Tag Archives: Lincoln Boyhood

June & July 2019 – Civil War Start-To-Finish, the Top of Texas, and More

New Stamps

Canaveral National Seashore |
Apollo Beach
Playalinda Beach

Cumberland Gap National Historical Park |
Iron Furnace 1819
Tri-State Marker

Cuyahoga Valley National Park | Cuyahoga River Water Trail

Gateway Arch National Park | Old Courthouse

Guadalupe Mountains National Park |
Guadalupe Peaks – The Top of Texas
Salt Basin Dunes
Williams Ranch

Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area |
Freeport, IL
Jonesboro, IL
Petersburg, IL
Pontiac, IL

Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial | Living Historical Farm

Fort Sumter & Fort Moultrie National Historical Park |
Charleston Harbor, SC
Fort Moultrie
Liberty Square

Reconstruction Era National Historical Park |
Beaufort, SC
Port Royal, SC
St. Helena Island, SC

Cedar Breaks National Monument | Brianhead, Utah

Fort Hunt Park | Fairfax, VA
Fort Marcy Park | Fairfax, VA

Olympic National Park |
Hoodsport WIC
Port Angeles WIC

Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail | Port Tobacco, MD

Coal National Heritage Area | Ashland Company Store

Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail | Las Lagunas de Anza, CA

Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network |
Roving Ranger
Annapolis, MD

Eldora Statehouse is found in the Apollo Beach Unit of Canaveral National Seashore. Photo from 2015.

Stories Behind the Stamps

Leading off the new stamps this month are two new cancellations for Canaveral National Seashore on Florida’s Space Coast. Its fitting that a stamp for “Apollo Beach” is being issued in the same year that we are celebrating the historic 50th Anniversary of the Apollo Moon Landing. Canaveral National Seashore shares the Cape with Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, as well as the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. As near as I can tell, though, Apollo Beach has no significance to the space program other than being named in its honor.

The Seashore itself is divided into three beaches on the barrier islands just to the north of the Kennedy Space Center. The new cancellation for Apollo Beach is possibly a replacement for the existing Passport cancellation reading “New Smyrna Beach, FL,” which is the closest town to Apollo Beach. Apollo Beach is the northern-most beach in the park, and is where the park’s main visitor center is, as well as the historic Eldora state house from an early 20th-century resort. Despite this fact, Apollo Beach actually gets significantly less visitation than Playalinda Beach, the southern-most beach in the park. Playalinda, which means “beautiful beach” in Spanish, is only accessible by driving through the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, and there may be temporary access restrictions during space launch activity at the nearby Kennedy Space Center.

Located between Apollo Beach and Playalinda Beach is Klondike Beach, but it is not accessible by car, and so does not have its own Passport cancellation, at least not yet.

Guadalupe Mountains National Park has several new cancellations this month. Public domain photo from 2004.

Guadalupe Mountains National Park, located in far western Texas added three cancellations this month, giving it a total of 8 active cancellations. Seven of the eight stamps are available at the park’s Pine Springs Visitor Center on the south side of the park, including all three of the new stamps. One of the new stamps commemorates the fact that Guadalupe Peak at 8,751 feet is the highest point in Texas. The peak is accessible through a well-marked 4.2 mile one-way trail from the Visitor Center. The Salt Basin Dunes are stunning white gypsum sand dunes. To access the dunes requires a one hour drive around to the remote west side of the park, and then a one mile hike. The access road is impassable when wet, so this will not be a destination for every park visitor. The Williams Ranch is accessible only by special permit with a high-clearance four-wheel drive vehicle or else a strenuous 10+ mile one way hike. Suffice to say, that will be a destination that few park visitors will make it to.

The overall stamp for the park reads “Salt Flat, Texas.” The park also has a cancellation commemorating the path of the Butterfield Overland Mail Route through the park. There is also a stamp for the nearby historic Frijole Ranch. The last stamp at the main visitor center is for McKittrick Canyon, which is located a 45 minute drive around to the east side of the park. The McKittrick Canyon area has three hiking trails, a self-guided nature trail, the geology-focused Permian Reef trail, and the main trail into McKittrick Canyon itself.

The eighth stamp for Guadalupe Mountains National Park is for Dog Canyon on the north side of the park. Dog Canyon is only accessible from New Mexico, and is a 2.5 hour drive from the Pine Springs Visitor Center.

