Tag Archives: Mississippi Hills NHA

May 2018 – Gateway Arch, Mississippi Hills, Silos & Smokestacks and More!

This month you can find your park and find a new cancellation at Prince William Forest Park in Virginia. Photo from 2018.

Fort Pulaski National Monument |

  • Gullah-Geechee
  • 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
The new name for Gateway National Park highlights this month’s cancellations. Photo from 2005.

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.

The exterior wall of Fort Pualski National Monument still shows the scars from bombardment by Union forces during the Civil War. The center section was rebuilt after new rifled cannons demonstrated that the brick walls were now obsolete. Photo form 2014.

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 has a new cancellation for when George Washington passed through the area on his way to Yorktown. It also commemorates some much older history, like this petrified log. Photo from 2014.

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 home where Elvis Presley was born in Tupleo, Mississippi is among the highlights from this month’s expansion of the Passport Program in the Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area. Photo Credit: By Ken Lund, Las Vegas, Nevada [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
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 Wapsipinicon Mill in the town of Independence, Iowa is among the highlights of the expanded Passport Program for the Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Area. Photo Credit: By Erich Fabricius [CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
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.

Andrew Johnson’s Tailor Shop is preserved inside the National Historic Site Visitor Center. Photo from 2013.

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.

 

Final Shot: The Field of Dreams in Dyersville, Iowa doesn’t have a cancellation for the Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Area…. yet – but it really aught to, right? Photo Credit: By IowaPolitics.com [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

 

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March & April Stories Behind the Stamps – New Additions Hit 2,000 Cancellations!

View of Halema‘uma‘u from Jaggar Museum Overlook as darkness falls. The Jaggar Museum is one of several new cancellations. Photo credit: NPS.gov
View of Halema‘uma‘u in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park from the Jaggar Museum Overlook as darkness falls. The Jaggar Museum is one of several new cancellations this month. Photo credit: NPS.gov

I missed posting last month due to some big news.  The Parkasaurus family is now officially at 5 with the birth of our third child!   Mother and baby are doing great – although everyone is working on getting more sleep.  At the suggestion of our now-5-year-old, the Toothy T-Rex, this will be “Baby Brachiosaurus” in future Parksaurus posts.  We’re delighted to have a new addition to our family!

The other big news from last month is that the Passport program is that this month’s additions mean that there are now more than 2,000 active stamps.  Counting the total number of the stamps is partly art and partly science, since whether or not two Passport stamps are “the same” can be in the eye of the beholder.  However, based on the best information we have on which stamps are made regularly available for different locations within the national parks and the National Park Service’s partners, that is the current total.   Congratulations to the Passport program on this milestone!

So with those two announcements out of the way, here’s to a double-dose of “stories behind the stamps” for March and April.

First, the new cancellations for March that took us to 2,000:

Boston African American National Historic Site | African American Trail

Castle Mountains National Monument | Nipton, CA

Gateway National Recreation Area | Jacob Riis Park

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

      • Jagger Museum
      • Kilauea Visitor Center
      • Panau Coastal Contact Station

Cane River National Heritage Area | Grand Ecore Visitor Center

Underground Railroad Freedom Network | Harriet Tubman UGRR NHP

And here are the new cancellations for April:

Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network | Washington’s Birthplace, VA
Underground Railroad Freedom Network | Washington’s Birthplace, VA

Oregon National Historic Trail | Oregon City, OR

Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area |

      • Iuka, MS
      • Tupelo – Birthplace of Elvis Presley

Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area |

      • Cleveland, TN
      • Grammy Museum of Mississippi
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Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has a spiffy logo for their own centennial this year.

The highlight of this set of new stamps are those for Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, located on the big island of Hawaii.  This park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and world-famous as easily the best place on Earth to witness a volcanic eruption in action.  This year, the park celebrates its centennial, along with the National Park Service as a whole.  The special centennial logo includes both of the park’s main volcanic features, the actively erupting crater of Kilauea is in the center, and the occasionally snow-capped Mauna Loa volcano is in the background.  Also included in the logo are the park’s pristine night sky, the endangered nene goose, a Hawaiian petroglyph, and the flower of the ‘ōhi‘a tree.  This flower is considered sacred to Pele, the native Hawaiian goddess of fire and volcanoes, and whom was believed to live in the Halema‘uma‘u Crater of Kilauea.

