States nearly destroyed them on the Trail of Tears. Photo from 2017 by By Thomson200 [CC0], from Wikimedia Commons

 

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July & August 2018 – US Civil Rights Trail Joins the Passport Program

The graves of Martin Luther & Coretta Scott King are just one of the destinations on the new US Civil Rights Trail, which joins the Passport Program this month. Photo from 2012.

U.S. Civil Rights Trail

  • Selma
  • Lowndes
  • Tuskegee Airmen NHS
  • Carver Museum
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. NHP

Alaska Public Lands Information Center

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

Ebenzer Baptist Church, where Martin Luther King, Jr. began his ministry is part of Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park on the US Civil Rights Trail. Photo from 2012

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.

The George Washington Carver Museum can be found at the Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site a short drive away in Alabama.  Tuskegee is also home to the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site.  Also in Alabama, the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail commemorates the route of the historic voting rights match from the city of Selma to the state capitol in Montgomery.  The Trail has two visitor centers, one in Selma, and one near the midpoint of the trail in Lowndes County.  Presumably, the recently-established Birmingham Civil RightsFreedom Riders, and Reconstruction Era National Monuments will also get their own US Civil Rights Trail cancellations once those new national parks are fully up and running.

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:

These ruins can be found in the Solstice Canyon area of Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, which adds a new cancellation this month. Photo from 2007.

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.

Final Shot: A trail heading off into the distance in Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. Photo from 2007.
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November & December 2017 – Jefferson Patterson Park & More

A reconstructed Patuxent Indian wigwam at Jefferson Patterson Park, which has several new stamps this month. Photo from 2017.

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 |

  • Mimbres, NM
  • Trailhead Museum

Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail | National Frontier Trails Museum, MO

Schuykill River Valley National Heritage Area |

  • Southeastern PA
  • Pottstown, PA
A signpost at Jefferson Patterson Park highlights its affiliations with the Underground Railroad Network to Freedom, the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail, and the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail. Photo from 2017.

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 has updated its passport cancellations this month. Photo Credit: National Park Service

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.

The National Frontier Trails Museum in Independence, Missouri is affiliated with five different National Historic Trails. Photo from 2016.

The National Frontier Trails Museum is located in Independence, Missouri, and is the legendary starting point of the Oregon National Historic Trail.  The museum also contains exhibits interpreting the California National Historic Trail, Mormon Pioneer National Historic TrailSanta Fe National Historic Trail, and the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail.  The new stamp for the Lewis and Clark Trail appears to be a replacement for an earlier stamp reading “Independence, Missouri” on it.

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.

Final Shot: Another one of the reconstructed American Indian wigwams at Jefferson Patterson Park. Photo from 2017.
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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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August 2017 Stamps – City of Rocks, Mojave, Women’s Rights and More!

Mojave National Preserve has a new stamp this month at the Mojave River Valley Museum, which interprets the cultural history of the Mojave Desert, including the famous resort community of Zzyzx, part of which is seen here as part of Mojave National Preserve. Photo from 2007.

In a rarity, there are relatively few new stamps this month from National Heritage Areas and National Historic Trails, but instead the new stamps are mostly from full-fledged national park units.  Here they are:

Boston National Historical Park | USS Cassin Young

City of Rocks National Reserve | Almo, ID

Mojave National Preserve | Mojave River Valley Museum

Women’s Rights National Historical Park | Wesleyan Chapel

Mississippi Gulf Coast National Heritage Area | Historic Grass Lawn

City of Rocks National Reserve was a landmark for emigrants on the California Trail and gets its own cancellation this month.  Photo Credit: National Park Service

The highlight of the new additions is an updated stamp for City of Rocks National Reserve in southern Idaho.   The City of Rocks are unusual rock formations in southern Idaho that were so-named by emigrants on the California Trail to the gold fields of California.

For true Passport enthusiasts, this new stamp is an interesting case study.  City of Rocks National Reserve was added to the National Park System in 1988, two years after the Passport Program began in 1986.  Its first cancellation as similar to this one, reading “Almo, ID” on the bottom of the stamp, and was available through 1996.    When that stamp was replaced, however, it was replaced with a variation of that stamp, reading “Oregon Trail – Almo, ID” on the bottom.

This stamp, however, had a significant problem.   The Oregon and California Trails both begin in Independence, Missouri and from there, they essentially parallel each other for some 1,200 miles  across the whole of Nebraska and Wyoming and into Idaho.  Then, in central Idaho, at a place called the Raft River Crossing, the two trails part their separate ways.  The Oregon Trail heads to the north and west towards Oregon; the California Trail heads to the south and west towards Nevada and California.  City of Rocks, it turns out, is actually located to the south and to the west, along the California Trail.  This means that City of Rocks is actually not located on the Oregon Trail at all – despite the fact that for some time, the only Passport Cancellation for this Park read “Oregon Trail” on it!