Fog rolling in on Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, which has two new cancellations this month. Photo Credit 2005: Aaron/ConspiracyofHappiness – https://www.flickr.com/photos/97964364@N00/52117339/in/set-1130893/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=898801

Cumberland Gap National Historic Park has added two new stamps this month to encourage visitors to more thoroughly explore all the places this park has to offer, although all stamps are located at the main visitor center – the only stamping location for the park. The Cumberland Gap is the famous location where Daniel Boone led settlers west of the Appalachian on the Wilderness Road. The Tri-State Marker commemorates the joint border of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia inside the park. It is accessible by a 1.2 mile one-way hike from the Wilderness Road Parking Lot on the Pinnacle View Road. The Iron Furnace is an easy two-tenths of a mile hike from the Iron Furnace Parking Area located at 902 Pennlynn Avenue in the nearby town of Cumberland Gap, Tennessee (although the trail is located entirely in Virginia.

These two new additions give Cumberland Gap NHP a total of seven active non-anniversary Passport cancellations. A stamp reading “Middlesboro, KY” is the overall stamp for the Park. There are also cancellations at the main visitor center available for the Wilderness Road Trail, the Pinnacle Overlook, the Gap Cave, and the Hensley Settlement. The Wilderness Road Trail and Pinnacle Overlook are easily accessible from the main park road. The Gap Cave is only accessible by a one mile hike, followed by a half mile inside the cave, and requires closed-toe shoes; children under 5 are not permitted. The historic Hensley Settlement is ordinarily only accessible by guided tour with advance reservations, but all tours have been cancelled for 2019 due to deteriorated road conditions.

Gateway Arch National Park from the steps of the Old Courthouse, which has a new cancellation this month. Photo from 2019.

Gateway Arch National Park gets a new stamp this month for the Old Courthouse. In addition to preserving the iconic Gateway Arch in St. Louis, this National Park also preserves the Old Courthouse, which served as a site for both Federal and state courts. The Old Courthouse was where the Missouri Courts, including the Missouri Supreme Court, heard the the Dred Scott cases. Those cases ultimately resulted in the infamous 1857 US Supreme Court decision in Dred Scott v. Sanford, which bizarrely and controversially held that “black people” were not, and indeed, never could be, citizens of the United States.

Gateway Arch National Park is not thought often thought about as a “Civil War” park. However, it does tell the story of how the Nation’s westward expansion made our tenuous compromise on the issue of slavery ever-more unstable. Ironically, Supreme Court Justice Roger Taney, the author of the Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision, thought that he was writing a decision that would help settle the issue of slavery. In fact, the infamous decision further set the Nation on a course towards Civil War.

The Living History Farm at Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial has a new cancellation this month. Photo Credit: National Park Service

The Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial in southern Indiana commemorates the time that America’s greatest President spent in Indiana, in between the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park in Kentucky and the Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield, Illinois. As the designation of the site as a national memorial implies, little remains of the Lincoln family home from this time period, other than what has been revealed by archeologists. However, in addition to the memorial structure itself, the site includes a living history farm as a tribute to Lincoln’s formative years here.

The Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area adds four new cancellations. Freeport, Illinois was the site of one of the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates, and has a memorial to the debate that occurred there as well as a historic museum. Jonesboro, Illinois was the site of the third Lincoln-Douglas debate, and likewise has a memorial and offices for the Shawnee National Forest, where the cancellation will be located. Pontiac, Illinois was one of the many communities were Lincoln practiced law and today has a museum dedicated to Historic Route 66. The new cancellation for Petersburg, Illinois will apparently be located at the Riverbank Lodge resort.

The Cuyahoga River Water Trail is an ambitious proposal to encourage the use of the restored Cuyahoga River for boating and paddling of all kinds. The section of the Cuyahoga River flowing through Cuyahoga Valley National Park is one of five designated segments along the trail.

Fort Moultrie gets a new cancellation this month as part of the park’s name change earlier this month. Photo from 2011.

Two national parks in South Carolina received new names thanks to the Dingell Act, and now have updated cancellations. Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Historical Park was famously the site of the opening salvos in the American Civil War. South Carolinian-occupied batteries on the mainland opened fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, which was occupied by Federal troops. The main visitor center for the park is located on Liberty Square in downtown Charleston, and is also the primary departure point for boat excursions to Fort Sumter on the island. Fort Moultrie is located just across the river from Liberty Square and played only a minor role in the bombardment of Fort Sumter. Today it shows the history of coastal defenses all the way from the antebellum years through to the Second World War. The Reconstruction Era National Historical Park includes three sites related to the integration of the freed slaves into society following emancipation. Located in and around Beaufort, South Carolina, a short drive from Charleston, the area provides an interesting set of “book ends” with the place where the Civil War began and some of the places where the post-war era began.

