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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
The new stamps for September 2017 (yes, 2017 – but we’re happy to be back) are highlighted by a plethora of stamps for the Crossroads of the American Revolution National Heritage Area, and a few more:
Golden Gate National Recreation Area | Rob Hill
Salem Maritime National Historic Site |
St. Joseph Hall
Yellowstone National Park | Bechler Ranger Station
Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail | Smallwood State Park, MD
Trail of Tears National Historic Trail |
Old Jefferson, TN
Webber Falls Museum, OK
Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area |
Copake Iron Works
Sleepy Hollow Cemetery
Crossroads of the American Revolution National Heritage Area |
Abraham Clark Memorial House
Battle of Connecticut Farms
Battle of Springfield
Battle of the Short Hills
Deacon Andrew Hetfield House
Dr William Robinson Plantation
Elizabeth and Gershom Frazee House
First Presbyterian Church of Elizabeth
Merchants & Drovers Tavern
Osborn Cannonball House
Plainfield Meeting House
Salt Box Museum
St. John’s Parsonage
The Deserted Village
Woodruff House – Eaton Store Museum
Working in reverse order this month, the most notable addition to the Passport Program are the 27 stamps for the Crossroads of the Revolution National Heritage Area. Although this Heritage Area includes sites associated with the Revolutionary War across 14 counties in central New Jersey, all 27 of this month’s additions are located in Union County New Jersey, which is part of the greater New York City metropolitan area. Many of the historic sites in Union County have limited hours, some as little as one weekend a month, and others are even open only by appointment only. However, Union County hosts a “Four Centuries in a Weekend” event each year during the third weekend in October, when all of these sites will be open. So make your plans for this coming October accordingly!
If you aren’t up for visiting all 27 sites in Union County, a few of these sites are more strongly connected to the primary Revolutionary War mission of this National Heritage Area.
The Battle of Connecticut Farms was a three-hour engagement fought on June 7, 1780 in the town of Union, NJ. The stamp for this battle can be found at the Caldwell Parsonage in Union. The current Caldwell Parsonage was rebuilt in 1782 after the original was burned by the British following the Battle of Connecticut Farms. The historic home features a painting of the battle, as well as both stamps.
The Battle of Springfield occurred two weeks later on June 23, 1780, and is known primarily as the last Revolutionary War battle fought in the northern colonies before the fateful Battle of Yorktown in September and October 1781. This stamp can be found at the Cannon Ball House in Springfield. This historic home features a cannonball still lodged in its walls from the Battle of Springfield, as well as both stamps.
The Boxwood Hall State Historic Site preserves the the former house of Elias Boudinot in Elizabeth, NJ. Boudinot served as a President of the Continental Congress. Nearby is the First Presbyterian Church of Elizabeth, which was burned by the British in 1780 and was rebuilt in 1790, and the St. John’s Parsonage in Elizabeth, whose earliest portions date back to the 18th Century. The Abraham Clark Memorial House in Roselle is a 1941 replica of the house of one of New Jersey’s signers of the Declaration of Independence. Unfortunately, the original burned in 1900. The Liberty Hall Museum at Kean University in Union preserves the home of William Livingston. Livingston was New Jersey’s first Governor and a signer of the Constitution. The Carter House in Summit and the Miller-Cory House in Westfield each date back to the 1740’s. The Miller-Cory House in particular now operates as a living history museum, with frequent special events.
A number of other sites preserve the post-Revolutionary War history of Union County. The Deserted Village Visitor Center is in the Watchung Reservation County Park. The Deserted Village is a former company town created by New York businessman David Felt in 1845, and thus was known as “Feltville” in its hey day. Also dating to the 19th Century are the Littell-Lord Farmstead in Berkeley Heights, the Merchants and Drovers Tavern Museum in Rahway, and the Salt Box Museum in New Providence. The Salt Box Museum is so-named because the unusual way in which two historic houses were joined together in the mid-19th century left a visual impression that resembled a salt box. The Merchants and Drovers Tavern also includes the stamp for King’sHighway. The King’s Highway was a colonial-era road connecting Boston, Massachusetts to Charleston, South Carolina. It was built over a period of more than 80 years on the orders of Britain’s Charles II beginning in 1650. Astute Passport observers may note that there is also a Crossroads of the Revolution NHA stamp for “Maidenhead Road/King’s Highway, NJ” located at the David Brearley House in Lawrenceville, near Trenton. That stamp was discussed by Parkasaurus in June 2016.
Some of the locations have origins hundreds of years ago as well as 20th Century significance. The Woodruff House-Eaton Store of Hillside, which includes an 18th-Century House, a circa-1900 neighborhood store, and a museum devoted to former New York Yankees baseball player Phil Rizzuto. The Deacon Andrew Hetfield House in Mountainside was built in 1760, and was expanded in the 19th Century, and later became the home of MacKinlay Kantor. Kantor is the author of the Civil War novel Andersonville, about the Confederate Prisoner of War Camp preserved in Georgia as Andersonville National Historic Site.