This awkward situation was finally corrected in the mid-2000’s when that stamp reading “Oregon Trail – Almo, ID” on the bottom was replaced with a new stamp reading “CA Trail – Almo, ID” on the bottom.   In 2012, a second stamp was added at this park, a California National Historic Trail stamp reading “City of Rocks NR, ID” on the bottom.   Unfortunately, when the year expired on the “CA Trail – Almo, ID” stamp in 2014, that California National Historic Trail stamp became the only Passport Cancellation with an active year wheel available at the Park!  So this month’s new addition finally clears things up, and gives City of Rocks National Reserve two Passport Cancellations, one of the Park itself, and one for the California National Historic Trail.

The USS Cassin Young is the less-famous of two museum ships at the Charlestown Navy Yard in Boston National Historical Park. It now joins the USS Constitution in having its own Passport Cancellation. Photo from August 2017.

At Boston National Historical Park, the USS Cassin Young is a World War II-era Fletcher-class destroyer.  It is docked as a museum ship at the Charlestown Navy Yard Unit of Boston National Historical Park, near the USS Constitution.  Although 175 Fletcher-class Destroyers were built at the Charlestown Navy Yard, the USS Cassin Young was built in California and served in the Pacfic Theater. On July 30, 1945 twenty-one members of its crew were killed in a kamikaze attack near Okinawa.  In 1952, it did receive a major overhaul at Charlestown Navy Yard, one of several visits it made there, before being decommissioned in 1960.

The Mojave River Valley Museum is located in the gateway community of Barstow, California.  Barstow is home to the Mojave National Preserve Park Headquarters, and is located at the intersection of Interstates 15 and 40, making it a convenient gateway to the Park.  Interstates 15 and 40  also form the northern and southern boundaries of the Preserve about 60 miles to the west. The Mojave River Valley Museum  back in Barstow is free to the public, and interprets the scientific, historical, and cultural heritage of the area.  A visit to the Museum is a great way to learn about the desert before heading out into the Preserve itself.

At the top of this month’s post, I include a picture of the ruins of the former Soda Springs Resort at Zzyzx, which is now part of the Mojave National Preserve, as an example of the cultural history of the Mojave Desert area.   The name, Zzyzx is pronounced to rhyme with “Isaac’s.”   The name was chosen by the resort’s founder, Curtis Springer, who wanted the name to be the “last word in the English language,” in keeping with his resort’s slogan of Zzyzx being the “last word in health.”   Springer was eventually evicted from Zzyzx for not having legitimate claim to the public land in the Mojave Desert and for making false medicinal claims.  Nevertheless, the resort had one lasting positive legacy; Springer stocked his pond (shown above) with a little fish called the Mojave tui chub.  Now endangered, the “Lake Tundae” pond is one of the last refuges of this species.  The site is now run by the California State University consortium as the Desert Studies Center.  The site doesn’t have a Passport cancellation stamp (yet) – but with a name like “Zzyzx,” Parkasaurus is certainly really hoping that it happens someday, right?

Mrs. Parkasaurus is holding one of our babies on a rainy day in front of the Wesleyan Chapel at Women’s Rights National Historical Park. The Chapel is where the Declaration of Sentiments was signed.  Photo from 2014.

The somewhat restored remains of the Wesleyan Chapel in Seneca Falls, New York was the site of  the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention.  Women’s Rights National Historical Park commemorates the events of the 1848 women’s rights convention, and its main visitor center is located immediately adjacent to the Wesleyan Chapel.

In July, Women’s Rights National Historical Park announced that the the Stanton House in Seneca Falls and the M’Clintock House in nearby Waterloo have been recently outfitted with period furniture and reopened to the public.  The Stanton House was the home of the famed women’s rights leader, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, for 15 years.  The M’Clintock House is where the attendees drafted the famous “Declaration of Sentiments” that was later adopted by Convention attendees meeting in the Wesleyan Chapel  The M’Clintock House has had a cancellation since 2010.  The Stanton House does not yet have a cancellation, but would be a logical candidate to receive one in the future.

There is actually a fifth location that comprises Women’s Rights National Historical Park, the Hunt House, also in Seneca Falls.   It was at a meeting in the Hunt House that the plans for a women’s rights convention were conceived.  The National Park Service acquired the Hunt House in 2000, but it is not yet open to the public, and so no cancellation just yet.

Finally, the Mississippi Gulf Coast National Heritage Area adds one more Passport stamp this month, after adding nearly two dozen last month.  Historic Grass Lawn is a replica of the antebellum Milner House in Gulfport, Mississippi, which was destroyed in 2005 by Hurricane Katrina.  The replica building was dedicated in 2012 and is used as a reception hall for events.

