Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area | Ottawa, IL
California National Historic Trail | Lassen Volcanic NP, CA
California National Historic Trail | Fort Kearny SHP, NE
Oregon National Historic Trail | Fort Kearny SHP, NE
Pony Express National Historic Trail | Fort Kearny SHP, NE
The government shutdown in early 2019 significantly reduced the normal creation of new Parks Passport cancellation stamps, with no new additions in both February and in April.
The new additions are headlined by three official cancellations for the Aviation National Heritage Area, which is centered around the Dayton Aviation National Historical Park in Dayton, Ohio. The Armstong Air and Space Museum is located about an hour north of Dayton in Wapakoneta – the home town of the first man to walk on the moon. It contains memorabilia related to the life and achievements of Neil Armstong, as we all as other exhibits related to the history of the space program. This new cancellation would be a great way to celebrate the upcoming 50th Anniversary of Armstrong becoming the first human to set foot on another world on July 20, 1969.
The Woodland Cemetery and Arboretum in Dayton itself contains the graves of Orville and Wilbur Wright. It also contains the grave of Charles Kettering, a notable inventor whose accomplishments include developing the first aerial missile. The Wright B Flyer Museum in nearby Miamisburg, south of Dayton, displays and operates a replica of the Wright Brothers’ first production aircraft – the “Model B.”
The Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail has added fave stamps this month. Four are new stamps in the state of Montana, and the fifth is just an update to one of its stamps in Iowa. The Lewis & Clark Center in Sioux City, Iowa interprets the Corps of Discovery’s late summer encampment there. The only death on the expedition occurred there when one Sargent Charles Floyd died, most likely due to appendicitis. As for the four new stamps in Montana, the Fort Peck Dam has an interpretive center for the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Montana, which contains a particularly undeveloped stretch of the trail route along the Missouri River. The town of Fort Benton in central Montana is the home of Montana’s state memorial to the Lewis & Clark expedition. The Canyon Ferry Dam in the state capital of Helena also provides interpretation of the Corps of Discovery. The Yellowstone Gateway Museum in the town of Livingston on Interstate 90 interprets the return trip of the explorers.
The Shirley House in Vicksburg National Military Park in Mississippi is the only surviving structure from the Civil War era left in the park. This cancellation joins the existing cancellations for the main park visitor center, as well as for the museum preserving the Civil War-era ironclad, the U.S.S. Cairo.
Fort Kearny in central Nebraska is preserved as a Nebraska State Park. This U.S. Army outpost was a waystation first on the Oregon Trail, then the California Trail, and then finally for the Pony Express riders. Somewhat confusingly, Fort Kearny State Historical Park is located near the town of Kearney, Nebraska. The Fort was named after an officer in the U.S. Army by the name of Stephen Watts Kearny, and the town was named after the fort. Apparently at some point in the 19th Century, a well-meaning post office worker misspelled the name of the town as “Kearney” and the misspelled name stuck.
The California Trail also gets a new cancellation this month commemorating one of the alternate routings west, this one going through present-day Lassen Volcanic National Park.
Cover Photo Credit of the Armstrong Museum: Kremerbi [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]
California National Historic Trail | NHT Interpretive Center, WY
Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail | NHT Interpretive Center, WY
Oregon National Historic Trail | NHT Interpretive Center, WY
El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail | The Stone Fort Museum, TX
Old Spanish National Historic Trail | Canyons of the Ancients VC & Museum
Trail of Tears National Historic Trail |
New Echota-Cherokee Capital SHS, GA
Shiloh NMP, TN
All of this month’s stamps represent replacements for existing cancellation locations.
Redwood National Park in northern California is a mix of Federal and State Park land preserving groves of coastal redwoods, including the tallest trees in the world. The Kuchel Visitor Center is located outside the small town of Orick, California. It is the primary visitor center for accessing the southern portion of Redwood National Park, which includes the bulk of the federal lands. The southern portion of Redwood National Park also includes the popular Lady Bird Johnson Trail and the four-mile Tall Trees Trail (free permit required.) The Hiouichi Visitor Center is located in the northern portion of the Park, which is primarily composed of state park land. The Hiouichi Visitor Center is located just outside of Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park (Parkasaurus | September 2016). The northern portion of the park also includes Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, which does not have a visitor center of its own.