Since the beginning of the Passport program in 1986, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has had a single cancellation, labeled as “Hawaii National Park, Hawaii;” available at each of the park’s visitor contact locations.  This label was a perhaps unintentional tribute to the fact that the park was originally established as Hawaii National Park in 1916, and at that time, the park also included what is now known as Haleakala National Park on the island of Maui.  The two parks were separated in 1961.   Now the park will have separate cancellations at each of its main visitor contact points, including the Kilauea Visitor Center and the Jaggar Museum.   The Kilauea Visitor Center is located at the park entrance, very near the rim of Kilauea Crater.  The Thomas A. Jagger museum is devoted to the history of volcanology, or the study of volcanoes.  Located 3 miles from the Kilauea Visitor Center on the Crater Rim Road, it has a spectacular overlook for viewing the ongoing eruption, right on the edge of the crater itself.  The park has a short online tour of the Crater Rim Road for those of us who can’t make it out to Hawaii any time soon!

The Panau Coastal Contact Station is located at the end of the Chain of Craters Road, the park’s 19 mile (one way) tour road into the heart of the park.  It too has a short online tour available. This contact station is a mobile facility, allowing it to be moved out of harms way in response to changing volcanic activity.   A few years ago, it was possible to see a lava flow meeting the ocean at the end of the road, but as of this writing in 2016, there has not been volcanic activity in the area for several years.  Still a trip to the end of the Chain of Craters Road will take you to the Hōlei Sea Arch.  Also near the end of the Chain of Craters Road is the parking area for a short 0.7 miles (one way) trail to the Pu’u Loa petroglyph site with some 23,00 petroglyphs – so the road is still well worth taking on your visit.

Harriet Tubman - Underground Railroad National Historic Park has logically added an Underground Railroad: Network to Freedom Cancellation. Photo from 2014.
Harriet Tubman – Underground Railroad National Historic Park has logically added an Underground Railroad: Network to Freedom Cancellation. Photo from 2014.

Several other stamps were also issued to full-fledged units of the National Park System.  The brand-new Castle Mountains National Monument received its first Passport cancellation, which will, as expected, be located at the various visitor centers for Mojave National Preserve.  The relatively new Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park in Maryland has also very logically received a secondary cancellation for the Underground Railroad: Network to Freedom  partnership program. The Boston African American National Historic Site includes both the NPS-managed Abiel Smith School site, as well as the Black Heritage Trail connecting 14 mostly privately-held historic sites related to free African Americans who lived in Boston’s Beacon Hill neighborhood.  As of this writing, its not clear why the stamp reads “African-American Heritage Trail” but the NPS website refers to it as the trade-marked “Black Heritage Trail.”

The Gateway National Recreation Area provides urban recreation opportunities in and around New York City.  The Jacob Riis Park, on the south side of Jamaica Bay, is a popular beach destination for New Yorkers in the summer.   This cancellation will be located at the rennovated historic bathhouse in the park.

The Toothy T-Rex is 3.5 years old in this picture, about the age George Washington might have walked these very shores of the Potomac River watching tobacco being ferried out to trading ships. Photo from 2014.
The Toothy T-Rex is 3.5 years old in this picture, about the age George Washington would have been when he would  have walked these very shores of the Potomac River watching tobacco being ferried out to trading ships deeper in the river. Photo from 2014.

Finally, the George Washington Birthplace National Monument in Virginia marks the location of the colonial plantation on Popes Creek where George Washington was born.  There is a reconstruction of a period-appropriate plantation house on the site, but more-recent archaeological work indicates that the Augustine Washington Plantation house would actually have looked much different than the reconstruction.  George Washington would live here until he was four, before moving to Ferry Farm near present-day Fredericksburg, Virginia (which like the Birthplace National Monument is also part of the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail.)   Like almost all Virginia plantations of this time period,  Augustine Washington’s Popes Creek plantation would have relied upon slaves, estimated to be about 20-25 slaves in this case.   The replicas of the places where the slaves lived and worked here places this park in the Underground Railroad: Network to Freedom.

Apart from the replica colonial plantation at this site, many visitors may overlook that this park includes a one mile hiking trail through a marsh bordering Popes Creek, as well as a section of beach along the Potomac River.  The Potomac River site is where a young George Washington may have watched tobacco being ferried out to waiting ships in the Potomac River.