The Golden Gate National Recreation Area includes a number of parklands in and around the city of San Francisco, California. Among the many properties included is the former military installation known as “The Presidio.” Rob Hill is the name of the group campground maintained by the Presidio Trust, one of the non-profit partners of the Golden Gate NRA, on the grounds of the The Presidio, right in the heart of the city of San Francisco.
Salem Maritime National Historic Site was actually the first National Park Service area to be dedicated a National Historic Site, back in March 1938. One of its new stamps this month commemorates this landmark status. The Park itself includes approximately 10 historic buildings, and the other two new stamps complement the five new stamps issued in July 2016.
Yellowstone National Park already has 14 Passport Cancellations. However, the new cancellation for the Bechler Ranger Station in the lightly-visited southwest corner of the Park adds a new twist the Passport itinerary for Yellowstone. There are no roads connecting the southwest corner of the Park to the Grand Loop Road that connects almost all the other destinations in the park. Reaching the Bechler Ranger Station will take a nearly two hour drive outside the park from Yellowstone’s West Entrance in Montana, and a more than three hour drive from Yellowstone’s South Entrance at the border with the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway and Grand Teton National Park.
The “Old Jefferson Site” is a section of the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail that was only identified by researchers in recent years. The site is located in the East Fork Recreation Area, near Murfreesboro, TN, and is managed by the US Army Corps of Engineers. The town of Webbers Falls, Oklahoma is named after a Cherokee Chief, Walter Webber, who established a trading post near the falls of the Arkansas River here in 1818, a dozen years before President Andrew Jackson would sign the Indian Removal Act in 1830, which officially began the “Trail of Tears.” The Webbers Falls Museum is the historical society museum for the town.
The Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area adds three new stamps this month. The Copake Iron Works are located very close to the New York-Massachusetts border, about halfway between Poughkeepsie and Albany. The Sleepy Hollow Cemetery is located just north of the Tappan-Zee bridge on the east side of the Hudson River. The town was made famous by author Washington Irving, who is buried there. The Woodstock Playhouse is a an outdoor arts venue in the foothills of the Catskill Mountains. The famous Woodstock Music Festival of 1969 was actually held some 40 miles away for logistical reasons, but the Woodstock Playhouse has a history of its own going back to the 1930’s.
Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail | C&O Canal NHP HQ
Reconstruction Era National Monument |
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 |
Great Falls, MD
Sandy Point State Park, MD
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 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 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 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 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.
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!
The Pry House served as General McClellan’s headquarters at Antietam National Battlefield. Although it is within the Park boundaries, it is operated in partnership with the National Park Service as an outpost of the National Museum of Civil War Medicine, and has several exhibits on how medical needs were handled during the battle. This site previously had an official stamp from 2006 to 2011 – the new stamp replaces an unofficial stamp that the site had been using for the last five years.
There are two new additions in the Pacific Northwest this month. The remote village of Bettles in northern Alaska is most-famously a gateway community for Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve. A second stamp is added this month at the joint National Park Service – US Fish and Wildlife Service Ranger Station in the village for adventurers taking a longer flight to the remote rivers located in Noatak National Preserve. In testament to the size of Alaska, Bettles is itself some 600 miles (a 14.5 hour drive according to Google Maps) from Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city. Even so, it is approximately another 150 miles as the bush plane flies to get to Noatak National Preserve from Bettles, a remote national park with no on-site visitor facilities whatsoever.
In Seattle, Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park has added a stamp for the inter-agency information station at the REI Flagship Store in Seattle, which provides information about parks and other public lands throughout western Washington.
Gulf Islands National Seashore has added two stamps for the Florida section of the park. The Okaloosa Area is the easternmost section of the National Seashore, located just east of the town of Fort Walton Beach, and preserves the beaches on the barrier island. The Advanced Redoubt is located in the Fort Barrancas Unit of the Park, on the grounds of the Pensacola Naval Air Station. The Advanced Redoubt and Fort Barrancas were both built in the mid-19th Century to protect the Pensacola Navy Yard.
San Juan National Historic Site in Puerto Rico is comprised of two old Spanish fortifications, the Castillo San Marcos and the Castillo San Felipe del Morro. The latter received a new stamp this month, replacing an older stamp that referred to the location by its nickname, “El Morro.” There is also a brand new stamp this month for the San Antonio Guardhouse, which is located just outside the fortifications of El Morro. This gives the site three total Passport locations.
