Fort Pulaski National Monument |
- Underground RR Freedom Network
Gateway Arch National Park | St. Louis, MO
Prince William Forest Park | Washington-Rochambeau NHT
Crossroads of the Revolution National Heritage Area |
- Abraham Staats House c. 1740 SBB, NJ
- Battle of Bound Brook Reenactment
Ilinois & Michigan Canal National Heritage Area |
- Chicago, IL
- Lockport, IL
Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area |
- Elvis Presley Birthplace & Museum
- Historic DeSoto County Courthouse
- Historic Lafayette County Courthouse
- Ida B. Wells Barnett Museum
- L.Q.C. Lamar House Museum
- Rust College
- Tennessee Williams Home
- Tupelo Hardware Store
- Union County Heritage Museum
- University of Mississippi Lyceum
- William Faulkner’s Rowan Oak
- (Stephen D.) Lee Home Museum
Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area |
- African American Museum of Iowa
- Calkins Nature Area
- Center Grove Orchard
- Hardin County Farm Museum
- Hartman Reserve
- Hurstville Interpretive Center
- Ice House Museum
- Jasper County Historical Museum
- Maier Rural Heritage Center
- Mathias Ham House
- Motor Mill
- National Farm Toy Museum
- Sawmill Museum
- Waterloo, IA
- U of I Natural History Museum
- Wapsipinicon Mill
Headlining this month’s new stamps is a new stamp for the recently-designated Gateway Arch National Park. The famous St. Louis Arch had previous been in the National Park System under the name of the “Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. ” St. Louis is located at the confluence of the Missouri River with the Mississippi River, and so served as the “gateway to the west” from the time of Thomas Jefferson’s Louisiana Purchase onward, including to the completion of the arch in 1967. The name “Jefferson National Expansion Memorial” was always one of the most-awkward names in the National Park System, and referenced the role of Thomas Jefferson in arranging for the Louisiana Purchase that brought much of the lands west of the Mississippi River into the United States. Few people probably ever heard that name, outside of National Park junkies and those with a real attention to detail. The new name of Gateway Arch National Park will certainly roll of the tongue much more easily, and will no doubt increase the visibility of the site itself, as well as increase the visibility of the fact that it is part of the National Park System.
Some purists have objected that the title of “national park” aught to be reserved for natural landscapes managed by the National Park Service. However, this name is such a clear improvement over the old name, I find it hard to support that objection. Many years ago, when I embarked on my first cross-country road trip to report for an assignment with the National Park Service in Colorado, the one detour that I made time for on my trip was a stop at the Gateway Arch. It is truly one of the most recognizable landmarks in all of the National Park System, so why not go ahead and call it Gateway Arch National Park? In fact, I’d even argue for using it as a precedent for increasing the visibility of another iconic landmark in the National Park System. How about combining Statue of Liberty National Monument and Castle Clinton National Monument into a new Liberty National Park? The Statue of Liberty National Monument includes not just the iconic statute on Liberty Island, but also the Ellis Island Immigration Museum. Castle Clinton is an early 19th-century fortification located in Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan. It was used as an immigration processing facility in the decades before Ellis Island opens, and nowadays serves as one of the main ferry departure points for visitors to Liberty Island and Ellis Island. Its a radical proposal, but for Parkasaurus, Liberty National Park certainly has a nice ring to it. So here’s a hearty welcome to Gateway Arch National Park to the list of national parks, and here’s hoping that it even inspires more.
Fort Pulaski National Monument is located near Savannah, Georgia and was the site of major bombardment in the Civil War. The successful seige of the Fort heralded the end of the era of masonry coastal fortifications, which were now obsolete against rifled artillery. The two cancellations this month are updates to existing cancellations reflecting Fort Pulaski’s participation in the Underground Railroad: Network to Freedom Partnership Program and in the Gullah-Geechee National Heritage Area. Once Fort Pulaski was captured by Union forces in April 1862, they emancipated the slaves there, and the area became a magnet for slaves escaping from the surrounding areas and seeking freedom. The Park also interprets the history of the free people of African ancestry who developed the unique Gullah culture in the coastal lowlands of Georgia and South Carolina.
Prince William Forest Park is located just outside the famed Quantico Marine Corps Base along Interstate 95 in Virginia. The new cancellation commemorates the route taken by George Washington and French General Jean-Baptiste Rochambeau on their way from New England to the final battle at Yorktown in 1781 during the closing days of the Revolutionary War.