The US Army Corps of Engineers' Grand Ecore Visitor Center on the Red River is the newest cancellation location for the Cane River National Heritage Area.
The US Army Corps of Engineers’ Grand Ecore Visitor Center on the Red River is the newest cancellation location for the Cane River National Heritage Area.

Among partnership sites this month, the Cane River National Heritage Area commemorates the unique Creole culture of northwest Louisiana.   The center of the Heritage Area, the town of Natchitoches, has the distinction of being the oldest town in the former Louisiana Purchase, having been founded in 1714, some four years before New Orleans.  It was founded on the banks of the Red River as an outpost for the fur trade with the Spanish in nearby present-day Texas.  The Grand Ecore Visitor Center is a US Army Corps of Engineers facility that interprets the Corps’ management of the Red River, as well as nearby Confederate earthworks from the Civil War. “Ecore” is the French word for “bluffs,” and refers to the bluffs of the Red River on which it is located.

The town of Oregon City, Oregon is located on the southeastern edge of the Portland metro area in Oregon, and is home to the End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center.   Why does the Oregon Trail end in Oregon City, you may ask?  The town of Oregon City was founded as a fur trading outpost and a lumber mill at the confluence of the Clackamas and Willamette Rivers.  At the height of travel on the Oregon Trail, Oregon City was the largest town in the area, and in 1844 it became the administrative capital of the newly-formed Oregon Territory.  It would not be until near the end of the 19th Century that Portland, with its deepwater port, would overtake Oregon City in size.  In addition to the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, Oregon City is also home to the McLoughlin House Unit of Fort Vancouver National Historic Site.  John McLoughlin founded Oregon City while he was with the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1829, and he returned to Oregon City to build this house after leaving the Company in 1846.

Tupelo, Mississippi is home to the tiny Tupelo National Battlefield - and also the birthplace of Elvis Presley!
Tupelo, Mississippi is home to the tiny Tupelo National Battlefield – and also the birthplace of Elvis Presley!

The Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area and the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area are located in in northeast and northwest Mississippi, respectively.   The town of Cleveland, MS is in Bolivar County (which has its own Mississippi Delta NHA cancellation) and is home to the Grammy Museum Mississippi.  This extension of the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles opened March 5, 2016.  The town of Iuka, Mississippi, meanwhile, is located in Tishomingo County (which has its own Mississippi Hills NHA cancellation).   According to its Wikipedia Page, spring water from here won first prize at the St. Louis World’s Fair – so there is that.

Tupelo, Mississippi is the center of the Mississippi Hills NHA.  In addition to hosting the flagship Visitor Center for the Natchez Trace Parkway and the tiny Tupelo National Battlefield,  it is also home to the  privately-held Birthplace of Elvis Presley.  There’s no denying Presley’s enormous impact on American popular culture, but given that most historic sites associated with his life are privately held, the inclusion of a site like this through a National Heritage Area is likely the closest the National Park System will come to including a site devoted to “The King.”

With the new cancellations from March and April added in, there are now 2,006 active  cancellations available.  If you exclude the anniversary and special event cancellations, there are still 1,910 active cancellations available.  Always more to explore!

The Holei Sea Arch is one of the attractions at the end of the Chain of Craters Road in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The Panau Coastal Contact Station at the end of the road is one of the new cancellations now available.
The Holei Sea Arch is one of the attractions at the end of the Chain of Craters Road in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The Panau Coastal Contact Station at the end of the road is one of the new cancellations now available.
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September New Stamps: Devils Hole, Ice Age Floods, and More!

 

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Fort Pulaski National Monument, near Savannah, Georgia, is one of the many parks with a new passport stamp this month.

 

Since I’ve started tracking the monthly releases of new stamps for this blog last year in September, this may be the single biggest month yet.  Indeed, the last few months may be the single-greatest expansion of the stamp program in a three month period, or at the very least, the largest expansion since the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area added 60+ new stamps in a single month back in the winter of 2008.

With such a long list, I am going to break the listings into two parts, starting with the new passport stamp additions for parks that are counted among the 408 units of the U.S. National Park System.

Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area | Charit Creek Lodge

Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park |

  • Ashton, RI
  • Pawtucket, RI
  • RI / MA

Bryce Canyon National Park | Bryce, UT

Death Valley National Park | Devils Hole

Fort Pulaski National Monument | Sutler Store

Mississippi National River and Recreation Area | St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam

There were also two special event stamps discovered this month:

Andersonville National Historic Site | Funeral for 13,000

Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens | Lotus & Water Lilly Festival

Most notable among these new stamps are the three new ones for the Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park.  This is one of the new national parks that was established in last December’s Defense Authorization Act.  In fact, this national park is still so new, that the National Park Service doesn’t even have a website up and running for it, although once the website is ready, it looks like you’ll be able to find it at www.nps.gov/blac*.  Pawtucket, Rhode Island is the home of the Slater Mill, which is arguably the centerpiece of the new national historical park, and has a claim to be one of the birthplaces of the Industrial Revolution in the United States.  Ashton, Rhode Island is the home of Blackstone River State Park, which features a canal towpath and riverwalk, as well as the Captain Wilber Kelly House Museum.

Fort Pulaski National Monument is the local national park in Savannah, Georgia, and is one of several “coastal fortification” sites in the National Park System.  The Sutler Store is the park bookstore, located inside the fort, and previously housed a second copy of the stamps found in the visitor center at the entrace to the fort.  It looks like it will now have a stamp of its own.

The Charit Creek Lodge is one of a handful of unique, backcountry lodges located in the National Park System.  A hiking trip out to this lodge is another good reason for a trip out to Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area.  Meanwhile, the new stamps at Bryce Canyon National Park and Mississippi National River and Recreation Area appear at first glance to simply re-issues of stamps for existing stamp locations.  The St. Anthony Falls Lock & Dam, for example, are located directly behind the Mill City Museum which is a must-see destination for anyone visiting Minneapolis, regardless of whether you are visiting the national parks or collecting the passport stamps.  The Mill City Museum does a really fantastic job telling the story of the Twin Cities, and the history of milling industry in the area.

The Funeral for 13,000 program at Andersonville National Historic Site will commemorate the Civil War dead who are buried there.
The Funeral for 13,000 program at Andersonville National Historic Site will commemorate the Civil War dead who are buried there.

At Andersonville National Historic Site, the “Funeral for 13,000” is a special event held this September to commemorate the burying at the end of the Civil War of the numerous Union soldiers who died there.  According to the park’s website, this will be a very limited-edition cancellation, only available in September – which will surely be frustrating to the “passport completists” out there.   On the other hand, the Lotus and Water Lilly Festival at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in Washington, DC is an annual event held each July – so enthusiasts will have another opportunity to collect that stamp next summer.

Perhaps the most striking of the new stamps, however, is the new stamp for Devil’s Hole at Death Valley National Park.   Devil’s Hole is home to what most scientists consider to be the world’s rarest fish.   The tiny, inch-long, Devil’s Hole pupfish lives nowhere else on earth but this small desert pond of only about 500 square feet in surface area – a space that’s smaller than some master bedrooms that are built these days.

I first learned about Devils Hole when it was mentioned in one of the most memorable and formative stories that I read while growing up.  I suppose it says a lot about me, with no further commentary needed, that I was reading Natural History magazine  on a monthly basis as a teenager.  Make of that what you will, but the January 1993 issue had a haunting article entitled “Species in a Bucket” – the memory of which has still stuck with me.  The subject of this story was a close relative of the Devil’s Hole pupfish, this one called the Owens pupfish.   The story relates an incident from 1969 in which the author, a wildlife biologist, found himself carrying the entire surviving population of Owens pupfish in two buckets in order to save the species from near-certain extinction due to declining water levels in its native habitat.   Fortunately, restoration efforts for this species have led to four established populations, leaving it slightly less-endangered than the Devils Hole pupfish.   Nonetheless, this article is worth reading, and Natural History magazine has made it available for free online, so I encourage you to check it out and see if it impacts you as much as it did my younger self.

P1110786
The St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam are part of the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area in Minneapolis, Minnesota and are commemorated in a new passport stamp this month.