The final shot this month is of nightfall at Mojave National Preserve in California. Photo from 2007.

 

 

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June 2017 New Stamps – Reconstruction Era NM Expands Their Passport Program and More Trail Stamps

The Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail continues to add cancellations around the Chesapeake Bay. This photo is from a new cancellation in Chestertown, MD.

 

Blue Ridge Parkway | Doughton Park Visitor Center

Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail | C&O Canal NHP HQ

Reconstruction Era National Monument |

        • Port Royal
        • St. Helena Island

San Juan Island NHP | Friday Harbor, WA

California National Historic Trail | Martin’s Cove, WY

Oregon National Historic Trail | Martin’s Cove, WY

El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail | NM Public Lands Info Ctr.

Santa Fe National Historic Trail | NM Public Lands Info Ctr.

Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail | Roving Ranger

Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail | Historic Nauvoo

Old Spanish National Historic Trail  | Kelso Depot

Trail of Tears National Historic Trail | Trail of Tears Assoc., OK

Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail |

        • Columbia, PA
        • Chestertown, MD
        • Great Falls, MD
        • Sandy Point State Park, MD
        • Gloucester, VA
        • Warsaw, VA
The Rappahannock River National Wildlife Refuge in Warsaw, Virginia is also a new cancellation location this month for the Captain John Smith Chesapeake NHT.

The highlight of this month’s new stamps come from the newly designated Reconstruction Era National Monument in South Carolina.   The initial stamp for this new national park was released just a couple months ago in April 2017.   That first stamp was for historic Beaufort, South Carolina, which was captured by Union forces in the early days of the Civil War in 1861, and so was one of the places where the process of reconstruction in the south began.  Beaufort was also the birthplace of Robert Smalls, who was born into slavery in 1839.  During the Civil War, in 1862, Smalls made a daring escape from nearby Charleston, taking the helm of the confederate ship CSS Planter, slipping it past the guns of Fort Sumter, and taking it out to sea where he could surrender to Union forces.  In an amazing and ironic historic twist, Robert Smalls would later use the prize money he was awarded for the capture of the Confederate ship to later purchase a home in Beaufort that had actually been owned by the very family that had once owned him.

Port Royal is located just to the south of Beaufort proper.  Port Royal was the site of Camp Saxton, where Union forces recruited the 1st South Carolina Volunteer Regiment from among the enslaved black population of the area.

Also in the same year of  Robert Smalls’ daring escape in 1862, even as the Civil War was still crescendoing to its full peak,  two women from Pennsylvania arrived in the area to begin providing an education to the freed blacks.   They soon moved their school into an old brick church on St. Helena Island, just to the east of Beaufort proper, which is the third passport location for this park.

The Blue Ridge Parkway is adding a new cancellation this month for the new Doughton Park Visitor Center. Photo from 2016.

The Blue Ridge Parkway has added a 19th visitor center and passport location this month, with the addition of the Doughton Park Visitor Center.  Located at milepost 241, it fills a gap between the Blue Ridge Music Center at milepost 213 and the Cone Memorial Park Visitor Center at milepost 294.  Interestingly, there was previously a cancellation for the Cumberland Knob Visitor Center at milepost 219, but that location is now closed with the opening of the nearby Blue Ridge Music Center in 2006, and that cancellation is now in the history books.

According to a report in the Wautauga (NC) Democrat, this location was previously operated by a concessionaire as Bluff’s Lodge and Coffee Shop, but has been closed since 2010.  A partnership effort was organized, seeded by an anonymous donation to restore the property, which had deteriorated.  This year it is reopening as the Doughton Park Visitor Center and will be managed by Eastern National, which also runs the Parks Passport Program. Interestingly, the visitor center is only Phase 1 of the restoration of the project.  Phase 2 will include restoring the Coffee Shop – which will be welcome news for many travelers.  Restoration of the lodging is also in the plans as well.

The new Doughton Park Visitor Center is located just 22 miles from the now-closed visitor center at Cumberland Knob. Photo from 2010.

The new stamp for the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail located at the C&O Canal National Historical Park in Hagerstown, Maryland is simply an updated replacement for previous stamps at this location.  Although the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail runs along the entire length of the C&O Canal towpath, the park Headquarters Building is located in Hagerstown proper, so Passport enthusiasts will have to make a brief detour from the Trail to get this cancellation.

Similarly, the new addition for San Juan Island National Historical Park is for the Park Headquarters in the resort town of Friday Harbor on San Juan Island.  Visitors to the Park can also collect cancellations at the American Camp and the English Camp on either end of the island.   The American Camp marks where US soldiers established themselves in 1859 and began a face-off with a British warship, as a dispute about a pig uprooting a garden nearly escalated a simple border dispute into an international war. The English Camp marks where British soldiers landed and encamped in 1860 as part of a temporary settlement for “joint occupation” of the island until a permanent settlement could be reached – something that would not occur until nearly a decade later, when arbitrators appointed by the German kaiser awarded San Juan Island to the United States.