Several other stamps this month simply reflect changed mailing addresses for existing Passport locations. This includes the Fort Hunt Park and Fort Marcy Park along the George Washington Memorial Parkway in northern Virginia. This also includes the rock formations of Cedar Breaks National Monument in Utah.

Closing out the list of stamps this month, Olympic National Park replaces two stamps this month for each of its Wilderness Information Center. The Lagunas de Anza are preserved wetlands on a private ranch south of Tucson, Arizona at the very beginning of the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail route in the United States. The new stamp for the Captain John Smith National Historic Trail will be located at Thomas Stone National Historic Site in southern Maryland. The Ashland Company Store is a restored mining company store that is now part of an adventure resort supporting tours in the Coal National Heritage Area in southern West Virginia.

Final Shot: the interior of the dome at the Old Courthouse in Gateway Arch National Park. This photo and the cover photo both from 2019.
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When is a National Memorial a National Park?

There are three national memorials in this photograph from 2010 - but what makes a national memorial a national park?
There are three national memorials in this photograph from 2010 – but what makes a national memorial a national park?

Writing about the World War II Memorial has gotten me to thinking about what makes a national memorialnational 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.  Moreoversimilar 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

The Thomas Jefferson Memorial during peak bloom of the cherry blossoms. Photo from 2011.
The Thomas Jefferson Memorial during peak bloom of the cherry blossoms. Photo from 2011.

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.:

  1. Arlington House, the Robert E. Memorial (the issue of a national memorial dedicated to Lee is a topic for another post on another day)
  2. Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial
  3. (*)Korean War Veterans Memorial
  4. Lincoln Memorial
  5. (*)Lyndon Baines Johnson Memorial Grove on the Potomac
  6. (*)Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial
  7. (*)Theodore Roosevelt Island
  8. Thomas Jefferson Memorial (I’ve never been able to determine why Jefferson gets his first name in the name of the memorial, but Lincoln and Washington do not!)
  9. Vietnam Veterans Memorial
  10. Washington Monument
  11. (*)World War I Memorial (new! – to be located in Pershing Park near the White House)
  12. World War II Memorial

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:

P1070428
The Memorial to the 56 Signers of the Declaration of Independence in Constitution Gardens features the signatures of each of the signers. This photo, from 2011, is of the signatures from the famed Massachusetts delegation.

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:

  1.  the Memorial to the 56 Signers of the Declaration of Independence can be found on an island in the lagoon of Constitution Gardens in downtown Washington, DC;
  2. the Lincoln Museum in Ford’s Theatre is considered to be a national memorial, and is part of Ford’s Theatre National Historic Site in Washington, DC;
  3. the House Where Lincoln Died, also known as Petersen House, is also considered to be a national memorial, and is also a part of Ford’s Theatre NHS in downtown Washington, DC;
  4. the United States Marine Corps War Memorial is more popularly known as the Iwo Jima Memorial, and is part of the George Washington Memorial Parkway in Arlington, Virginia;
  5. the United States Navy Memorial is part of Pennsylvania Avenue National Historic Site in downtown Washington, DC;
  6. 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;
  7. the Seabees of the United States Navy Memorial is located along the George Washington Memorial Parkway at the entrance to Arlington Cemetery, and also does not have 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

The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial is better known as the St. Louis Arch, and is one of several national memorials that are also stand-alone national parks. Photo from 2004.
The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial is better known as the St. Louis Arch, and is one of several national memorials that are also stand-alone national parks. Photo from 2004.

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:

  1. Arkansas Post National Memorial – marks the first permanent European settlement in the Mississippi River Valley;
  2. Chamizal National Memorial – marks the peaceful resolution of a border dispute with Mexico in El Paso, Texas;
  3. Coronado National Memorial – marks the explorations of Spanish conquistador Francisco Coronado, at the approximate site where he entered the present-day United States on Arizona’s border with Mexico;
  4. DeSoto National Memorial – marks the explorations of Hernando de Soto, at the approximate site where he entered the present-day United States, just south of Tampa, Florida;
  5. Federal Hall National Memorial – marks the Nation’s first capitol building in New York City;
  6. Flight 93 National Memorial – a site that needs no introduction, in Shanksville, Pennsylvania;
  7. Fort Caroline National Memorial – marks the short-lived attempt by the French to colonize north Florida;
  8. General Grant National Memorial – the most famous tomb in America is the final resting place of Ulysses S. Grant and his wife;
  9. Hamilton Grange National Memorial – marks the home of the Founding Father (for now) on the ten-dollar bill in New York City;
  10. Jefferson National Expansion Memorial – you know this site as the St. Louis Arch, commemorating everyone and everything involved in America’s westward expansion;
  11. Johnstown Flood National Memorial – marks the site of the tragic disaster that killed more than 2,000 people in central Pennsylvania in 1889;
  12. Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial – marks the place where Abraham Lincoln spent a few of his childhood years in southern Indiana;
  13. Mount Rushmore National Memorial – the famous faces in one of America’s most-famous places;
  14. Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial – commemorates Commodore Oliver Perry’s famous victory in the Battle of Lake Erie, marked in the resort town of Put-in-Bay, Ohio;
  15. 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;
  16. Roger Williams National Memorial – commemorates the pioneer for religious liberty who founded the colony of Rhode Island in 1636;
  17. Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial – preserves the boarding house where this Polish patriot and hero of the American Revolution briefly stayed while in Philadelphia during the winter of 1797-1798;
  18. Wright Brothers National Memorial – marks the site of humanity’s first powered flight on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