Finally, a number of National Park Service partners also received stamps this month.   Due to limitations of space and time, I’ll simply list them without extensive commentary this month:

Coal National Heritage Area | Princeton Railroad Museum

Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area |

  • Corinth, MS
  • Tishomingo County
  • New Albany, MS
  • Holly Springs, MS
  • DeSoto County
  • Oxford, MS
  • Starkville, MS
  • Columbus, MS

The Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area is located in northeast Missouri.  These eight stamps join two existing stamps for a total of ten.   The awkwardly named  National Coal Heritage Area is located in southern West Virginia, and now has nine active passport stamp locations.

California National Historic Trail | Fort Bridger, WY

Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail | Fort Bridger, WY

Oregon National Historic Trail | Fort Bridger, WY

Pony Express National Historic Trail | Fort Bridger, WY

Pony Express National Historic Trail | St. Joseph, MO

Its worth noting that Fort Bridger is a Wyoming State Historic Site, and was a notable trading outpost on the western trails.   St. Joseph, Missouri is the famous starting point of the short-lived overland mail route.

Santa Fe National Historic Trail | El Rancho de los Golondrias, NM

El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail | New Mexico History Museum, NM

North Country National Sceni Trail | Carlton, MN

Capt. John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail |

  • Havre de Grace, MD
  • Oxon Hill, MD
  • Fort Washington, MD
  • Piscataway Park
  • Smallwood State Park, MD
  • Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum
  • Historic St. Mary’s City, MD
  • Point Lookout State Park, MD
  • Deltaville, VA
  • Urbanna, VA
  • Richmond, VA
  • Onacock, VA

Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail |

  • Montana Natural History Center
  • National Bison Range
  • Fort Spokane
  • Dry Falls State Park
  • Columbia Gorge Discovery Center
  • Multnomah Falls
  • Vista House

This is the second stamp for El Rancho de los Golondrias, which already had a stamp for the El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail.   The town of Santa Fe, New Mexico was a hub of trading activity first for Spanish Mexico, and then for independent Mexico after 1821.  The El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro is literally the “Royal Road to the Interior” and connected the colonial capital of Aguascalientes, located in the center of present-day Mexico, to the trading post of Santa Fe.   Following Mexican independence in 1821, trade was opened with the United States, and the Santa Fe Trail was a trading route from Missouri to Santa Fe.  El Rancho de los Golondrias, literally, “Ranch of the Swallows,” is located about a days’ walk to the south and west of Santa Fe, and so was a popular “last stop” for traders arriving on the camino real for the south.   Its a little surprising to see this location receive a stamp for the Santa Fe NHT, as it does not appear to be located on the trail route itself, located as it is just to the west of Santa Fe.   However, today the site operates as a living history museum, and its possible that they have added some educational exhibits on the Santa Fe Trail, given the site’s proximity to Santa Fe.

For the North Country National Scenic Trail,  Carlton, Minnesota is located just outside of Duluth, on the southwest tip of Lake Superior.  It is located adjacent to Jay Cooke State Park, which has long had a passport stamp reading “Minnesota” on it, and so this is probably its first place-specific passport stamp.

The Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail may bring travelers to discover the landscapes of eastern Washington. Photo from 2004.
The Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail may bring travelers to discover the landscapes of eastern Washington. Photo from 2004.

 

Finally, perhaps the highlight of this month’s stamps are the first seven stamps for the Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail.   Imagine a lake larger than the State of Delaware and more than twice as deep as Lake Superior suddenly letting loose in a massive flood, sending all that water racing at once across hundreds of miles towards the ocean.  The force an power of these floods would surely alter the shape of the landscape for thousands of years to come!  Geologists tell us that that is exactly what happened approximately 12,000 years ago on the plains of western Montana and easter Washington.

In fact, geologists tell us that similar events happened several times during the previous 5,000 years.  The sources of these floods were water and ice from the melting glaciers of the last ice age.  Periodically, ice would form a natural dam in a valley, causing a large lake to form.   When the ice dam would melt or break, the lake would drain – sometimes violently.

The largest of the floods, which I described above, was also one of the last such floods.  Geologists call the source of this flood Glacial Lake Missoula, and when the ice gave way, it let loose at speeds up to 45 miles an hour.  At its peak, the flood may have released a torrent of water at the rate of 400 million cubic feet of water per second.   As a comparison, the Amazon River only flows at 6 million cubic feet per second.