The National Historic Trails Interpretive Center opened in Casper, Wyoming in 2002. It tells the story of the four National Historic Trails that run concurrently through most of Wyoming from the Wyoming-Nebraska border to Fort Bridger in the southwestern corner of the state: the Oregon, California, Mormon Pioneer, and Pony Express National Historic Trails. I’ve not been able to determine why only three of the four trails covered at the Center received new stamps this month. The Center does have a cancellation for the Pony Express National Historic Trail, but its a generic stamp listing all states through which the trail passes, and is not place-specific like the others. Hopefully the National Trails Office will issue a place specific stamp for the Pony Express Trail at the Center in the months ahead.
The Stone Fort Museum can be found on the campus of Stephen F. Austin University. Originally built sometime around 1790 on the El Camino Real de los Tejas, the Spanish colonial house acquired its nickname after playing a minor role in the Texas Revolution. The name of the trail translates as “The Royal Road to the Texas”, and commemorates the major Spanish trading route from colonial Mexico through Texas to present-day northwest Louisiana on the Mississippi River. The current structure is actually a replica of the original, built in 1936 for Texas’ Centennial.
The Canyons of the Ancients National Monument was established in 2000 to protect 32 million acres of landscape in southwestern Colorado. Much of that area is rich in Ancestral Puebloan archeological sites. In fact, three sites in that area had previously been designated as outlying areas of Hovenweep National Monument. The area also includes the path of the Old Spanish Trail, which once connected Santa Fe and Los Angeles. The Bureau of Land Management has actually operated the “Anasazi Heritage Center” to tell the stories of these archeological resources since 1988. The Center then became the Visitor Center for the National Monument upon its establishment in 2000. However, the word Anasazi is actually a Navajo word meaning “ancient enemy.” Thus, the modern-day Puebloans who are descended from the Ancestral Puebloans, discourage the use of the word Anasazi. Thus, the new stamp this month reflects that in April, the Anasazi Heritage Center was renamed as the Canyons of the Ancients Visitor Center and Museum, in respect of the wishes of the modern-day Pueblo Indians.
Pittsburg Landing was an area of relatively flat land on either side of the Tennessee River in southern Tennessee, which made it an important crossing point. This crossing point was used by southeastern American Indians being forced westward on the Trail of Tears, and by the Union Army heading south during the Civil War. The Union Army crossed the Tennessee at Pittsburg Landing on their way to the Confederate railroad junction at Corinth, Mississippi. This led immediately to the battle we now know as Shiloh (or Shiloh Church) as Confederate forces sought unsuccessfully to halt the Union Advance. On the first day of battle, the Union Army was pushed back to the Tennessee River, where their defence was reinforced by shelling from two Union gunboats in the river. Nevertheless, after capturing supplies the Union camps during the day, the Confederate generals felt sure that victory would be imminent the next day. However, during the night Grant’s reinforcements arrived, and around 24,000 troops came across the river at Pittsburg Landing overnight, allowing the Union Army to turn the tide of the battle the next morning.
Interestingly, this battle seems to violate the usual rule-of-thumb that Civil War battles are known by the name used by the side holding the field at the end of the engagement. The name “Battle of Pittsburg Landing” was commonly used in the north (which typically used the name of water features), but the name “Battle of Shiloh” was commonly used in the north (which typically used the name of towns.) However, the name “Battle of Shiloh” is the one that stuck in this case. The new stamp replaces the name of the river crossing used in the Trail of Tears with the name of Shiloh National Military Park, where it is now located.
In 1825, the town of New Echota in northern Georgia was established as the capital of the Cherokee Nation. It served as the capital, including the Cherokee legislature, executive, and courts until the removal of the Cherokee on the Trail of Tears in 1832. It was during this time that the Cherokee Sequoyah developed the written Cherokee language, bringing literacy to the Cherokee people – something that was still uncommon even among the Americans of European descent in the area at that time. The site of the Cherokee capital was reconstructed by the State of Georgia in the 1950’s, and opened to the public as a Georgia State Park in 1962.
James A. Garfield National Historic Site | Underground RR Freedom Network
Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area | Circle X Ranch
California National Historic Trail | Echo Information Center, UT
Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail | Echo Information Center, UT
Pony Express National Historic Trail | Echo Information Center, UT
Highlighting this month’s stamps are a set of five new stamps for the U.S. Civil Rights Trail partnership program. The U.S. Civil Rights Trail, which was just launched in 2017, actually has nothing to do with the National Historic Trails that so frequently feature in these regular passport cancellation update blog posts. A National Historic Trail can only be designated by Congress, and must reflect a route whose significance arises from actually being used in history. The U.S. Civil Rights Trail, however, is instead a branding mechanism to encourage both Americans and international tourists to explore the historic legacy of the 20th Century struggle for African-American civil rights in this country.