The new stamps for the Crossroads of the Revolution National Heritage Area supplement the additions for Union County that were featured in October 2017. The Abraham Staats House is a historic home dating to circa 1740 in South Bound Brook, New Jersey. The Battle of Bound Brook was a Revolutionary War engagement that occurred in 1777. The reenactment occurs in April each year.
For the Illinois and Michigan Canal National Heritage Area the two new stamps this month, are actually reissues of earlier cancellations. The stamp for Chicago, Illinois was previously at the Chicago Historical Society Museum, but they ended their participation in the Passport Program back in 2006. The new stamp reading “Chicago, IL” will be located at the McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum. The old stamp for Lockport, Illinois was located in the historic Gaylord Building. but which now has a stamp reading “Gaylord Building.” The new Lockport, Illinois stamp is located at the Will County Historical Museum.
The Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area in northeast Mississippi has doubled its total number of cancellations this month from 12 to 24. The headliners are the Elvis Presley Birthplace Museum in the city of Tupelo and the Tennessee Williams Home in the city of Columbus. “The King” of rock’n’roll needs no introduction. Tennessee Williams is the famed playwright who wrote A Streetcar Named Desire, Orpheus Descending, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. His home is now a visitor welcome center in Columbus, and this stamp likely replaces an existing stamp simply reading “Columbus, MS.” Back in Tupelo there is also the Tupelo Hardware Store, where Gladys Presley famously bought her son, Elvis, his first guitar. Additionally, also located in Columbus is the home of former Civil War General Stephen D. Lee, which now houses a museum of Civil War artifacts that is primarily open by appointment, with limited regular hours.
The University of Mississippi is located in Oxford, Mississippi. The Lyceum is the oldest building remaining on campus and remains the primary administration building; it is named for the garden in Athens where Aristotle taught philosophy. Rowan Oak is located adjacent to the University of Mississippi campus, and was the home of William Faulkner for 40 years. In addition to winning two Pulitzer Prizes, Faulker is one of just 16 Americans to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. He is also, I believe, only the second of those 16 Americans to be associated with a site with a Passport cancellation, the other being the Eugene O’Neill National Historic Site in the East Bay Area of California, which is a full-fledged unit of the National Park System.
The L.Q.C. Lamar House is also located in Oxford. Lamar was a Congressman from Mississippi both before the Civil War and then again after Reconstruction ended in 1873. He actually drafted Mississippi’s secession documents, and then went on to become an Ambassador for the Confederate States of America. After his return to Congress, went on to become a Senator, a Secretary of the Interior under President Grover Cleveland, and then a Supreme Court Justice (nominated by Cleveland.) The town of Oxford also includes the Historic Lafayette County Courthouse.
Ida B. Wells is perhaps somewhat less famous that the above cultural figures, but no less remarkable. Born in Mississippi in the middle of the Civil War, she would lose both her parents to disease at the age of 16. Nevertheless, she went on to become a journalist as an African-American woman, with a particular focus on documenting lynchings in the South. She was also a civil rights activist. Some 70 years before Rosa Parks, she refused to give up her seat in a segregated train car, only to be forcibly removed. The year before, the U.S. Supreme Court had overturned the 1875 Civil Rights Act banning discrimination in public accommodations as unconstitutional. That decision that would take nearly 80 years to fully overturn, with passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1864. The Ida B. Wells-Barnett Museum is open by appointment only in her hometown of Holly Springs, Mississippi. Rust College is also located in Holly Springs, and is the historically black college where Ms. Wells earned her bachelor’s degree.
Finally, the new additions this month also include the Union County Heritage Museum in the town of New Albany. The Historic DeSoto County Courthouse in Hernando includes a number of murals depicting the explorations of Hernando DeSoto. The famed explorer Hernando De Soto arrived near present-day Bradenton, Florida in 1539 where there is a National Memorial as a full-fledged Unit of the National Park System dedicated to him. DeSoto explored all the way to the Mississippi River before he died in either present-day Louisiana or Arkansas in 1542. This stamp joins a previous stamp for the Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area simply reading “DeSoto County,” as well as a stamp in the same location for the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area – a relatively rare example of two National Heritage Areas overlapping with each other.
The new stamps for the Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area take this partnership program in northeastern Iowa from 18 available cancellations to 32 available cancellations. The African American Museum of Iowa can be found in the city of Cedar Rapids, and joins cancellations for five other museums there, including the Indian Creek Nature Center, the National Czech & Slovak Museum, the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, and the Grant Wood Studio. Grant Wood is famously the artist behind the painting American Gothic, which is among the many Grant Wood pieces exhibited at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art.
The Calkins Nature Area is a county nature preserve located about an hour west of the city of Waterloo. Close by the Calkins Nature Area is the Hardin County Farm Museum, whose website delightfully describes its location as “1 mile north of the stoplight in Eldora.” The stamp for the Hartman Reserve is a replacement for an existing stamp at a Nature Center just outside Waterloo in Cedar Falls. The Ice House Museum is also located in Cedar Falls, and tells the story of ice harvesting from the Cedar River. Downtown Waterloo has a stamp for the Grout Museum District, which includes two historic homes, a science center, a natural history museum, and a museum dedicated to the Sullivan Brothers. The Sullivan Brothers died while serving together in World War II, sparking a policy change that led to the events portrayed in the movie Saving Private Ryan. The new stamp reading Waterloo, IA is expected to be kept at the Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area Headquarters in downtown Waterloo.
East of Waterloo can be found the Wapsipinicon Mill in the town of Independence, Iowa. The mill is run by the Buchanan County Historical Society and is an impressive six story structure.
Center Grove Orchard is a family fun farm in Cambridge, Iowa, about a half hour’s drive north of the State Capital in Des Moines. This stamp joins an existing one for Living History Farms in Urbandale, Iowa just outside of Des Moines to the west. Living History Farms includes the re-created frontier town of Walnut Hill, and three re-created frontier farms from 1700 (American Indian), 1850 (Pioneer Era), and 1900 (Horse-Powered.) The Museum of the Jasper County Historical Society is located about a half hour’s drive east of Des Moines in Newton, Iowa. In Des Moines itself is the existing stamp for the Iowa State History Museum.
The Hurstville Interpretive Center is the Nature Center for Jackson County, about mid-way between Dubuque and Davenport in the eastern end of the state. The House of Mathias Ham is a historic 19th century mansion on the north side of Dubuque. In downtown Dubuque is an existing stamp for the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium. On the south side of Dubuque is an existing stamp for the Mines of Spain State Recreation Area. This natural area is notable for its monument to Julien Dubuque, who settled this area in the late 1700’s under the authority of the Spanish Governor in New Orleans, back when the Mississippi River Basin was a Spanish colony.
The Maier Rural Heritage Center is a museum to rural farm life in the town of Elkader in northern Iowa. Also in Elkader is the Motor Mill, a 19th century flour mill that is now a historic site. There are four other existing cancellations across norther Iowa, including the Gilbertson Park Nature Center in Elgin, Iowa. The Fossil and Prairie Center in remote Rockford, Iowa allows amateur fossil hunting among their collection of 365 million year old marine fossils from the Devonian Period. The Iowa Dairy Center is an educational dairy farm operated by Northeast Iowa Community College in the town of Calmar, Iowa. Finally, the Vesterhein Norwegian-American Museum can be found in the town of Decorah, Iowa.
West of Dubuque is the town of Dyersville, where you can find the National Farm Toy Museum. Dyersville is also, of course, famously the home of the Field of Dreams movie site, from the famous Kevin Costner movie. Alas, the Field of Dreams movie site is not yet an official Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area partner, so there’s no passport cancellation there – but Parkasaurus certainly thinks that we almost need to find a way to make that happen!
The Sawmill Museum is located a bit more than hour’s drive south of Dubuque, along the Mississippi River in Clinton, Iowa. This museum tells the story of Iowa’s timber industry – an industry we don’t often associate with Iowa in the present day. South of Clinton is an existing stamp for The Putnam Museum of science and history in Davenport, Iowa. Just west of Davenport in Iowa City is the University of Iowa Natural History Museum. Between Iowa City and Cedar Rapids is the existing stamp for the Amana Heritage Museum, in the town of Amana, Iowa. The Amana were a Protestant Religious Sect founded in Europe, but which came to America in the 19th Century seeking religious freedom.
Finally, there was one stamp removed from the list this month.
Andrew Johnson National Historic Site | Tailor Shop
The Andrew Johnson National Historic Site in eastern Tennessee preserves Andrew Johnson’s tailor shop inside the visitor center itself. There was really no need for it to have a separate cancellation, when it was located inside the visitor center itself, and so the National Park Service has apparently decided to discontinue it.
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