The other additions this month appear to primarily have local connections or secondary interest to the life of Abraham Lincoln. The two most notable are the additions for Mahomet, Illinois and Vandalia, Illinois. The Museum of the Grand Prairie is operated by Champaign County in Mahomet. Lincoln visited the area in and around Mahomet during his time as a lawyer on the 8th Judicial Circuit and the museum includes exhibits on this stage of Lincoln’s life. The Vandalia Statehouse State Historic Site preserves the old state capitol in Vandalia, Illinois where Lincoln worked as a state legislator from his election in 1834 up until the capitol being moved in 1839. The stamps for Carthage, Illinois; Clinton, Illinois; and Quincy, Illinois are each at local historical society museums. The stamp for Homer, Illinois is at the local nature center.
Together with the existing stamps for this heritage area, there are now 29 stamps for the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area located across central Illinois. Prior to 2015 there were just 17 on-location* stamps in the entire state of Illinois, including a single stamp for the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail, one for the Chicago Portage National Historic Site Affiliated Area, two for the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail, 10 for the Illinois & Michigan Canal National Heritage Corridor, and 3 for the Lincoln Home National Historic Site (including one for the Heritage Area and one for the Underground Railroad Freedom Network, both located at the main visitor center on the site). 2015 brought the addition for three more stamps for the brand-new Pullman National Monument in Chicago. Now the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area has single-handedly more the doubled the statewide cancellation total for the state of Illinois, with now at least 50 stamps being available in that state. That will be enough to keep Passport enthusiasts from the Midwest busy for quite a while, and is continued testament to how National Heritage Areas have really fueled the growth of the Passport Program in recent years.
* – This count of 17 stamps does not include stamps for the Amtrak Trails and Rails Partnership program, a couple of which pass through the state of Illinois.
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
Santa Fe National Historic Trail | Las Vegas Citizens for Historic Preservation
Trail of Tears National Historic Trail | Audubon Acres, TN
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-parttrip 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 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 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.
Writing about the World War II Memorial has gotten me to thinking about what makes a national memorial a national park. According to the National Park Service, there are 30 national memorials in the U.S. National Park System. However, as with so many things in counting national parks it isn’t quite as simple as that. Under Federal Law, only Congress has the exclusive right to designate a national memorial. This means that there is no provision like an Antiquities Act for designating national memorials the way that there is for the President to designate national monuments. Moreover, similar to national monuments, not all national memorials have been assiged to the National Park Service for inclusion in the U.S. National Park System – in fact with there being 64 national memorials that I have been able to identify, the National Park Service is only directly responsible for around half of them.
NPS National Memorials in Washington, DC
Let’s take a closer look at national memorials by starting with the 12 national memorials listed by the National Park Service that are in or around the nation’s capital in Washington, D.C.:
There are also two more memorials in the above category that are planned for future construction. The Eisenhower Memorial(*) has recently received final design approval, and is hoping to complete construction in the next few years. The Adams Memorial(*), a tribute to the remarkable family that produced the second and sixth Presidents of the United States, is still in the design and fundraising stages.
So overall, this first set of memorials are dedicated either to “great Americans” – primarily former Presidents of the United States, or else to those who served, and in many cases, gave their lives, in one of the major wars of the 20th Century.
However, there is still the small matter of those asterisks above. What becomes a little tricky here is that five of these twelve memorials (as well as the two under development) have actually not been specifically designated as national memorials by Congress – as national memorial is a rather specific legal honor and title that can only be conferred by Congress. However, each of those memorials is of a sufficent size and distinction that the National Park Service has determined that each of them should count separately as individual national parks in the National Park System. As such, in listing all of the different units in the National Park System, the National Park Service goes ahead and lists all of the above as national memorials.
Given that recognition, its hard to be pedantic about the the specific legal distinctions. Take for example, the case of the World War II Memorial. The fundraising drivde by the American Battle Monuments Commission to build this memorial was explicitly called the National World War II Memorial Cammpaign. The non-profit partners of the memorial calls themselves “Friends of the National World War II Memorial.” Regardless of the technical legal status, almost all Americans, including, I would imagine, almost all Members of Congress, consider it to be the National World War II Memorial. So in the interests of simplicity and clarity, I’m going to conside each of the above memorials to also be a national memorial, if for no other reason than by popular acclamation and by the de facto designation as such by the National Park Service.