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 Monument is 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.

USS Oklahoma - Bruce-001
The USS Oklahoma Memorial is a national memorial and part of World War II / Valor in the Pacific National Monument around Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Photo Credit: B. Johnson

There are also three other memorials that are part of larger national parks outside of the Washington, DC area:

  1. 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;
  2. (*) U.S.S. Arizona Memorial is the most-famous memorial in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii – it is now part of World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument;
  3. 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

The Benjamin Franklin National Memorial in Philadelphia is an Affiliated Area of the National Park System. Photo from 2012.
The Benjamin Franklin National Memorial in Philadelphia is an Affiliated Area of the National Park System. Photo from 2012.

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:

  1. Benjamin Franklin National Memorial – in the rotunda of the Franklin Institute Science Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania;
  2. Red Hill, the Patrick Henry Memorial – the home of “give me liberty or give me death” in rural southern Virginia;
  3. Father Marquette Memorial – marking the explorations of the famed French Jesuit priest  located just past the Mackinac Bridge between  the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan;
  4. Oklahoma City National Memorial – marking the tragic terrorist event of April 19, 1995.

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.

The Albert Einstein National Memorial is not part of the National Park System, as it is on the grounds of the National Academies of Sciences in Washington, DC. Photo from 2007.
The Albert Einstein National Memorial is not part of the National Park System, as it is on the grounds of the National Academies of Sciences in Washington, DC. Photo from 2007.

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:

  1. Albert Einstein Memorial – on the grounds of the National Acadamies of Sciences in Washington, DC;
  2. Astronauts Memorial–  at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida;
  3. Battle of Midway National Memorial – which is now part of Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, in far northwestern Hawaii, and which unfortunately has been closed to visitation in recent years – although you can take a virtual tour;
  4. Bosque Redondo National Memorial – marking the forcible removal of the Navajo (Dine) and Apache people, in Fort Sumner, NM;
  5. Buffalo Soldiers Memorial – which was authorized in 2005 to be constructed in New Orleans, Louisiana;
  6. Disabled Vietnam Veterans Memorial – in Angel Fire, New Mexico near Taos ski country;
  7. Distinguished Flying Cross National Memorial – designated in July 2014 at the March Field Air Museum in Riverside, California;
  8. John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts – in Washington, DC, which was formerly part of the National Park System, but is now independently managed;
  9. Military Divers Memorial – which was authorized in 2013 and is planned for the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, DC;
  10. Mount Soledad Veterans Memorial – a large cross located in San Diego, California, in a situation similar to the Mojave Cross mentioned earlier;
  11. National D-Day Memorial – in the southwest Virginia town of Bedford;
  12. National Fallen Firefighters Memorial – in Emmitsburg, Maryland near Catoctin Mountain Park;
  13. four separate memorials, collectively known as the National Medal of Honor Sites –  in Pueblo, Colorado; Riverside, California; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina.
  14. Prisoner of War / Missing in Action Memorial, which is also located in Riverside National Cemetery, alongside one of the Medal of Honor Memorial Sites;
  15. Robert L. Kohnstamm Memorial Area – the only memorial on this list dedicated to a conservationist, located on Mt. Hood in Oregon;
  16. National Civil Defense Monument – also located in Emmitsburg, Maryland;
  17. 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;
  18. 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.

Conclusion

The Lincoln Memorial. Photo from 2011.
The Lincoln Memorial, which is a personal favorite of Parkasaurus.. Photo from 2011.

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.

Sources: National Park Service Site Designations List, last updated 13 July 2015; Title 16 US Code Section 431, including Notes, retrieved August 15, 2015

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.

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