Tag Archives: Santa Fe NHT

June 2018 – Hopewell Furnace Expands & More!

Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site in Pennsylvania headlines the list of this month’s new stamps. Photo from 2012.

Acadia National Park | Duck Harbor

Great Smoky Mountains National Park | Sevierville Visitor Center

Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site |

  • Buckley & Brooke Office & Store
  • 80th Anniversary 1958-2018

Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail |

  • Historic Winter Quarters, NE
  • Sixth Crossing, WY
  • Church History Museum, UT

Old Spanish National Historic Trail

  • Fishlake National Forest – Gooseberry, UT
  • Museum of Moab, UT

Oregon National Historic Trail | Three Island Crossing SP, ID

Santa Fe National Historic Trail | Cimarron Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center, NM

Trail of Tears National Historic Trail | History Museum on the Square, MO

The Buckley & Brooke Store is a new cancellation location at Hopewell Furance National Historic Site. Photo from 2017

The highlight of this month’s stamps are two new cancellations for the Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site, located about an hour’s drive to the west of Philadelphia.  Hopewell Furnace is one of three national park system sites with a primary interpretive theme on the history of ironworking.   The first is the Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site, located just northeast of Boston.  The Saugus Iron Works were the first iron-making facility in the English Colonies, and operated in the mid-1600’s from 1646 to approximately 1670.  The Hopewell Furnace was founded a full century later in 1771.  It operated using charcoal for heat all the way until 1883 when coal-powered steel mills began to take over.  The Tredegar Iron Works were founded in 1831, and are today preserved as the main visitor facility for Richmond National Battlefield Park in Richmond, Virginia. The Tredegar Iron Works were the largest in the Confederate States, and were a critical armory to the Confederate war effort. Like Hopewell, Tredegar faded from prominence with the introduction of steel in the late 19th Century, but did manage to stay in operation through both World Wars and into the mid-20th Century.  The story of the transition to steel can be visited through the National Park Service’s Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area in western Pennsylvania.

The first new stamp for Hopewell Furnace of course commemorates the 80th anniversary of the park’s establishment.  The second is for one of the historic buildings preserved in the park, the Buckley & Brooke Office and Store.  In its heyday, Hopewell Furnace functioned as a self-contained company town in which the workers were paid by the company, and in turn bought much of what they needed from the company.  The company town concept bears a lot of similarities to the Blue Heron coal mining community at Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area in southeastern Kentucky.

If you visit Hopewell Furnace today, you can of course tour the historic buildings, including the historic furnace that is the centerpiece of the park, as well as of course the historic company store and the historic ironmaster’s house.  There are also farm buildings with livestock, which are always a hit with little kids, as well as reconstructed charcoal huts where the charcoal was made that powered the iron furnace.  It is hard to believe today, with Hopewell Furnace largely surrounded by the well-forested French Creek State Park but in the heyday of the Furnace, this area would have been nearly clear cut to fuel the furnace’s continuous need for charcoal.  An exception to that, however, would have been the iron-making community’s fruit orchards – and a visit to Hopewell Furnace in the late summer and early fall can provide the unique opportunity to go apple-picking in a national park, including many heirloom varieties.

Acadia National Park gets an updated cancellation this month for Duck Harbor on Isle au Haut. This photo, from the Schoodic Peninsula is from 2015.

The new stamp for Acadia National Park appears to be an update to the existing stamp for Isle au Haut.  Isle au Haut is a small outlying island, which is only accessible by ferry from the coastal town of Stonington.  Around half of the island is set aside as an outlying unit of Acadia National Park.  Duck Harbor is about four miles from the town of Isle au Haut and is the location of the National Park Service campground and the National Park Service trailheads for the island.

The town of Sevierville in Tennessee is one of many gateway communities to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  The towns of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are located just outside the park’s main visitor center, and are notorious for their crushing traffic congestion.  Sevierville is located at the junction of US Route 441 and Tennessee Route 66, and is a convenient place for the National Park Service to provide information to incoming travelers heading towards the Great Smoky Mountains just before they would reach Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg,

Notable also this month are stamps for three very significant locations on the Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail.  The Mormon Trail Center at Historic Winter Quarters in Omaha, Nebraska commemorates the settlement where the original group of Mormon Pioneers spent the winter of 1846-1847 after being expelled from Nauvoo, Illinois. (See Parkasaurus for June 2017.)  The new Sixth Crossing Visitors Center in Lander, Wyoming marks the difficult crossing of the Sweetwater River by  a later group of Mormon Pioneers in October 1856.  Hit by an early season snowstorm, this group of settlers ultimately had to be rescued  at this spot by supplies of food and clothing sent from Salt Lake City.  Finally, the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City, Utah comprehensively tells the story of the Church of Latter-Day Saints.