Its not known if any human had yet arrived in the area to witness this cataclysmic event.   Archeologists date the first arrival of humans in the United States right around 12,000 years ago as well.  If any early settlers were in the area, the sheer noise of this event must have been as terrifying as the scouring of the landscape.

Congress established the Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail in 2009, and this is the first trail to bear the designation “National Geologic Trail.”  Its obviously been quite an effort to get this first National Geologic Trail up and running – but the release of these seven passport stamps is perhaps the first indication that this program is open and ready for discovery.

With this month’s additions there are now 1,981 active passport cancellations to collect.  Excluding anniversary and special-event stamps, there are 1,883 passport stamps.

Source:  Weis, Paul and William L. Newman. The Channeled Scablands of Eastern Washington: The Geologic Story of the Spokane Flood 2nd Edition. U.S. Department of the Interior and Eastern Washington University Press.  1999.

Update (September 2016): The Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park now has its own website, separate from the National Heritage Corridor.  It can be found at http://www.nps.gov/blrv 

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November Stamps: 1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi….

Davis Bayou-001
Davis Bayou in Gulf Islands National Seashore is one of 19 new Passport locations in Mississippi this month.  Photo credit: NPS.gov.

 

Eastern National has released its list of new stamps for the month of November, and its a big month for the State of Mississippi.

For starters, the Gulf Islands National Seashore has two new stamps:

  • one for Opal Beach in Florida, and
  • one ofr Davis Bayou in Mississippi.

These two additions give the park a total of 10 stamps available to collect.

The Gulf Islands National Seashore is primarily known for pristine white sand beaches on coastal barrier islands in the Florida Panhandle and coastal Mississippi.  (Interestingly, the park does not include any lands in Alabama in between the two.)   Opal Beach is one of those gorgeouse stretches of white sand, on the eastern end of Santa Rosa Island, just outside of Pensacola, Florida.

In addition to the beaches, however, Gulf Islands National Seashore also preserves some of the natural coastal habitat on the mainland.   Davis Bayou is one of these areas, located just outside of the park’s secondary visitor center in Ocean Springs, Mississippi.

The State of Mississippi also gets a number of new additions as the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area has decided to add  18 new Passport cancellations.  These new cancellations will join the existing stamp for “The Mississippi Delta” available at the Heritage Area Headquarters at Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi.   The new stamps are as follows:

  • Bolivar County
  • Carroll County
  • Coahoma County
  • DeSoto County
  • Holmes County
  • Humphreys County
  • Issaquena County
  • Leflore County
  • Panola County
  • Quitman County
  • Sharkey County
  • Sunflower County
  • Tallahatchie County
  • Tate County
  • Tunica County
  • Warren County
  • Washington County
  • Yazoo County

Based on this list, it seems likely that each of these new stamps will be located at the local County Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center in each of the counties located within the Heritage Area, all in northwest Mississippi.  This is a not-uncommon arrangement for Heritage Areas participating in the Passport Program, as there is a natural desire to spread participation out over all areas included in the Heritage Area’s partnership program.   For what its worth, I’m not particularly a fan of that arrangement.   I would much rather have seen the Heritage Area pick out the dozen-or-so most-significant places in the Mississippi Delta, regardless of county, than distribute them evenly.  For example, a stamp at the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale, Mississippi would  be much more meaningful to met than simply making a stamp for Coahoma County at the Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center.   Still, these new 18 passport stamps will take passport stamp collectors throughout a part of the country that many of them would probably have been unlikely to visit otherwise – which has always been one of the main points of the program.

The Mississippi Delta NHA is one of three national heritage areas in the state of Mississippi.   The Mississippi Gulf Coast National Heritage Area has 20 stamps in the southern part of the stamp, and the Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area has just two stamps (so far) in the northeast part of the state.

Finally, there were two other new major stamps.   One was for the newly-dedicated American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial in Washington, DC, which is part of the catchall National Capital Parks unit of the U.S. National Park System.   The other is a new stamp for Great Smoky Mountains Naitonal Park and Bryson City, NC.   Bryson City is the gateway to the Deep Creek area in the northwest corner of the park.

With these new additions, that now takes us up to 1,939 activie Passport cancellations available.   Slowly closing in on 2,000!

 

 

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