This program actually originated in an effort by the Obama Administration to identify additional American sites for recognition as World Heritage Sites by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO.) Despite the vast natural, historic, and cultural heritage of the United States, this country currently only has 23 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. That total is tied for just 10th most in the world with Iran, and behind such countries as Italy (#1 with 54 sites), Spain (47 sites), and Mexico (34 sites.) The idea of the US Civil Rights Trail is to connect together all of the significant sites associated with the civil rights movement, that might ultimately become suitable for nomination to be recognized as a World Heritage Site. UNESCO encourages such “serial nominations” that include multiple related and thematically connected locations together as a single “site,” so the concept of the US Civil Rights Trail could well boost the United States’ chances of being so recognized.
Currently, the US Civil Rights Trail actually includes nearly 100 different places in 14 primary destination cities, as well as in dozens of secondary destination cities. Some of the 14 primary destination cities need little introduction to anyone with even a cursory knowledge of the history of the civil rights movement, including Atlanta, Birmingham, Memphis, and Washington. Others included in the 14 primary destination cities may be less familiar. Farmville, Virginia was the site of a school desegregation case that was ultimately rolled into the more famous Brown v. Board of Education case from Topeka, Kansas. Sumner, Mississippi is part of the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area and was the site of the infamous murder of Emmitt Till (January 2017 Parkasaurus). Greensboro, North Carolina was the site of the first sit-in at a Woolworth’s lunch counter.
This month’s batch of new cancellations for the US Civil Rights Trail covers the fully-operational National Park Service sites in the National Park Service’s Southeast Region. The Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park in Atlanta, Georgia preserves both the home where the famed civil rights activist grew up and the Church where he first began to preach, and also has a fantastic visitor center. In an innovative approach, the visitor center includes a number of kiosks where you can actually hear the words of Martin Luther King from records of his speeches, and you can wander in and out of them as you browse the exhibits.
Eventually, National Park Service sites that are included in the US Civil Rights Trail, but are located outside the Southeast Region may eventually also request cancellations for the US Civil Rights Trail. As of this writing, that list would include:
Brown v Board of Education National Historic Site in Topeka, Kansas;
Gateway Arch National Park in St. Louis, Missouri (site of the courthouse where the original trial that became the landmark Supreme Court case Dred Scott v Sanford was argued);
the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC (site of Marian Anderson’s famous concert after she was denied access to Constitution Hall, and of course, of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech (Parkasaurus | March 2015);
Among the other stamps this month is a new cancellation for the Alaska Public Lands Information Center in Anchorage, Alaska which provides information on all sorts of public lands in south-central Alaska. This location had already been a cancellation location for the Iditarod National Historic Trail and for Lake Clark National Park & Preserve. Now it gets a cancellation of its own.
The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area was established in 1978 in suburban Los Angeles as part of the movement to establish urban National Recreation Areas. Like many newer national parks, this area is largely run in partnerships with the state of California, local governments, universities, and private land holders. In fact, the National Park Service actually only controls just a bit more than 23,000 of this park’s nearly 157,000 acres, which is just 15% of the total land. The Circle X Ranch is among those federally-managed parcels of land. The Ranch was formerly a Boy Scout Camp, but now serves as the only National Park Service-managed campground within the park.
The Echo Canyon Information Center is a highway rest area accessible from westbound Interstate 80 in eastern Utah. It formerly had stamps for the California, Mormon Pioneer, and Pony Express National Historic Trails from 2011 until the center temporarily closed in 2016. Now that the center has reopened, it has a new set of Passport cancellations.
Finally, there are are six stamps that have been removed from the list this month.
El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail | El Camino Real Int’l Heritage Ctr, NM
Trail of Tears National Historic Trail | Junaluska Memorial & Museum, NC
California National Historic Trail | Salt Lake City, UT
Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail | Salt Lake City, UT
Oregon National Historic Trail | Salt Lake City, UT
Pony Express National Historic Trail | Salt Lake City, UT
The El Camino Real Heritage Center in central New Mexico and the Intermountain Region Trails Office are both temporarily closed for rennovations. The Memorial and Museum to Cherokee Chief Junaluska, who fought with Andrew Jackson at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, in Robbinsville, North Carolina was damaged several years ago during severe storms and has been closed indefinitely.
Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area | Charleston, IL
Oil Region National Heritage Area |
Oil City, PA
Drake Well Museum
Pumping Jack Museum
DeBence Antique Music World
National Aviation Heritage Area | WACO Air Museum
El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail | Albuquerque Museum, NM
North Country National Scenic Trail | Jay Cooke State Park, MN
Oregon National Historic Trail |
Homestead NM of America, NE
McLoughlin House, OR
Harry S Truman NHS, MO
Pony Express National Historic Trail |
B. F. Hastings Building, CA
Fort Sedgwick Museum, CO
Pony Express National Museum
Old Sacramento Visitor Center, CA
Santa Fe National Historic Trail | Bent’s Old Fort NHS, CO
Trail of Tears National Historic Trial |
Great Smoky Mountains NP – Oconoaluftee, NC
Great Smoky Mountains NP – Sugarlands, TN
Hidden Springs, Shawnee NF, IL
Mississippi Bluffs, Shawnee NF, IL
Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail | St. Mary’s County Museum Division, MD
Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail | St. Mary’s County Museum Division, MD
Underground Railroad Freedom Network | St. Mary’s County Museum Division, MD
As I get caught up, I am going to combine two months of stamps from last winter.
The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area straddles the border between Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and provides a relatively close National Park experience for millions of residents in the New York and Pennsylvania metro areas, as well as millions more residents of eastern Pennsylvania and central New Jersey. The park has historically had six cancellation locations, and this months listings simply represent a “reboot” of the same six cancellation locations, with a consistent lexicon for each location on the bottoms of the new stamps.
More interesting are the new stamps for Everglades National Park. This park already has six cancellation locations, including one at each of this massive national park’s five visitor centers. The sixth is for the Nike Missile Site, which was added in January 2016. The three new additions this month are for each of the three authorized airboat tour operators within Everglades National Park. So getting a complete set of Passport cancellations for this Park will now require visiting each of the three authorized airboat concessionaires. I’m trying to think of a parallel for placing Passport cancellations at multiple concessionaires, but I think that this may be a first.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has been much in the news lately for the ongoing volcanic eruption that closed most of the park for several months in 2018. The Kahuku Unit, however, is an outlying area of the park, away from the main crater of Kilauea. It is one of the only parts of the park that was able to remain open during the eruption event.
A highlight of this group of stamps are the first five stamps for the Oil Region National Heritage Area, which previously did not have any passport cancellation locations. The headquarters of the Oil Region Alliance are located in Oil City, PA, along with the Venango Museum of Art, Science, and Industry. The Drake Well Museum, the fist commercially-successful oil well, is just to the north in the town of Titusville, Pennsylvania. The Pumping Jack Museum, dedicated to the symbol of oil wells everywhere, can be found in the town of Emlemton, Pennsylvania. Finally, the DeBence Antique Music World is a museum dedicated to antique mechanical musical instruments in the town of Franklin.
The National Aviation Heritage Area has had a number of unofficial passport cancellations for its “Wil-bear Wright Passport Program” (a special program specific to the National Heritage Area) for a number of years, but the new stamp for the WACO Air Museum in Troy, Ohio is its first official Passport to Your National Parks cancellation. The museum is dedicated to the history of the historic WACO Air Company; for a time it was the largest manufacturer of civil aircraft in the country during the early days in the history of aviation.
Statue of Liberty National Monument | Ellis Island Immigration Station
California National Historic Trail | Alexander Majors House, MO
Oregon National Historic Trail | Alexander Majors House, MO
Pony Express National Historic Trail | Alexander Majors House, MO
Old Spanish National Historic Trail |
Moab Field Office, UT
Fish Lake Lodge, UT
The highlight of this month’s listings are three new stamps for the Alexander Majors House, just south of Kansas City. This site previously had a stamp for the Santa Fe National Historic Trail, and now adds stamps for three others. The Oregon and California National Historic Trails all follow the same route as the Santa Fe Trail from the city of Independence just east of Kansas City, around the southern end of the city, and into the Great Plains. The city of Independence owes its origins to being the westernmost point on the Missouri River accessible by steamships. The nearby city of Kansas City would later overtake it, first due to its position at the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri Rivers, and later due to the locating of a major railroad bridge across the Missouri River at Kansas City. The stories of Independence and Kansas City remind a bit of the stories of St. Paul and Minneapolis in Minnesota. St. Paul is the northernmost navigable point on the Mississippi River, and so was a major shipping center. Minneapolis, however, is located on St. Anthony Falls, which powered the milling industry.