The Mormon Handcart Historical Site in Martin’s Cove, Wyoming has two new cancellations this month.     Photo Mplark (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
The Mormon Handcart Site in Martin’s Cove, WY is operated by the Church of Latter-day Saints.  It marks the site where a party of Mormon emigrants pulling hand carts  and departing late in the season in 1859 became stranded for several days due to an early blizzard.  The site provides interpretation of the events at the site, as well as the rigors of pulling hand carts on the migration west.  The site previously has had cancellations for the Mormon Pioneer and Pony Express National Historic Trails.   The route used by the Mormon emigrants was the same route also used by settlers and gold rushers travelling on the Oregon and California National Historic Trails, respectively.  So this site now has a full compliment of four cancellations for the four Emigrant Trails across the west.

The Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail does get one new cancellation this month, this one for the starting point of the trail in Nauvoo, Illinois.  This new stamp is located at the Historic Nauvoo Visitor Center, which is also operated by the LDS Church.   This new stamp is somewhat paired with the new stamp for Nauvoo, Illinois under the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area that was released in January 2017. That stamp has been located at the Joseph Smith Historic Site in Nauvoo, which preserves a historic home of the man who was the founder of the LDS Church and also the former mayor of Nauvoo for two years up until his murder by an angry mob in nearby Carthage, Illinois in 1844.  The Joseph Smith Historic Site is operated by the Community of Christ, which was formerly known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and which split from the larger LDS Church in 1860.  The Nauvoo Historic District represented by this month’s new cancellation  includes many other historic structures in Nauvoo, including the former home of Brigham Young who was the second President of the LDS Church, and who led the journey west to Utah.

The New Mexico Public Lands Information Center, operated by the Bureau of Land Management in Santa Fe, New Mexico has already had cancellations for the  Old Spanish, Santa Fe, and El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trails.   The new stamps for the last two trails are simply subbing out previous stamps that read “Santa Fe, NM” on the bottom with stamps that now read “NM Public Lands Info Ctr.” on the bottom.  The Old Spanish Trail had actually made a similar switch back in 2012.  Interestingly, I can’t help but note that the street address for the New Mexico Public Lands Information Center is 301 Dinosaur Trail in Santa Fe!

The Roving Ranger Program at Golden Gate National Recreation Area helps connect people in the Bay Area to extraordinary locations like this one. Photo from 2015.

The new stamp for the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail will presumably be included as part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area‘s Roving Ranger program.  The Roving Ranger truck takes the National Park Service’s outreach out into the communities of the San Francisco Bay Area to promote the National Park Service location that is right in their own backyard.   Meanwhile, the new stamp for the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail simply reflects the move of the Trail’s headquarters offices from Little Rock, Arkansas to Webbers Falls, Oklahoma.

The new stamp for the Old Spanish National Historic Trail is actually the third iteration of a stamp at the historic Kelso Depot in Mojave National Preserve.  Previous iterations read “Kelso, CA” and “Mojave National Preserve, CA” on the bottom.

The Great Falls of the Potomac are one of several locations with a new Captain John Smith Chesapeake NHT stamp this month.

Finally, the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail continues its rapid expansion of Passport cancellations this month.   The six new additions this month give it a grand total of 41 Passport cancellations.  That total is good for 5th place in the National Park System, behind only the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area with a whopping 71, the Old Spanish National Historic Trail with 50, the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail with 47, and the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail with 44.   Each of the Captain John Smith Chesapeake cancellation locations appears to come with a wayside exhibit, providing interpretive about John Smith’s voyages of exploration from the Jamestowne Colony up through the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries in the early 1600’s.

The two new locations in Virginia include the Rappahannock River National Wildlife Refuge near Warsaw, Virginia and the Chesapeake Bay community of Gloucester on Virginia’s Middle Peninsula, between the Rappahannock and York Rivers.   In 2003, archeologists working near Gloucester discovered the site of Werowocomoco, which was the capital of the Powhatan Confederacy of some thirty Indian tribes in the area, and which traded and interacted with Captain John Smith and the Jamestowne Colony.

In Maryland, the new locations include Great Falls Park, which is managed by the George Washington Memorial Parkway.  The Great Falls of the Potomac River formed a natural barrier to Captain John Smith’s upstream explorations of the Potomac River.   Other locations include Sandy Point State Park near Annapolis, Maryland and the Sultana Education Foundation in Chestertown, Maryland on the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay.  The Sultana Education Fuondation operates a replica of an 18th Century vessel, the Sultana, that was used for collecting tea taxes in the Chesapeake Bay.  It also conducts a number of environmental education programs for children, and promotes the newly-developed water trail on the Chester River.

The final new stamp will be located at the Columbia Crossing River Trails Center in Columbia, Pennsylvania, where US Route 30 crosses the Susquehanna River.   Captain John Smith never made it this far north on his voyages, as he was stopped by the great falls of the Susquehanna further south in Maryland.  However, the Susquehannock American Indians in this area used the Susquehanna River as part of a trading route network that stretched as far as New York State.  Thus, Congress has included the full length of the Susquehanna River as part of this National Historic Trail, in part for its historic significance to the American Indians, but also to use the National Historic Trail program to spread awareness of the extensive watershed for the Chesapeake Bay.

With this month’s new additions, the total number of active cancellations in the Passport Program is now 1,179.   Happy stamping!

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January 2017 New Stamps – Historic Anniversaries and Heritage Areas

Hopewell Culture National Historical Park has a new stamp this month for some historical resources that are much more recent than the ancient Americans who built these mounds. Photo from National Park Service

Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site | 10th Anniversary 2007-2017

First State National Historical Park |

      • New Castle Court House
      • The Green – New Castle

Minuteman Missile National Historic Site | South Dakota

Hopewell Culture National Historical Park | Camp Sherman

Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area |

      • Alton, IL
      • Atlanta, IL
      • Beardstown, IL
      • Bloomington, IL
      • Danville, IL
      • Decatur, IL
      • Jacksonville, IL
      • Lerna, IL
      • Lincoln, IL
      • Mt. Pulaski, IL
      • Nauvoo, IL
      • Pittsfield, IL
      • Quincy, IL
      • Shelbyville, IL
      • Taylorville, IL

Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area |

      • Bryants Grocery
      • Fort Pemberton
      • Museum of the Mississippi Delta
      • Robert Johnson Gravesite

California National Historic Trail | Hollenberg Pony Express Station SHS
Oregon National Historic Trail | Hollenberg Pony Express Station SHS
Pony Express National Historic Trail | Hollenberg Pony Express Station SHS

Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site commemorates its 10th anniversary in 2017. US troops brutally murdered an encampment down below those sandstone cliffs. Photo from 2015.

Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site may only be ten years old in 2017, but this is already their second anniversary stamp.  In 2014, they had a stamp commemorating the 150th Anniversary of  the massacre of a camp of Cheyenne Indians by Colorado soldiers in 1864.  This park immediately retired that 150th Anniversary stamp as soon as the calendar turned to 2015, so if you want to collect this anniversary cancellation, you’ll probably need to trek out to eastern Colorado before the year is out.

For First State National Historical Park, the New Castle Courthouse stamp is simply a replacement for the existing stamp reading “New Castle, DE” on the bottom.   The New Castle Courthouse is where Delaware seceded from Great Britain in 1775, and is also the baseline for Delaware’s curved border with Pennsylvania, which is 12 miles from the courthouse.  The other stamp is for the New Castle Green and will be located at the New Castle Historical Society’s Visitor Center in The Arsenal.   A great summary of the history of New Castle Green can be found in this blog post from the official Delaware State Government blog.  This new addition for New Castle Green gives First State NHP a total of 8 active cancellations.

Minuteman Missile National Historic Site previously replaced its existing stamp reading “South Dakota” on the bottom in February 2015 with one reading “Visitor Center” on the bottom.   This one takes things back to where they were previously, restoring “South Dakota” as the main stamp for this Park.   Personally, I tend to dislike cancellations that read “visitor center” on the bottom, so this is a welcome change.

Hopewell Culture National Historical Park in south-central Ohio was officially established to interpret the archeological remains of a 2,000-year-old Indian civilization that archeologists refer to as “the Hopewell Culture,” since they did not leave behind a written language recording their own name for themselves.   However, 100 years ago, part of the land that is now the national park was included in the then newly-designated Camp Sherman to gather and train US troops for the war effort.   This new cancellation is timely, as it coincides with the 100th Anniversary of the U.S. entering the first World War in 1917, and with Hopewell Culture National Historical Park stepping up its interpretation of the small role it played in the First World War.

Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic Site in Charleston, Illinois is one of the latest Passport locations for the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area. Photo by Daniel Schwen (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
The Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area, which is run by the Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition, covers some 40 counties in central Illinois.  Previously, this Heritage Area had only a single cancellation, for the Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield, IL.    These 15 additional cancellations cover the heritage area’s official gateway cities of Alton, Bloomington, Danville, and Quincy.    These cancellations also cover several other partner sites, including the Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic Site in Lerna, where Lincoln’s father and stepmother lived once he was a grown man in Springfield.  Also included are several sites associated with Lincoln practicing law, including those in Mt. Pualski, Pittsfield, and Taylorville.  The remainder of the sites appear to be primarily associated with more-general history and visitation of the area, the most notable of which is the Joseph Smith Historic Site in Nauvoo, which is also the starting point for the Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail.

Bryant’s Grocery has been restored and commemorates the events surrounding the infamous murder of Emmett Till, and the acquittal of his killers. Photo: By Richard Apple (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
The Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area has been steadily adding stamps since joining the Passport Program in November 2014.  You can find the Parkasaurus write-up for all the previous additions here.  Particularly notable this month is the addition of a stamp for Bryant’s Grocery.  In August 1955, a 14-year-old teenager from Chicago named Emmett Till was visiting his family in the small town of Money, Mississippi.  On that trip, an incident with a white woman, Carolyn Bryant, at Bryant’s Grocery, led to Till being murdered by Ms. Bryant’s husband, Roy Bryant and his half-brother, John W. Milam.  Despite ample evidence, Bryant and Milam were acquitted by the all-white jury after a little more than an hour of deliberations.  You can read more details on the events of the case in this account from famous-trials.com.

The other three stamps for the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area this month can all be found in the town of Greenwood, Mississippi, which is just 17 miles to the south of Money.  Fort Pemberton was the site of a minor Confederate victory as part of the Vicksburg campaign.   The Museum of the Mississippi Delta comprehensively covers the human and natural history of the region.  Robert Johnson was a renowned blues artist, and the most-likely site of his burial is Little Zion Missionary Baptist Church on Money Road in Greenwood.

The Hollenberg Pony Express Station in 1991, prior to restoration. Photo: National Park Service, Kansas Historical Society

Finally, the Hollenberg Pony Express Station State Historic Site is located just east of the town of Hanover in northern Kansas.  The ranch was founded by Gerat Hollenberg in 1857 as a trading post on the Oregon and California Emigrant Trails.  By 1860 it became an official station on the Pony Express, and is one of the few remaining original Pony Express stations.

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October, November, & December 2016 New Stamps

The Lolo Pass Visitor Center has a new stamp for the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail. Photo from 2004.

As I return to blogging, I am going to quickly catch up by combining the new stamps for the last three months of 2016:

Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail | Lolo Pass, ID

North Country National Scenic Trail | Finger Lakes National Forest, NY

Ohio & Erie National Heritage Canalway |

      • Brecksville Nature Center
      • Canalway Center
      • Century Cycles

Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail |

      • Bitterroot Valley, MT
      • Cape Disappointment State Park
      • Farragut State Park
      • Grand Coulee Dam
      • The REACH Museum
      • Tulalatin, OR
      • Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge

Underground Railroad Freedom Network | Allegheny Portage Railroad NHS

Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor | Stephen & Harriet Myers Residence
Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area | Stephen & Harriet Myers Residence

Oregon National Historic Trail |

      • Craters of the Moon NM & PRES
      • Fossil Butte NM

Pony Express National Historic Trail | Camp Floyd State Park

The Lolo Pass in Idaho is where the Lewis & Clark expedition made a treacherous mountain crossing in September 1805, despite the early onset of winter weather.  This stamp will be available at the US Forest Service’s Lolo Pass Visitor Center on US Route 12.  The new stamp for the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail finally replaces a previous stamp that had been available here from 2004 to 2007.  In addition, this site has had a stamp for the Nez Perce National Historic Trail since 2011.

The new North Country National Scenic Trail replaces a previous stamp reading simply “New York” on the bottom that had been available at both the US Forest Service Finger Lakes Ranger Station in the town of Hector, NY as well as at Fort Stanwix National Monument in Rome, NY.  The “New York” stamp is still available at Fort Stanwix.

There are three new stamps for the Ohio & Erie Canalway National Heritage Area in eastern Ohio, joining six others from August 2016.  The Brecksville Nature Center provides interpretation and access to hiking trails in Cuyahoga Valley National Park.  The new stamp for the Canalway Center replaces an existing stamp for “Cuyahoga Heights, OH” at the Leonard Krieger Canalway Center.  Finally, Century Cycles provides bike rentals for trips along the Ohio & Erie Canal towpath from the town of Peninsula, Ohio, right in the center of Cuyahoga Valley National Park.  These two non-replacement additions bring the Ohio & Erie Canalway National Heritage Area up to a total of 15 cancellation locations.

The Grand Coulee Dam is a new stamping location for the Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail. This 2001 photo shows release of excess water from Lake Roosevelt. Photo from Bureau of Reclamation.