The Old Spanish National Historic Trail had just added stamps in Moab, Utah and for the Fish Lake National Forest in April 2018.  This first of this month’s stamps appear to be headed for the US Forest Service Offices for Fish Lake National Forest, in addition to the previous stamp for Fish Lake Resorts.  The second stamp is headed to the the Museum of Moab, Utah – the gateway community for Arches and Canyonlands National Parks.  The town of Moab now has four different cancellation locations for the Old Spanish National Historic Trail, as this cancellation joins existing ones at Arches National Park, the Bureau of Land Management Moab Field Office, and the town of Moab Information Center.  Unfortunately, and strangely, the Museum of Moab is closed until September 2019.  Go figure.

Idaho’s Three Island Crossing State Park features an Oregon Trail History and Education Center.  It was an important crossing of the Snake River for settlers on the Oregon National Historic Trail.

The Cimarron Chamber of Commerce has an updated Santa Fe National Historic Trail stamp this month. Photo from 2015.

The new stamp for the Cimarron Chamber of Commerce replaces an existing stamp reading “Cimarron, NM” for the Santa Fe National Historic Trail, which passed through the area.  Many readers may be familiar with the town of Cimarron, New Mexico as also being the gateway to the famed Philmont Scout Ranch, operated by the Boy Scouts of America.

The History Museum on the Square can be found in Springfield, Missouri.  The Museum is dedicated to the entire history of the city in southwest Missouri, including the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail and Route 66, which also passed through the area.

Finally two stamps were actually removed from the Eastern National list this month.

El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail | Santa Fe, NM

El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail | Santa Fe, NM

These removals reflect the temporary closure of the Santa Fe Offices where the stamps had been housed.  Following rennovations, it is likely that the stamps will be reissued once the office reopens.

Final Shot: The town square in Cimarron, New Mexico. Photo from 2015.
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January & February 2018 – Delaware Water Gap Reboot, Everglades Airboats, & More

The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area in Pennsylvania and New Jersey has rebooted its passport program this month. Photo from 2012.

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area |

  • Park Headquarters
  • Pocono Environmental Education Center
  • Dingmans Falls Visitor Center
  • Peters Valley School of Craft
  • Millbrook Village General Store
  • Kittatiny Point Visitor Center

Everglades National Park |

  • Coopertown
  • Everglades Safari Park
  • Gator Park

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park | Kahuku Unit

Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area | Charleston, IL

Oil Region National Heritage Area |

  • Oil City, PA
  • Drake Well Museum
  • Pumping Jack Museum
  • Venango 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

The Peters Valley Craft Store in New Jersey is one of six passport locations for the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. Photo from 2012.

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.

Everglades National Park has added three new cancellations this month for their airboat tour operator partners. Photo Credit: jjron [GFDL 1.2 (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html)], from Wikimedia Commons
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.

The Drake Well Museum is a highlight of the new stamps this month for the Oil Region National Heritage Area. Photo credit: By Niagara [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons
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 Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area massively expanded their passport program in January 2017 and again in June 2017.    This new stamp will be located at Charleston City Hall, and continues the recent trends of heritage areas involving local governments in the passport program.

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.

The Harry S Truman National Historic Site in Independence, Missouri is located in the same town as the historic starting point for the Oregon National Historic Trail. Photo from 2016

Several of the National Historic Trails received replacement stamps for existing passport cancellation locations.  The El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail marks the US portion of the historic “Royal Road” that linked the Spanish colonial capital of Mexico City to Santa Fe.  The Albuquerque Museum of Art and History is one of 18 passport cancellation locations for this trail. Jay Cooke State Park, near Duluth, Minnesota, is one of 17 passport locations for the North Country National Scenic Trail from North Dakota to New York State.  Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site was a trading post at the midway point of the  Santa Fe National Historic Trail in Colorado, and is one of 38 passport cancellation locations for the trail.  The Oregon National Historic Trail replaced three of its 22 passport cancellation locations, including at Harry S Truman National Historic Site in Missouri, Homestead National Monument in Nebraska, and at the McLoughlin House Unit of Fort Vancouver National Historic Site in Oregon City, Oregon.  Fort Vancouver was an important trading post of the Hudson Bay Company in nearby Vancouver, Washington, located just across the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon.  John McLoughlin was a former official at Fort Vancouver, and went on to become known as the “Father of Oregon” for his role in promoting settlement of the then-Oregon Territory.

A statue of a Pony Express Rider outside the Pony Express Museum in St. Joseph, Missouri, which has a replacement passport cancellation this month. Photo from 2004.

The new stamps for the Pony Express National Historic Trail are a mixture of the old and new.  The B.F. Hastings Building in Sacramento is a former headquarters for the Wells Fargo Company and a some-time endpoint for the Pony Express Route that began at the Pony Express Museum in St. Joseph, Missouri.   The Old Sacramento Visitor Center is a new location for the trail, in the town where many Pony Express letters were loaded onto steamships for the final stretch down the Sacramento River into San Francisco.