The addition of the Pony Express National Historic Trail cancellation is a bit more interesting than the first two trails, as the Pony Express trail begins more than 60 miles to the north in the city of St. Joseph, Missouri. The explanation for this stamp being located an hour’s drive away from the trail that it commemorates is explained by Alexander Majors himself – as he was one of three Kansas City businessmen who founded the Pony Express. Majors made his initial fortune hauling freight on the Santa Fe Trail and proposed the Pony Express to more than halve the then-25 day time for mail deliveries to California by conestoga wagon along the southerly Butterfield Overland Mail Route. The Pony Express would follow a new northerly route through Salt Lake City to Sacramento and San Francisco, and of course, make innovative use of relay teams of ponies. Unfortunately for Majors, within just a couple years, the development telegraph and the railroad spelled the doom not only of the Pony Express, but of Majors’ Santa Fe Trail operations as well. Majors ultimately died penniless – but not before helping launch the career of Buffalo Bill Cody, an assistant on his Santa Fe Trail operations who went on to become one of his most famous Pony Express riders
Alexander Majors’ House is now preserved as a historic site on the southern side of Kansas City and is run by a non-profit foundation that also operates the John Wornall House from the same era.
Finally, the Statue of Liberty National Monument has updated its cancellation for the historic Ellis Island Immigration Station. The majestic statue itself is, of course, the symbol of America’s welcome to overseas immigrants. The old Ellis Island Immigration Station is also part of this national park, and now hosts the fantastic Ellis Island Immigration Museum, which tells the story of all US immigrant people, but primarily those who arrived through the Ellis Island Immigration Station in the early 20th Century.
Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site | 10th Anniversary 2007-2017
First State National Historical Park |
New Castle Court House
The Green – New Castle
Minuteman Missile National Historic Site | South Dakota
Hopewell Culture National Historical Park | Camp Sherman
Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area |
Mt. Pulaski, IL
Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area |
Museum of the Mississippi Delta
Robert Johnson Gravesite
California National Historic Trail | Hollenberg Pony Express Station SHS
Oregon National Historic Trail | Hollenberg Pony Express Station SHS
Pony Express National Historic Trail | Hollenberg Pony Express Station SHS
Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site may only be ten years old in 2017, but this is already their second anniversary stamp. In 2014, they had a stamp commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the massacre of a camp of Cheyenne Indians by Colorado soldiers in 1864. This park immediately retired that 150th Anniversary stamp as soon as the calendar turned to 2015, so if you want to collect this anniversary cancellation, you’ll probably need to trek out to eastern Colorado before the year is out.
For First State National Historical Park, the New Castle Courthouse stamp is simply a replacement for the existing stamp reading “New Castle, DE” on the bottom. The New Castle Courthouse is where Delaware seceded from Great Britain in 1775, and is also the baseline for Delaware’s curved border with Pennsylvania, which is 12 miles from the courthouse. The other stamp is for the New Castle Green and will be located at the New Castle Historical Society’s Visitor Center in The Arsenal. A great summary of the history of New Castle Green can be found in this blog post from the official Delaware State Government blog. This new addition for New Castle Green gives First State NHP a total of 8 active cancellations.
Hopewell Culture National Historical Park in south-central Ohio was officially established to interpret the archeological remains of a 2,000-year-old Indian civilization that archeologists refer to as “the Hopewell Culture,” since they did not leave behind a written language recording their own name for themselves. However, 100 years ago, part of the land that is now the national park was included in the then newly-designated Camp Sherman to gather and train US troops for the war effort. This new cancellation is timely, as it coincides with the 100th Anniversary of the U.S. entering the first World War in 1917, and with Hopewell Culture National Historical Park stepping up its interpretation of the small role it played in the First World War.
The Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area, which is run by the Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition, covers some 40 counties in central Illinois. Previously, this Heritage Area had only a single cancellation, for the Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield, IL. These 15 additional cancellations cover the heritage area’s official gateway cities of Alton, Bloomington, Danville, and Quincy. These cancellations also cover several other partner sites, including the Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic Site in Lerna, where Lincoln’s father and stepmother lived once he was a grown man in Springfield. Also included are several sites associated with Lincoln practicing law, including those in Mt. Pualski, Pittsfield, and Taylorville. The remainder of the sites appear to be primarily associated with more-general history and visitation of the area, the most notable of which is the Joseph Smith Historic Site in Nauvoo, which is also the starting point for the Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail.
The Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area has been steadily adding stamps since joining the Passport Program in November 2014. You can find the Parkasaurus write-up for all the previous additions here. Particularly notable this month is the addition of a stamp for Bryant’s Grocery. In August 1955, a 14-year-old teenager from Chicago named Emmett Till was visiting his family in the small town of Money, Mississippi. On that trip, an incident with a white woman, Carolyn Bryant, at Bryant’s Grocery, led to Till being murdered by Ms. Bryant’s husband, Roy Bryant and his half-brother, John W. Milam. Despite ample evidence, Bryant and Milam were acquitted by the all-white jury after a little more than an hour of deliberations. You can read more details on the events of the case in this account from famous-trials.com.
The other three stamps for the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area this month can all be found in the town of Greenwood, Mississippi, which is just 17 miles to the south of Money. Fort Pemberton was the site of a minor Confederate victory as part of the Vicksburg campaign. The Museum of the Mississippi Delta comprehensively covers the human and natural history of the region. Robert Johnson was a renowned blues artist, and the most-likely site of his burial is Little Zion Missionary Baptist Church on Money Road in Greenwood.
Finally, the Hollenberg Pony Express Station State Historic Site is located just east of the town of Hanover in northern Kansas. The ranch was founded by Gerat Hollenberg in 1857 as a trading post on the Oregon and California Emigrant Trails. By 1860 it became an official station on the Pony Express, and is one of the few remaining original Pony Express stations.Share this Parkasaurus post: Follow Parkasaurus:
Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor | Stephen & Harriet Myers Residence
Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area | Stephen & Harriet Myers Residence
Oregon National Historic Trail |
Craters of the Moon NM & PRES
Fossil Butte NM
Pony Express National Historic Trail | Camp Floyd State Park
The Lolo Pass in Idaho is where the Lewis & Clark expedition made a treacherous mountain crossing in September 1805, despite the early onset of winter weather. This stamp will be available at the US Forest Service’s Lolo Pass Visitor Center on US Route 12. The new stamp for the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail finally replaces a previous stamp that had been available here from 2004 to 2007. In addition, this site has had a stamp for the Nez Perce National Historic Trail since 2011.
The new North Country National Scenic Trail replaces a previous stamp reading simply “New York” on the bottom that had been available at both the US Forest Service Finger Lakes Ranger Station in the town of Hector, NY as well as at Fort Stanwix National Monument in Rome, NY. The “New York” stamp is still available at Fort Stanwix.
The Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site preserves a small section of what was originally a 36 mile railroad using a series of cables to carry canal boats over the Allegheny Mountains between separate sections of the Pennsylvania Canal. Operating from 1834 to 1854, until steam engines rendered the system of canal boats and cables obsolete, the railroad is known to also have been used by slaves attempting to escape to freedom; hence its inclusion in the Underground Railroad Freedom Network.
Meanwhile, the main route of the Oregon National Historic Trail passes some 60 miles to the south of the 50 million year-old fossils of Fossil Butte National Monument at Fort Bridger and Fort Bridger State Historic Site. However, an alternate route, known as the Sublette Cutoff, passes within just 5 miles of the park, and the park has recently added the Oregon Trail to its interpretive activities. Interestingly, the nearest town to Fossil Butte is Kemmerer, Wyoming, which is the home of the original J.C. Penney store.
Finally, Camp Floyd State Park preserves a historic stagecoach inn, just south of the Salt Lake City metro area in the town of Fairfield. Camp Floyd is one of the first stops where the Pony Express National Historic Trail diverges from the California National Historic Trail. The California Trail, which took 49ers to the gold fields of California, roughly follows the route of what is now Interstate 80 across northern Utah and Nevada. The Pony Express Trail, however, took a route that was roughly 50 miles to the south, a route that doesn’t appear to have translated into our modern road system.
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.
Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park |
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.
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.
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
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
Smallwood State Park, MD
Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum
Historic St. Mary’s City, MD
Point Lookout State Park, MD
Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail |
Montana Natural History Center
National Bison Range
Dry Falls State Park
Columbia Gorge Discovery Center
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.
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/blrvShare this Parkasaurus post: Follow Parkasaurus: