Appalachian National Scenic Trail | Shenandoah National Park
Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership:
Lake George Historical Association Museum
Pember Museum of Natural History
Continental Divide National Scenic Trail:
South Fork, CO
Pagosa Springs, CO
Pie Town, NM
Silver City, NM
North Country National Scenic Trail:
Crown Point State Historic Site, NY
The headliners from this group are the stamps for the newly designated Stonewall National Monument in New York City and the relatively newly designated Honouliuli National Monument outside of Honolulu, Hawaii. Despite the name, Stonewall National Monument consists of Christopher Park, located adjacent to a bar known as the Stonewall Inn – which was famously the site of riots on June 28, 1969 protesting police harrassment of gays. The stamp is being made avaialable at an information table in the Park, as well as each of the seven other national park sites located in Manhattan and nearby Mount Vernon, NY.
Salem Maritime National Historic Site is located in the town just north of Boston that is perhaps most famous today for its 17th Century “witch trials.” However, in the 17th and 18th centuries, the town of Salem was famous for its maritime trading network that stretched literally around the world. Today, the National Park Service site encompasses the historic wharves and approximately 10 historic buildings.
On July 14, 2006, Eastern National celebrated the grand opening a new bookstore and gift shop for the Park, which they branded as “Waite & Peirce” after one of the most-prominent trading partnerships from the port’s heyday. Aaron Waite (1742-1830) appears to have formed his partnership with Jerathmiel Peirce (1747-1827) in 1778, at the height of the American Revolutionary War with Great Britain. Records indicate that they jointly owned the two-gun schooner, Greyhound, and they likely used it in privateering ventures – i.e. attempts to capture British merchant vessels. After the war, Waite & Peirce built a successful mercantile enterprise that lasted until Peirce’s death in 1827. Among their merchant vessels was the Friendship. A fully sea-worthy replica of that boat, the Friendship of Salem, is now part of the park.
The Custom House is one of the centerpieces of the park, and the largest of the park’s historical buildings. The Custom House is where government officials worked who were responsible for overseeing the trade in the port of Salem and imposing the appropriate custom duties on cargo shipments. One of those government officials was Nathaniel Hawthorne whose House with Seven Gables is not official part of the national park, but is also one of the most-significant historical sites in Salem.
The Derby House formerly belonged to the Derby family, one of Salem’s most-successful merchant families. The Friendship of Salem is docked on Derby Wharf, which is part of the park, and the Derby Light lighthouse, which dates back to 1871, is located at the end of the Derby Wharf. Finally, the Narbonne House is set back a little bit from Salem’s waterfront and is more typical of the residences for Salem’s working class and small business owner families.
In addition those stamps, I’ve also updated my master list of stamp locations to include five dated unofficial stamps featuring the trail logo offered by the Nez Perce National Historic Trail in Montana and Idaho. The Nez Perce Trail marks the route the Nez Perce Indians and their leader, Chief Joseph, took in 1877 as they fled the U.S. Army.
Writing about the World War II Memorial has gotten me to thinking about what makes a national memorial a national park. According to the National Park Service, there are 30 national memorials in the U.S. National Park System. However, as with so many things in counting national parks it isn’t quite as simple as that. Under Federal Law, only Congress has the exclusive right to designate a national memorial. This means that there is no provision like an Antiquities Act for designating national memorials the way that there is for the President to designate national monuments. Moreover, similar to national monuments, not all national memorials have been assiged to the National Park Service for inclusion in the U.S. National Park System – in fact with there being 64 national memorials that I have been able to identify, the National Park Service is only directly responsible for around half of them.
NPS National Memorials in Washington, DC
Let’s take a closer look at national memorials by starting with the 12 national memorials listed by the National Park Service that are in or around the nation’s capital in Washington, D.C.:
There are also two more memorials in the above category that are planned for future construction. The Eisenhower Memorial(*) has recently received final design approval, and is hoping to complete construction in the next few years. The Adams Memorial(*), a tribute to the remarkable family that produced the second and sixth Presidents of the United States, is still in the design and fundraising stages.
So overall, this first set of memorials are dedicated either to “great Americans” – primarily former Presidents of the United States, or else to those who served, and in many cases, gave their lives, in one of the major wars of the 20th Century.