All four of the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail passport cancellations listed are new, bringing the trail to a total of 47 passport cancellation locations across nine states.  This includes the two new locations at either end of Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the two new locations in the Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois.

The Piney Point Lighthouse in St. Mary’s County, Maryland has three new passport cancellations this month thanks to various NPS Trails and partnership programs. Photo Credit: Kitkat70 [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons
Finally, the Museum Division of St. Mary’s County in southern Maryland operates the Piney Point Lighthouse Museum and Historic Park.  They have three new cancellations this month, representing their location on the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail, the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail, and the Underground Railroad Network to Freedom.  Somewhat surprisingly, no cancellation was issued for the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail – but perhaps that will come at a later date.

Final Shot: This mill stone provided a great photo opportunity for the oldest of the Parkasaurus kids, then 2.5 years old, back in 2012 at Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.

 

 

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November & December 2017 – Jefferson Patterson Park & More

A reconstructed Patuxent Indian wigwam at Jefferson Patterson Park, which has several new stamps this month. Photo from 2017.

Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network | Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum

Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail | Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum

Underground Railroad Freedom Network | Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum

Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument |

  • Mimbres, NM
  • Trailhead Museum

Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail | National Frontier Trails Museum, MO

Schuykill River Valley National Heritage Area |

  • Southeastern PA
  • Pottstown, PA
A signpost at Jefferson Patterson Park highlights its affiliations with the Underground Railroad Network to Freedom, the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail, and the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail. Photo from 2017.

The list of new stamps was fairly short over these two months,  so I’m combining November and December for 2017 together into a single post.

Three new stamps were issued for the Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum in southern Maryland, which previously has had a Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail stamp since September 2015.  Jefferson Patterson Park preserves the Point Farm Estate, which was donated the state of Maryland by philanthropist Mary Marvin Breckenridge Patterson in 1983.  She made the donation in honor of her late husband, Jefferson Patterson, a former U.S. ambassador to Uruguay, and the son of the founder of the National Cash Register company.

One of the highlights of Jefferson Patterson Park is a reconstruction of an Indian Village on the property, of the sort that might have been encountered by John Smith on one of his  voyages of exploration up the Chesapeake Bay in 1609.   The park is also the site of the 1813 naval engagement known as the Battle of St. Leonard’s Creek, which was fought in the Patuxent River  directly offshore the property.  In addition to visitor services, the park is the site of ongoing archaeological research, and has exhibits related to the science of archaeology.  This month’s additions give this park a total of four cancellation stamps.

Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument has updated its passport cancellations this month. Photo Credit: National Park Service

Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument in New Mexico is one of the most-remote national parks in the contiguous United States, located some 100 miles from the nearest national parks and some 35 miles from the nearest town.  The first new stamp simply reflects a change in the main post office servicing the park, which formerly was Silver City, New Mexico, but now is Mimbres, New Mexico.   The Cliff Dwellings themselves were built around the year 1275 and are located at more than a mile above sea level.  To reach them, visitors have to drive about two miles from the Visitor Center to the trailhead, and then hike a one mile loop trail.  The second stamp is the first one to be located at the National Park Service’s trailhead contact station.

The National Frontier Trails Museum in Independence, Missouri is affiliated with five different National Historic Trails. Photo from 2016.

The National Frontier Trails Museum is located in Independence, Missouri, and is the legendary starting point of the Oregon National Historic Trail.  The museum also contains exhibits interpreting the California National Historic Trail, Mormon Pioneer National Historic TrailSanta Fe National Historic Trail, and the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail.  The new stamp for the Lewis and Clark Trail appears to be a replacement for an earlier stamp reading “Independence, Missouri” on it.

Finally, the Schuykill River Valley National Heritage Area includes a corridor from where the Schuykill River meets the Delaware River in Philadelphia out to Pottstown, Pennsylvania.  The two stamps this month are replacements for previously existing stamps, and reflect a change in branding for the partner association that manages the Heritage Area.  The association has rebranded itself as Schuylkill River Greenways, Inc. and the new stamps read Schuylkill River Greenways NHA on top – although the legal name of the Heritage Area, Schuylkill River Valley National Heritage Area, remains the same.   Both of these stamps are located at the Heritage Area’s Headquarters Offices in Pottstown, Pennsylvania.  This Heritage Area has three other cancellations, located at Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site, Valley Forge National Historical Park, and Independence National Historical Park; all of which retain stamps with the original branding.

Final Shot: Another one of the reconstructed American Indian wigwams at Jefferson Patterson Park. Photo from 2017.
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April 2018 – Alexander Majors & More

The Alexander Majors House on the southside of Kansas City highlight’s this month’s cancellations. Photo Credit: JERRYE & ROY KLOTZ MD [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons
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
Portrait of Alexander Majors and the Alexander Majors House. Photo from 2016.