The 7 new stamps this month for the Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail join 7 others from September 2015, for a total of 14 for the Trail.   The Ravalli County Museum in the town of Hamilton in Montana’s Bitterroot Valley already has an official stamp for the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail and a semi-official stamp for the Nez Perce National Historic Trail, as the valley extends north-south to Idaho’s Lolo Pass, which was mentioned earlier.  Farragut State Park is located on the south shore of northern Idaho’s Lake Pend Oreille.  The Park owes its name to the World War II-era Farragut Naval Training Station, named after the hero of the Battle of Mobile Bay in the Civil War.  Lake Pend Oreille meanwhile, owes its origins, at least in part, to the flood of glacial Lake Missoula, commemorated by this Trail, and which I described in this post from September 2015.   The Turnbull  National Wildlife Refuge is located just across the border in Washington State, just south of Spokane.

The floods of glacial Lake Missoula are also responsible for having created the modern-day gorge of the Columbia River. The rest of the Ice Age Floods stamps this month are related to the Columbia River.  The Bureau of Reclamation‘s Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia River is responsible for creating Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area.  The REACH Museum is located downstream, and provides science education in the town of Richland, Washington.  It also serves as the Interpretive Center for the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Hanford Reach National Monument, which preserves one of the last-remaining free-flowing stretches, or “reaches,” of the Columbia River.  The town of Tualatin, Oregon is located just south of Portland.  The Tualatin Public Library contains some exhibits on the ice age history of the area, courtesy of the Tualatin Historical Society.   Finally, Cape Disappointment State Park is located on the Washington side of the mouth of the Columbia River, and is also part of Lewis & Clark National Historical Park unit of the National Park System as well as the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail.

Allegheny Portage National Historic Site is the latest stamp location in the Underground Railroad Freedom Network. This photo is of Engine House #6, which used cables to pull canal boats on rail cars up the incline. Photo from 2010.

The Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site preserves a small section of what was originally a 36 mile railroad using a series of cables to carry canal boats over the Allegheny Mountains between separate sections of the Pennsylvania Canal.   Operating from 1834 to 1854, until steam engines rendered the system of canal boats and cables obsolete, the railroad is known to also have been used by slaves attempting to escape to freedom; hence its inclusion in the Underground Railroad Freedom Network.

The Stephen and Harriet Myers Residence in Albany, New York is the recently-restored mid-19th century residence of the Myers, who were free blacks, abolitionists, and in the antebellum years, the center of underground railroad activity in Albany.  The building is being restored and maintained by the Underground Railroad History Project, and is part of both the Erie Canalway National Heritage Area and the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area.

The main route of the Oregon National Historic Trail passes some 100 miles to the south of Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve in central Idaho.  However, during the civil war, in order to avoid conflicts with the Northern Shoshone and Bannock Tribes, an alternate route to the north became increasingly popular.  This route became known as Goodale’s Cutoff, and it took the wagon trains on a treacherous crossing of the Craters of the Moon lava fields in what is known the northern portion of the park.

Meanwhile, the main route of the Oregon National Historic Trail passes some 60 miles to the south of the 50 million year-old fossils of Fossil Butte National Monument at Fort Bridger and Fort Bridger State Historic Site.  However, an alternate route, known as the Sublette Cutoff, passes within just 5 miles of the park, and the park has recently added the Oregon Trail to its interpretive activities.  Interestingly, the nearest town to Fossil Butte is Kemmerer, Wyoming, which is the home of the original J.C. Penney store.

Finally, Camp Floyd State Park preserves a historic stagecoach inn, just south of the Salt Lake City metro area in the town of Fairfield.  Camp Floyd is one of the first stops where the Pony Express National Historic Trail diverges from the California National Historic Trail.   The California Trail, which took 49ers to the gold fields of California, roughly follows the route of what is now Interstate 80  across northern Utah and Nevada.  The Pony Express Trail, however, took a route that was roughly 50 miles to the south, a route that doesn’t appear to have translated into our modern road system.

 

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September 2016 Stamps – Katahdin Woods, State Parks, and Many Trails

The site of Mission Dolores in Texas and associated visitor center is a new State Historic Site and has an updated stamp this month on the El Camino Real de Tejas National Historic Trail.

After some time away, I’m at least returning to blogging.  To catch up, I’ve decided to go ahead and write the monthly new stamps post for the months I missed. Here are the new stamps for the month of September 2016:

Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument | Penobscot County, ME

Natchez National Historical Park | Fort Rosalie

Nez Perce National Historical Park | Bear Paw Battlefield

Redwood National Park | Prairie Creek Redwoods SP

Redwood National Park | Jedediah Smith Redwoods SP

Rainbow Bridge National Monument |

      • Lees Ferry, AZ
      • Big Water, UT
      • Escalante, UT

California National Historic Trail | Fairway, KS

Oregon National Historic Trail | Fairway, KS

El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail | Mission Dolores State Historic Site

Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail | Pismo Beach, CA

Old Spanish National Historic Trail | Arizona/Utah

Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail | St. Clements Island SP, MD

North Country National Scenic Trail |

      • Douglas County, WI
      • Fergus Falls, MN
      • Itasca State Park, MN

The headline of course, is President Obama’s 100th birthday present to the National Park Service – the addition of Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in northern Maine.  Although this park is not as expansive as earlier proposals for a comprehensive Maine North Woods National Park, it is still a landmark addition to the National Park System.  Since Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve in central Kansas was added to the National Park System in 1996, there have been only a handful of new parks added primarily for their value as natural landscapes.  Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument was added in 1991, but it was really just a boundary expansion of Virgin Islands National Park, just as Castle Mountains National Monument was really just a boundary expansion for Mojave National Preserve.  A few other new parks have included small landscape parcels as part of a larger history-themed park, but really the only other truly new landscape-focused park in the last 20 years has been Valles Caldera National Preserve in New Mexico.

Congress established Natchez National Historical Park in 1988 to encompass the historic district of Natchez, Mississippi, and to include three National Park Service-managed properties, the Melrose Plantation, the William Johnson House, and the archaeological site of Fort Rosalie.   Fort Rosalie was a French trading post, established in 1716, and was the seed that eventually grew into the present-day town of Natchez.  The original authorizing legislation required the National Park Service to first study the archaeological significance of Fort Rosalie before adding it to the park.

The Nez Perce National Historic Park includes 38 sites across the Pacific Northwest.  The Bear Paw Battlefield site in Montana is where in 1877 Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce ended his attempts to flee US troops, just 40 miles short of safety across the Canadian Border.  The new stamp replaces an earlier version and will be kept at the Blaine County Museum in nearby Chinook, Montana.

Redwood National Park is expanding its Passport locations to include its partner State Parks. Photo from 2002.

Redwood National Park operates as a mix of federal and state lands along the Pacific Coast of northernmost California.  Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park and Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park are two of the partners with this effort, and are managed cooperatively by the National Park Service and the California Department of Parks and Recreation.  There are now 5 cancellation locations for Redwood National Park, three for the National Park Service visitor centers in Orick, Hiouichi, and Crescent City, and two for these two California State Parks.  As an interesting historical footnote, one of these stamps was originally mis-printed as Jedediah Redwoods SP and was used for a short time before being replaced by a correctly-worded stamp.  Additionally, no stamp at all has been issued for the third California State Park in this partnerships, Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park.  This is presumably because as near as I can tell, Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park lacks a proper visitor center as a location to place the stamp.

Rainbow Bridge National Monument is only accessible by boat, deep inside Lake Powell in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.  These stamps, as well as the new stamp for the Old Spanish National Historic Trail, will go to the various visitors centers for Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and the adjacent Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, managed by the Bureau of Land Management, which provide information on visiting the area.

 

Rainbow Bridge National Monument preserves this natural arch. Photo from National Park Service

The stamps for the Oregon National Historic Trail and the California National Historic Trail will go to the Shawnee Mission State Historic State in Fairway, Kansas.   The Shawnee were relocated out of Ohio to an area just west of what is now Kansas City in 1825.   Methodist missionaries operated the mission from the 1830’s until the time of the Civil War.

The Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail stamp will presumably be found at the historic Price Historical Park in the town of Prismo Beach.   Although the ranch was founded decades after the 18th-Century Anza Expedition, Anza and his companions passed through what is now called Price Canyon on the journey north to San Francisco Bay  in 1775.

The new stamp for the El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail is a replacement stamp, reflecting the redesignation of the former Mission Dolores Travel Information Center just south of San Augustine, Texas to an official State Historic Site.

The new Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail stamp will be at St. Clements Island State Park.  St. Clements Island is only accessible by bout tours during the summer months.   This new stamp continues the evolution of the Potomac Heritage Trail cancellation locations from representing a linear long-distance trail to more of a partnership program, similar to a National Heritage Area.

Two of the new stamps for the North Country National Scenic Trail will be at the Friends of the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center in Fergus Falls, Minnesota and at Itasca State Park in Park Rapids, Minnesota.  Itasca State Park is, of course, famously home to the headwaters of the mighty Mississippi River, making it one of the most-notable additions to the Passport Program this month. The significance of Itasca State Park has long made it one of the most-famous State Parks in the country, and now it is also part of the national Passport to Your National Parks program.  The third stamp will be at the Douglas County Forestry Department in Solon Springs, Wisconsin.

Follow these signs to adventure along the North Country National Scenic Trail.  Photo from 2006.
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August Stories Behind the Stamps – Reserves & Roadhouses

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

Here are the additions for the month of August:

Dry Tortugas National Park | Garden Key

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

Joshua Tree National Park | Oasis of Mara

Yellowstone National Park | Snake River Ranger Station

Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve | Slaven’s Roadhouse

Ohio & Erie National Heritage Canalway |

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

California National Historic Trail | Salt Lake City, UT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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