However, there is still the small matter of those asterisks above. What becomes a little tricky here is that five of these twelve memorials (as well as the two under development) have actually not been specifically designated as national memorials by Congress – as national memorial is a rather specific legal honor and title that can only be conferred by Congress. However, each of those memorials is of a sufficent size and distinction that the National Park Service has determined that each of them should count separately as individual national parks in the National Park System. As such, in listing all of the different units in the National Park System, the National Park Service goes ahead and lists all of the above as national memorials.
Given that recognition, its hard to be pedantic about the the specific legal distinctions. Take for example, the case of the World War II Memorial. The fundraising drivde by the American Battle Monuments Commission to build this memorial was explicitly called the National World War II Memorial Cammpaign. The non-profit partners of the memorial calls themselves “Friends of the National World War II Memorial.” Regardless of the technical legal status, almost all Americans, including, I would imagine, almost all Members of Congress, consider it to be the National World War II Memorial. So in the interests of simplicity and clarity, I’m going to conside each of the above memorials to also be a national memorial, if for no other reason than by popular acclamation and by the de facto designation as such by the National Park Service.
So those twelve constitue the first entries on the list of national memorials. Let’s look at a few more:
In addition to these twelve, seven other national memorials in the greater Washington, DC area are included as part of other, larger units of the U.S. National Park System:
the National Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial is also part of Pennsylvania Avenue National Historic Site in downtown Washington, DC – but it is one of only two of these sseven sites without its own Passport stamp;
This second group is a bit more of a mixed bag than the first group. The Memorial to the 56 Signers of the Declaration of Independence is straight-forward enough, and in keeping with the theme from the first group of honoring the “Founding Fathers” of the Nation. The Nation’s desire to honor the Preisdent who saved the Union is evident by there being two designations relating to Abraham Lincoln, in addition, of course, to the Lincoln Memorial itself in the first group. Four others are dedicated to specific groups of people who served, or more accurately, to specific types of service. The mixed-nature of this list is perhaps most-highlighted by the absence of the Air Force Memorial from this list, which has apparently not been formally designated a national memorial, and resides on Department of Defense land at the Pentagon, and so is outside the National Park System as well. With neither official recognition by Congress as a national memorial, nor listing by the National Park Service as a national memorial, there just was no way to include it on the list. Even though, with all due respect to the service of the many U.S. Navy Seabees over the years, it seems inconsistent to have the Seabees Memorial on this list, but not the Air Force Memorial.
Indeed, there are many other memorials in the National Park System which are also not on that list, and in some cases, it almost seems to be simply a paperwork oversight that they have not been designated as national memorials, while many similar memorials have been. For more on them, check out Sidebar#1.
NPS National Memorials Outside Washington
Outside of Washington, DC, however, the National Park System includes 18 other national memorials that are also individual national parks. All of these were designated by Congress as a national memorial in their very name, however, so their inclusion on the list is straightforward. The 18 are:
Port Chicago National Memorial – marks the site of a tragic explosion on the American Home Front in the East Bay of San Francisco during the Second World War, in which the victims were largely African-Americans;
Once again, this set of national memorials also appears to be quite the mixed bag, although some themes definitely emerge. Many of the sites are associated with the earliest days of America’s exploration and settlement – although San Diego’s Cabrillo National Monumentis notably absent from this list as it is a national monument rather than a national memorial. Several of the others, such as Thaddeus Kosciuszko and Lincoln Boyhood are on the list because they primarily rely upon reconstructions, rather than actually-preserved historic resources – or in the case of Hamilton Grange, have been moved from their original location. Three others are the site of major tragedies, with significant loss of life. Others, like Mount Rushmore, are truly memorials in the traditional sense.
For some more related facts to national memorials that count as national parks, you can again check out Sidebar #2.
There are also three other memorials that are part of larger national parks outside of the Washington, DC area:
White Cross World War I Memorial is a white cross that was erected in 1934 in California’s Mojave Desert, and is now located on private land within Mojave National Preserve in order to settle an “establishment of religion” claim against the memorial;
U.S.S. Oklahoma Memorial is also in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and is also part of World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument. (Note: the U.S.S. Utah Memorial is also located in Pearl Harbor, but it does not appear to have been designated a national memorial by Congress. ) The U.S.S. Missouri Memorial, which is the ship that hosted the Japanese surrender at the end of World War II, is also located in Pearl Harbor. Although it is not part of the National Monument, it too has its own Passport stamp.
At the risk of getting too far into the weeds, the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial was previously a stand-alone unit of the National Park System. As such, the National Park Service listed it as a national memorial, for the reasons I described above for the WorldWar II Memorial and others. In 2008, however, President George W. Bush designated it as part of World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, and so the National Park Service now lists it as a national monument, rather than a national memorial. However, since there was clearly no intention to de-designate the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial as a national memorial, I’m going to continue to include it on this list. You can read about four other national parks that arguably could be included on this list, despite not having the word “memorial” in their name in Sidebar #3.
The Rest of the National Memorials
In addition to all of the above, four other national memorials are officially considered to be Affiliated Areas of the National Park System, along with two others that have unofficially had that status. Status as an Affiliated Area makes the site eligible for additional technical assistance on preservation from National Park Service staff, as well as for inclusion in the Passport to Your National Parks program:
In addition, the (5) AIDS Memorial Grove in San Francisco California and the (6) David Berger Memorial (an American-Israeli dual-citizen who was killed as a member of the Israeli Olympic Team at the 1972 Munich Olympics) in suburban Cleveland, Ohio both have been incorrectly listed as Affiliated Areas by some sources in the past. As such, both have previously been part of the Passport Program, but no longer receive official Passport stamps from Eastern National. In any event, both appear to continue to benefit from National Park Service technical assistance from Golden Gate National Recreation Area and Cuyahoga Valley National Park, respectively.
Finally, the following 18 national memorials have no connection with the U.S. National Park System, but round out the complete list of national memorials:
National Civil Defense Monument – also located in Emmitsburg, Maryland;
U.S.S. Indianapolis Memorial – located in its namesake city and commemorates the last ship in the U.S. Navy to sink during the Second World War;
World War Memorial in Guam – marks the site where Japanese sodliers raped and massacared Guamanian civilians at the Fana Caves during the closing days of World War II.
There is a distinctly military theme, not surprisingly, to many of the memorials on this list. It is amazing, however, to think that Riverside, California, of all places, is tied with New York City for the most national memorials of any place in the country outside of Washington, DC. It is also interesting to note the three memorials on the above list that are dedicated to American civilians outside of public service. Albert Einstein is such a towering figure in the history of science, that a national memorial to him is completely unsurprising. The Bosque Redondo Memorial is in keeping with the list of National Park System national memorials that commemorate tragedies in our Nation’s history – although it is worth noting that this event gets a national memorial, whereas the removal of the Cherokee from the eastern United States gets the Trail of Tears of National Historic Trail commemorating the full route. Finally, the most unusual entry on this list is Robert L. Kohnstamm, whom I’m not sure many readers of this past will have previously been familiar with. For example, he doesn’t even have a Wikipedia entry! He apparently played a role in preserving the Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood and in opening Mt. Hood to recreational skiing. A full article about him can be read here.
So, after this exhaustive summary of national memorials here is a summary of the results:
12 national memorials recognized by the National Park Service as stand-alone national parks in Washington, DC;
7 other national memorials in Washington, DC that are managed by the National Park Service;
18 other national memorials that are also stand-alone national parks, outside of Washington, DC;
3 other national memorials located inside the boundaries of national parks outside of Washington, DC;
6 national memorials that are either formally or informally affiliated with the National Park System;
18 national memorials that are located outside the National Park System entirely.
That makes a total of 64 national memorials!
Out of these 64, 26 of them are dedicated to wars, military victories, military service, or public service (I’m including the Astronauts Memorial and Civil Defense Memorial here.)
19 more national memorials are dedicated to U.S. Presidents (incluing four to Abraham Lincoln alone), other U.S. Founding Fathers (I’m including Federal Hall in this group ), or to Robert E. Lee.
Eight more national memorials are dedicated to the exploration and settlement of the United States.
Seven of the national memorials are dedicated to the memory of national tragedies.
Finally, four of the national memorials are dedicated to civilians primarily for civilian accomplishments in the areas of science, conservation, or civil rights.
By no means do any of the above seem to be complete lists. The closest might be the memorials to the Founding Fathers, although if Kosciuszko is on the list of national memorials, then the names of Lafayette, Rochambeau, and von Steuben are conspicuous by their absences. The list of explorers with national memorials, however, seems far too short, and almost random in its selection. While hardly anyone could object to a national memorial to the scientific achievements of Albert Einstein or the Wright Brothers, that area of achievement can only be described as under-recognized. As with many things in the National Park System – there will no doubt be more to come in the future. In the meantime, the list of 64 national memorials provides an interesting starting point for those looking to remember our Nation’s past and history, going even beyond just those sites managed by the National Park Service.
Bonus Fact: Congress has actually passed a resolution calling for the final resting of place of the RMS Titanic to be designated as an international maritime memorial to the men, women, and children who perished aboard her. Of course, the Titanic sank in international waters, so its not at all clear who would have the jurisdiction to carry this out, but it is fun to think about.
Cabrillo National Monument is one of three units of the National Park System that is dedicated by name to European exploration of the Americas. The Coronado National Memorial on the Arizona-Mexico border commemorates the 1540 arrival of Spanish conquistador Francisco Vasquez de Coronado – an expedition that would reach as far north and east as Kansas, before returning to Mexico. The De Soto National Memorial in Bradenton, Florida commemorates the 1539 arrival of the Spanish conquistador Hernando de Soto – an expedition that would reach as far north and west as the Mississippi River before returning to Mexico.
From a “counting the parks” perspective, its interesting to note that the Cabrillo site is designated a National Monument, whereas the other two are National Memorials. This is because the Cabrillo site was originally established via a proclamation by President Woodrow Wilson in 1913 under the Antiquities Act, and all sites designated under the Antiquities Act are established as national monuments. By contrast, Congress authorized establishment of the Coronado National Memorial in 1941, and the De Soto National Memorial was authorized by Congress in 1948. As near as I can tell, there hasn’t been any movement to normalize Cabrillo’s designation by redesignating it as a national memorial. Then again, maybe I’m one of the few people who worry about such things…
This festival caught my attention because it made me wonder if this might not be the earliest date that is marked annually by the National Park Service. I know that’s kind of an interesting concept to think about. None of the American Indians in the present-day United States, so far as I know, left us with a written calendar that could correspond to an actual date. Thus, the “earliest date” marked in the National Park System, would have to date back to the age of European exploration of the Americas.
Right now, I am not aware of any similar “arrival day” celebrations at Coronado or De Soto. By contrast, the British wouldn’t arrive at Jamestown, which is now part of Colonial National Historical Park, until May 4, 1607. Three years before that, in 1604, the French attempted to establish a colony on the present-day border of Maine and New Brunswick, at what is now Saint Croix Island International Historic Site. Even earlier than that was the famous “lost colony” of Roanoke, established by the British in North Carolina’s Outer Banks in 1586. That site is now Fort Raleigh National Historic Site – but that is still 42 years later after these expeditions by the Spanish explorers.
It turns out, though, that to find the earliest candidate date in the National Park System, you have to go to the U.S. Virgin Islands. There, Salt River Bay Ecological & Historical Preserve marks the spot where Christopher Columbus himself landed on his second voyage to the Western Hemispher, on November 14, 1493. So there you have it, as near as I can tell, this is the earliest date marked in the National Park System.
As a postscript to this story, its interesting to note that of the three early Spanish conquistadors/explorers comemorated in the National Park System, 1542 was a rough year. Hernando de Soto would die of a fever somewhere near the Mississippi River in Arkansas or Louisiana on May 21, 1542. Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo would shatter one of his legs on sharp rocks later that year in November, and he would pass away on January 3, 1543. Only Francisco Vasquez de Coronado would safely return to Mexico from his expedition, and he would ultimately live until 1554, when he would die at the age of 43 or 44. Ironically, this was roughly the age of De Soto and Carbrillo when they met their demises as well.
Mama, don’t let your kids grow up to be conquistadors…..