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.

An outdoor sculpture of the Santa Fe Trail, located very near the Alexander Majors House in Kansas City. Photo from 2016.

The first of the two new stamps for the Old Spanish National Historic Trail is for the Bureau of Land Management Field Office in the town of Moab, Utah, which is the gateway to both Arches and Canyonlands National Park.  The other is for the Fish Lake Resorts located in the namesake National Forest near the town of Richfield in central Utah.

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.

Final Shot: The Statue of Liberty, namesake of Statue of LIberty National Monument, which includes Ellis Island.

 

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June 2017 New Stamps – Reconstruction Era NM Expands Their Passport Program and More Trail Stamps

The Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail continues to add cancellations around the Chesapeake Bay. This photo is from a new cancellation in Chestertown, MD.

 

Blue Ridge Parkway | Doughton Park Visitor Center

Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail | C&O Canal NHP HQ

Reconstruction Era National Monument |

        • Port Royal
        • St. Helena Island

San Juan Island NHP | Friday Harbor, WA

California National Historic Trail | Martin’s Cove, WY

Oregon National Historic Trail | Martin’s Cove, WY

El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail | NM Public Lands Info Ctr.

Santa Fe National Historic Trail | NM Public Lands Info Ctr.

Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail | Roving Ranger

Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail | Historic Nauvoo

Old Spanish National Historic Trail  | Kelso Depot

Trail of Tears National Historic Trail | Trail of Tears Assoc., OK

Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail |

        • Columbia, PA
        • Chestertown, MD
        • Great Falls, MD
        • Sandy Point State Park, MD
        • Gloucester, VA
        • Warsaw, VA
The Rappahannock River National Wildlife Refuge in Warsaw, Virginia is also a new cancellation location this month for the Captain John Smith Chesapeake NHT.

The highlight of this month’s new stamps come from the newly designated Reconstruction Era National Monument in South Carolina.   The initial stamp for this new national park was released just a couple months ago in April 2017.   That first stamp was for historic Beaufort, South Carolina, which was captured by Union forces in the early days of the Civil War in 1861, and so was one of the places where the process of reconstruction in the south began.  Beaufort was also the birthplace of Robert Smalls, who was born into slavery in 1839.  During the Civil War, in 1862, Smalls made a daring escape from nearby Charleston, taking the helm of the confederate ship CSS Planter, slipping it past the guns of Fort Sumter, and taking it out to sea where he could surrender to Union forces.  In an amazing and ironic historic twist, Robert Smalls would later use the prize money he was awarded for the capture of the Confederate ship to later purchase a home in Beaufort that had actually been owned by the very family that had once owned him.

Port Royal is located just to the south of Beaufort proper.  Port Royal was the site of Camp Saxton, where Union forces recruited the 1st South Carolina Volunteer Regiment from among the enslaved black population of the area.

Also in the same year of  Robert Smalls’ daring escape in 1862, even as the Civil War was still crescendoing to its full peak,  two women from Pennsylvania arrived in the area to begin providing an education to the freed blacks.   They soon moved their school into an old brick church on St. Helena Island, just to the east of Beaufort proper, which is the third passport location for this park.

The Blue Ridge Parkway is adding a new cancellation this month for the new Doughton Park Visitor Center. Photo from 2016.

The Blue Ridge Parkway has added a 19th visitor center and passport location this month, with the addition of the Doughton Park Visitor Center.  Located at milepost 241, it fills a gap between the Blue Ridge Music Center at milepost 213 and the Cone Memorial Park Visitor Center at milepost 294.  Interestingly, there was previously a cancellation for the Cumberland Knob Visitor Center at milepost 219, but that location is now closed with the opening of the nearby Blue Ridge Music Center in 2006, and that cancellation is now in the history books.

According to a report in the Wautauga (NC) Democrat, this location was previously operated by a concessionaire as Bluff’s Lodge and Coffee Shop, but has been closed since 2010.  A partnership effort was organized, seeded by an anonymous donation to restore the property, which had deteriorated.  This year it is reopening as the Doughton Park Visitor Center and will be managed by Eastern National, which also runs the Parks Passport Program. Interestingly, the visitor center is only Phase 1 of the restoration of the project.  Phase 2 will include restoring the Coffee Shop – which will be welcome news for many travelers.  Restoration of the lodging is also in the plans as well.

The new Doughton Park Visitor Center is located just 22 miles from the now-closed visitor center at Cumberland Knob. Photo from 2010.

The new stamp for the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail located at the C&O Canal National Historical Park in Hagerstown, Maryland is simply an updated replacement for previous stamps at this location.  Although the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail runs along the entire length of the C&O Canal towpath, the park Headquarters Building is located in Hagerstown proper, so Passport enthusiasts will have to make a brief detour from the Trail to get this cancellation.

Similarly, the new addition for San Juan Island National Historical Park is for the Park Headquarters in the resort town of Friday Harbor on San Juan Island.  Visitors to the Park can also collect cancellations at the American Camp and the English Camp on either end of the island.   The American Camp marks where US soldiers established themselves in 1859 and began a face-off with a British warship, as a dispute about a pig uprooting a garden nearly escalated a simple border dispute into an international war. The English Camp marks where British soldiers landed and encamped in 1860 as part of a temporary settlement for “joint occupation” of the island until a permanent settlement could be reached – something that would not occur until nearly a decade later, when arbitrators appointed by the German kaiser awarded San Juan Island to the United States.

The Mormon Handcart Historical Site in Martin’s Cove, Wyoming has two new cancellations this month.     Photo Mplark (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
The Mormon Handcart Site in Martin’s Cove, WY is operated by the Church of Latter-day Saints.  It marks the site where a party of Mormon emigrants pulling hand carts  and departing late in the season in 1859 became stranded for several days due to an early blizzard.  The site provides interpretation of the events at the site, as well as the rigors of pulling hand carts on the migration west.  The site previously has had cancellations for the Mormon Pioneer and Pony Express National Historic Trails.   The route used by the Mormon emigrants was the same route also used by settlers and gold rushers travelling on the Oregon and California National Historic Trails, respectively.  So this site now has a full compliment of four cancellations for the four Emigrant Trails across the west.

The Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail does get one new cancellation this month, this one for the starting point of the trail in Nauvoo, Illinois.  This new stamp is located at the Historic Nauvoo Visitor Center, which is also operated by the LDS Church.   This new stamp is somewhat paired with the new stamp for Nauvoo, Illinois under the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area that was released in January 2017. That stamp has been located at the Joseph Smith Historic Site in Nauvoo, which preserves a historic home of the man who was the founder of the LDS Church and also the former mayor of Nauvoo for two years up until his murder by an angry mob in nearby Carthage, Illinois in 1844.  The Joseph Smith Historic Site is operated by the Community of Christ, which was formerly known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and which split from the larger LDS Church in 1860.  The Nauvoo Historic District represented by this month’s new cancellation  includes many other historic structures in Nauvoo, including the former home of Brigham Young who was the second President of the LDS Church, and who led the journey west to Utah.

The New Mexico Public Lands Information Center, operated by the Bureau of Land Management in Santa Fe, New Mexico has already had cancellations for the  Old Spanish, Santa Fe, and El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trails.   The new stamps for the last two trails are simply subbing out previous stamps that read “Santa Fe, NM” on the bottom with stamps that now read “NM Public Lands Info Ctr.” on the bottom.  The Old Spanish Trail had actually made a similar switch back in 2012.  Interestingly, I can’t help but note that the street address for the New Mexico Public Lands Information Center is 301 Dinosaur Trail in Santa Fe!

The Roving Ranger Program at Golden Gate National Recreation Area helps connect people in the Bay Area to extraordinary locations like this one. Photo from 2015.

The new stamp for the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail will presumably be included as part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area‘s Roving Ranger program.  The Roving Ranger truck takes the National Park Service’s outreach out into the communities of the San Francisco Bay Area to promote the National Park Service location that is right in their own backyard.   Meanwhile, the new stamp for the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail simply reflects the move of the Trail’s headquarters offices from Little Rock, Arkansas to Webbers Falls, Oklahoma.

The new stamp for the Old Spanish National Historic Trail is actually the third iteration of a stamp at the historic Kelso Depot in Mojave National Preserve.  Previous iterations read “Kelso, CA” and “Mojave National Preserve, CA” on the bottom.

The Great Falls of the Potomac are one of several locations with a new Captain John Smith Chesapeake NHT stamp this month.

Finally, the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail continues its rapid expansion of Passport cancellations this month.   The six new additions this month give it a grand total of 41 Passport cancellations.  That total is good for 5th place in the National Park System, behind only the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area with a whopping 71, the Old Spanish National Historic Trail with 50, the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail with 47, and the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail with 44.   Each of the Captain John Smith Chesapeake cancellation locations appears to come with a wayside exhibit, providing interpretive about John Smith’s voyages of exploration from the Jamestowne Colony up through the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries in the early 1600’s.

The two new locations in Virginia include the Rappahannock River National Wildlife Refuge near Warsaw, Virginia and the Chesapeake Bay community of Gloucester on Virginia’s Middle Peninsula, between the Rappahannock and York Rivers.   In 2003, archeologists working near Gloucester discovered the site of Werowocomoco, which was the capital of the Powhatan Confederacy of some thirty Indian tribes in the area, and which traded and interacted with Captain John Smith and the Jamestowne Colony.

In Maryland, the new locations include Great Falls Park, which is managed by the George Washington Memorial Parkway.  The Great Falls of the Potomac River formed a natural barrier to Captain John Smith’s upstream explorations of the Potomac River.   Other locations include Sandy Point State Park near Annapolis, Maryland and the Sultana Education Foundation in Chestertown, Maryland on the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay.  The Sultana Education Fuondation operates a replica of an 18th Century vessel, the Sultana, that was used for collecting tea taxes in the Chesapeake Bay.  It also conducts a number of environmental education programs for children, and promotes the newly-developed water trail on the Chester River.

The final new stamp will be located at the Columbia Crossing River Trails Center in Columbia, Pennsylvania, where US Route 30 crosses the Susquehanna River.   Captain John Smith never made it this far north on his voyages, as he was stopped by the great falls of the Susquehanna further south in Maryland.  However, the Susquehannock American Indians in this area used the Susquehanna River as part of a trading route network that stretched as far as New York State.  Thus, Congress has included the full length of the Susquehanna River as part of this National Historic Trail, in part for its historic significance to the American Indians, but also to use the National Historic Trail program to spread awareness of the extensive watershed for the Chesapeake Bay.

With this month’s new additions, the total number of active cancellations in the Passport Program is now 1,179.   Happy stamping!

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February Stories Behind the Stamps: El Malpais & Erie Canal

El Malpais National Monument headlines the list of new stamps this month.
El Malpais National Monument headlines the list of new stamps this month.  This is a view from the sandstone bluffs overlooking one of the lava fields.

Eastern National has released the new stamps for the month of February.   There is just one new stamp for units of the National Park System, and a few others for partnership programs.  All told only two of the seven new stamps are actually for truly new locations.   Here’s the list:

El Malpais National Monument | El Malpais Visitor Center

Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor |

    • Albany Institute of History & Art
    • Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum
    • T. Spencer Knight Park and Visitor Center
    • Waterford Flight

Santa Fe National Historic Trail | Las Vegas Citizens for Historic Preservation

Trail of Tears National Historic Trail | Audubon Acres, TN

The newly-rebranded El Malpais Visitor Center at El Malpais National Monument
The newly-rebranded El Malpais Visitor Center at El Malpais National Monument.  Photo credit: Brian Bailey

The highlight of this month’s new stamps is El Malpais National Monument in New Mexico.  Located right next to Interstate 40 about 80 miles west of Albuqeurque in the town of Grants, the Northwest New Mexico Visitor Visitor Center serves as a joint visitor venter for the National Park Service’s El Malpais National Monument and the adjacent El Malpais National Conservation Area, which is managed by the Bureau of Land Management.   The new stamp this month reflects the National Park Service’s decision to re-brand the generic-sounding Northwest New Mexico Visitor Center as the El Malpais Visitor Center and to more prominently feature the National Park Service and Bureau of Land Management logos, connecting the Visitor Center to the El Malpais park lands.  This article from the Cibola (NM) Beacon has more background on the decision.  In particular it notes that the Northwest New Mexico Visitor Center was originally built in 1999 with an overly-optimistic projection of 500,000 visitors per year, but last year only welcomed 23,000 visitors – which was only just about one-eighth of the 175,000 visitors to El Malpais National Monument itself.  Hopefully the rebranding will more closely connect the facility to visitors to the park, as it is legitimately a very nice, spacious facility with lots of natural light and space for quality exhibits.

More importantly, hopefully this will be part of a campaign to draw more people to explore El Malpais National Monument.  In recent years, the Federal Government has started using the national monument  designation for more and more places, including historic sites like Pullman National Monument and Honouliuli National Monument, fossil sites like Waco Mammoth National Monument.   The national monument designation has also been increasingly used for places in the National Landscape Conservation System, which is managed by the Bureau of Land Management, and which typically lack the visitor facilities of national park service areas.  So when visitors to an area see national monument, its really hard to know what to expect.

El Malpais in particular is a hidden gem for many who discover it.  The name is Spanish for “the bandlands,” and it preserves the remains of a lava field from a volcanic eruption that occurred just 2-3,000 years ago.   Most significantly, its worth noting that at more than 114,000 acres in size, El Malpais National Monument is larger than 21 full-fledged national parks.  Indeed, it is more than twice the size of Acadia National Park,  which just recently was the subject of a two-part trip report on Parkasaurus.  Thus, despite the fact that El Malpais National Monument is almost completely lacking any sort of national reputation as a “destination park,” its large size provides plenty to explore and discover.

The restored Sam Patch canal boat is one of the highlights of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor. A new stamp has been seen to the T. Spencer Knight Canal Park in Newark, NY just a few miles from Pittsford, NY where the Sam Patch is based.
The restored Sam Patch canal boat is one of the highlights of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor. A new stamp has been seen to the T. Spencer Knight Canal Park in Newark, NY just a few miles from Pittsford, NY where the Sam Patch is based.

The Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor stretches, in the words of the famous song, “from Albany to Buffalo.”  Two of the four new stamps are already Passport locations.  The Albany Institute of History and Art has been preserving the heritage of the upper Hudson River Valley since 1791, and is already a Passport location for the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area.  Both Heritage Areas overlap in the Albany area of New York State.  The new stamp for the T. Spencer Knight Park and Visitor Center is  a rebranded replacement stamp for the existing Port of Newark Canal Park.  The park features a mural depicting the Erie Canalway and a hiking trail along the canal.

The Waterford Flight stamp will be located at the Waterford Harbor Information Center, which is a brand-new Passport location for the Canal.  The Waterford Flight Locks are a set of five locks on the modern Erie Barge Canal, that raises boats more than 150 feet in just 1.5 miles around the Cohoes Falls of the Mohawk River. This is the greatest vertical distance for a set of canal locks in the world!

The Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum is located just north of  Buffalo, NY in the suburb of North Tonawanda – and yes, the museum uses that older spelling of carousel.  The factory dates back to the second decade of the twentieth century, and it immediately looks like one of the most-intriguing Passport destinations in the Heritage Area.

The Las Vegas Citizens Committee for historic Preservation has a new stamp this month for the Santa Fe National Historic Trail, and is the new friends organization for nearby Fort Union National Monument.
The Las Vegas Citizens Committee for historic Preservation has a new stamp this month for the Santa Fe National Historic Trail, and is the new friends organization for nearby Fort Union National Monument.

The Santa Fe National Historic Trail marks the famed 19th Century trade route between Kansas City in the United States and the town of Santa Fe in the newly-independent country of Mexico.   The Las Vegas Citizens Committee for Historic Preservation in Las Vegas, New Mexico promotes the history of the town, located about an hour’s drive to the east of Santa Fe itself.   The group also operates a Santa Fe Trail Interpretive Center in downtown Las Vegas.  According to their website, last month they also became the official “friends organization” for nearby Fort Union National Monument.  The new stamp replaces an earlier stamp with a typo in it, reading only “Citizens Committee Historic Preservation, NM” (i.e. missing the word “for.“)

The Trail of Tears National Historic Trail  marks the route of the forcible expulsion of Cherokee American Indians and others from the eastern United States to present-day Oklahoma.   Audubon Acres is a local nature preserve operated by the Chattanooga Chapter of the Audubon Society.  Significantly, the first naturalist on this property was actually a Cherokee American Indian by the name of Spring Frog.   The restored Spring Frog Cabin, where he lived, provides insight into the lives of the Cherokee in this area before their removal.  Additionally, many of the plant labels in the sanctuary are labeled in both English and in the Cherokee language.

The three new stamps this month (i.e. those that are not replacements for existing stamps) bring the total number of Passport cancellations to 1,997.  Next month the Passport program will likely add its 2,000th cancellation!  Excluding cancellations for special programs and anniversaries, there are 1,897 Passport cancellations available.

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November and December New Stamps

The Hanford B Reactor in Washington is one of three sites comprising the brand new Manhattan Project National Historical Park.
The Hanford B Reactor in Washington is one of three sites comprising the brand new Manhattan Project National Historical Park. Photo credit: NPS.gov

I wasn’t able to get a new stamps post out last month, so here are the new additions reported by Eastern National for both November and December, starting with the new stamps for the actual Units of the National Park System:

Manhattan Project NHP | Los Alamos, NM

Manhattan Project NHP | Oak Ridge, TN

Manhattan Project NHP | Hanford, WA

Potomac Heritage NST | Rock Creek Park, DC

Lowell NHP | Guard Locks / Francis Gate

National Parks of Southern West Virginia | West Virginia

The big news this month is the official addition of Manhattan Project National Historical Park to the National Park System, bringing the total number of national parks to 409.  This new national park will be unique in having three separate locations, scattered almost clear across the country from each other.  In Oak Ridge, Tennessee  the park will include the research facilities that were used to pioneer the process of uranium enrichment.  They can currently be visited from June through August on a regular weekday tour offered at noon daily by the American Museum of Science and Energy.   In Hanford, Washington the park includes numerous historic buildings associated with the top secret Manhattan Project.  The most notable of these is the Hanford B Reactor that produced the material for the first atomic bomb, and which can be visited as part of a four hour tour offerred regularly from April to September.   Finally, the sites in Los Alamos, New Mexico include historic buildings associated with the design and assembly of both the Trinity test site bomb, as well as the “Little Boy” bomb that was ultimately dropped on Hiroshima, Japan.

The Civil War Defenses Trail passes through Rock Creek Park and connects to the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail.
The Civil War Defenses Trail passes through Rock Creek Park and connects to the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail.  This segment of the trail is from the Fort DeRussy Unit near the Rock Creek Park Nature Center.  Photo from 2013.

The Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail has added a new stamp for Rock Creek Park in Washington, DC, which is itself its own national park.   Surprisingly, Rock Creek Park isn’t particularly close to the Potomac River, located about two miles away at its closest point.  However, the Civil War Defenses of Washington Trail, which passes through Rock Creek Park, is a connecting trail to the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail.  The addition of this cancellation gives the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail a whopping 46 cancellations along the trail network.

Lowell National Historical Park preserves the story of the Industrial Revolution in a historic mill town outside of Boston.  In recent years, several other national parks telling the story of the Industrial Revolution have been established, most of which have cited the success of Lowell NHP as a model.  One of the remarkable features about Lowell NHP is the system of canals that were established to connect water from the Merrimack River to the various factories and cotton mills in the town.   The Guard Locks at the Francis Gate are at the NPS-managed lockhouse along one of those canals, and this stamp replaces an existing stamp at that location.

The New River comprises one of the three National Parks of Southern West Virginia. This photo is from a time of especially high water levels in 2004.
The New River comprises one of the three National Parks of Southern West Virginia. This photo is from a time of especially high water levels in 2004.

Finally, the National Parks of Southern West Virginia is a new group and re-branding of the New River Gorge National River, the Gauley River National Recreation Area, and the Bluestone National Scenic River.  All thee of these river-based national parks are located within a fifty-mile stretch of each other, about 30-60 miles east of Charleston, West Virginia.  The centerpiece of the three parks is the New River Gorge National River, which contains most of the visitor facilities and the must-see scenic landmarks, as well as great whitewater rafting for all skill levels.  The Gauley River National Recreation Area is designated downstream of the Summersville Dam.  It is famed for its dam-release days in the fall, when the release of water from the dam produces some of the most-challenging whitewater east of the Mississippi River in the United States.   Finally, the Bluestone National Scenic River is a completely undeveloped stretch of river that has been left largely in its natural state.

These three national rivers have always been managed by a single Superintendent.  However, there’s long been concern that the designations national river and national scenic river and national recreation area don’t always strongly suggest national park or National Park Service to the casual visitor or tourist.  The hope is that the rebranding as National Parks of Southern West Viginia will bring more attention to the fact that these rivers, particularly the New River Gorge, are part the U.S. National Park System.

The Santa Fe Trail Marker in the Plaza de Santa Fe, located just outside the Palace of the Governors and the New Mexico History Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Three new stamps were issued here this month.
The Santa Fe Trail Marker in the Plaza de Santa Fe, located just outside the Palace of the Governors and the New Mexico History Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Three new stamps were issued here this month.  Photo from 2010.

In addition to the above stamps, a few stamps have also been released for National Park Service partnership programs.

Mississippi Delta NHA | Delta Blues Museum

Pacific Northwest NST | Sedro-Wooley, WA

Pacific Northwest NST | Whitefish, MT

Old Spanish NHT | Palace of the Governors, NM

Old Spanish NHT | New Mexico History Museum, NM

Santa Fe NHT | New Mexico History Museum, NM

The Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area includes 18 counties in northwest Mississippi.  This area of Mississippi is, of course, most famous for being the home of the musical style known as the blues.  The Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale, Mississippi is Mississippi’s oldest music museum, and tells the story of how the blues originated in northwest Mississippi’s cultural landscape.

The Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail is a relatively new National Scenic Trail, having just been designated in 2009.  The trail’s designated route extends from Olympic National Park in Washington to Glacier National Park in Montana.  These are its first Passport stamps, and will be at the headquarters of the Trail’s non-profit partner association in the town of Sedro-Woolley, Washington and at the offices of the Montana Wilderness Association in the town of Whitefish, Montana.

The Old Spanish National Historic Trail and Santa Fe National Historic Trail commemorate 19th Century trading routes with New Mexico, to California and to the United States, respectively.  The Palace of the Governors was originally built for Spain’s administration of New Mexico in Santa Fe, and is now part of the New Mexico State History Museum, the main building of which is located next door.  The Santa Fe Trail had previously already been issued a stamp for the Palace of the Governors, so now both Trails have both stamps.

This month’s additions mean that there now 1,985 active Passport cancellations to collect.  Excluding special event and anniversary cancellations, there are 1,887 cancellations available.

A parting shot of the New River Gorge National River in the National Parks of Southern West Virginia. Photo credit: NPS.gov
A parting shot of the New River Gorge National River in the National Parks of Southern West Virginia. Photo credit: NPS.gov
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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.

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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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