So those twelve constitue the first entries on the list of national memorials. Let’s look at a few more:
In addition to these twelve, seven other national memorials in the greater Washington, DC area are included as part of other, larger units of the U.S. National Park System:
the National Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial is also part of Pennsylvania Avenue National Historic Site in downtown Washington, DC – but it is one of only two of these sseven sites without its own Passport stamp;
This second group is a bit more of a mixed bag than the first group. The Memorial to the 56 Signers of the Declaration of Independence is straight-forward enough, and in keeping with the theme from the first group of honoring the “Founding Fathers” of the Nation. The Nation’s desire to honor the Preisdent who saved the Union is evident by there being two designations relating to Abraham Lincoln, in addition, of course, to the Lincoln Memorial itself in the first group. Four others are dedicated to specific groups of people who served, or more accurately, to specific types of service. The mixed-nature of this list is perhaps most-highlighted by the absence of the Air Force Memorial from this list, which has apparently not been formally designated a national memorial, and resides on Department of Defense land at the Pentagon, and so is outside the National Park System as well. With neither official recognition by Congress as a national memorial, nor listing by the National Park Service as a national memorial, there just was no way to include it on the list. Even though, with all due respect to the service of the many U.S. Navy Seabees over the years, it seems inconsistent to have the Seabees Memorial on this list, but not the Air Force Memorial.
Indeed, there are many other memorials in the National Park System which are also not on that list, and in some cases, it almost seems to be simply a paperwork oversight that they have not been designated as national memorials, while many similar memorials have been. For more on them, check out Sidebar#1.
NPS National Memorials Outside Washington
Outside of Washington, DC, however, the National Park System includes 18 other national memorials that are also individual national parks. All of these were designated by Congress as a national memorial in their very name, however, so their inclusion on the list is straightforward. The 18 are:
Port Chicago National Memorial – marks the site of a tragic explosion on the American Home Front in the East Bay of San Francisco during the Second World War, in which the victims were largely African-Americans;
Once again, this set of national memorials also appears to be quite the mixed bag, although some themes definitely emerge. Many of the sites are associated with the earliest days of America’s exploration and settlement – although San Diego’s Cabrillo National Monumentis notably absent from this list as it is a national monument rather than a national memorial. Several of the others, such as Thaddeus Kosciuszko and Lincoln Boyhood are on the list because they primarily rely upon reconstructions, rather than actually-preserved historic resources – or in the case of Hamilton Grange, have been moved from their original location. Three others are the site of major tragedies, with significant loss of life. Others, like Mount Rushmore, are truly memorials in the traditional sense.
For some more related facts to national memorials that count as national parks, you can again check out Sidebar #2.
There are also three other memorials that are part of larger national parks outside of the Washington, DC area:
White Cross World War I Memorial is a white cross that was erected in 1934 in California’s Mojave Desert, and is now located on private land within Mojave National Preserve in order to settle an “establishment of religion” claim against the memorial;
U.S.S. Oklahoma Memorial is also in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and is also part of World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument. (Note: the U.S.S. Utah Memorial is also located in Pearl Harbor, but it does not appear to have been designated a national memorial by Congress. ) The U.S.S. Missouri Memorial, which is the ship that hosted the Japanese surrender at the end of World War II, is also located in Pearl Harbor. Although it is not part of the National Monument, it too has its own Passport stamp.
At the risk of getting too far into the weeds, the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial was previously a stand-alone unit of the National Park System. As such, the National Park Service listed it as a national memorial, for the reasons I described above for the WorldWar II Memorial and others. In 2008, however, President George W. Bush designated it as part of World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, and so the National Park Service now lists it as a national monument, rather than a national memorial. However, since there was clearly no intention to de-designate the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial as a national memorial, I’m going to continue to include it on this list. You can read about four other national parks that arguably could be included on this list, despite not having the word “memorial” in their name in Sidebar #3.
The Rest of the National Memorials
In addition to all of the above, four other national memorials are officially considered to be Affiliated Areas of the National Park System, along with two others that have unofficially had that status. Status as an Affiliated Area makes the site eligible for additional technical assistance on preservation from National Park Service staff, as well as for inclusion in the Passport to Your National Parks program:
In addition, the (5) AIDS Memorial Grove in San Francisco California and the (6) David Berger Memorial (an American-Israeli dual-citizen who was killed as a member of the Israeli Olympic Team at the 1972 Munich Olympics) in suburban Cleveland, Ohio both have been incorrectly listed as Affiliated Areas by some sources in the past. As such, both have previously been part of the Passport Program, but no longer receive official Passport stamps from Eastern National. In any event, both appear to continue to benefit from National Park Service technical assistance from Golden Gate National Recreation Area and Cuyahoga Valley National Park, respectively.
Finally, the following 18 national memorials have no connection with the U.S. National Park System, but round out the complete list of national memorials:
National Civil Defense Monument – also located in Emmitsburg, Maryland;
U.S.S. Indianapolis Memorial – located in its namesake city and commemorates the last ship in the U.S. Navy to sink during the Second World War;
World War Memorial in Guam – marks the site where Japanese sodliers raped and massacared Guamanian civilians at the Fana Caves during the closing days of World War II.
There is a distinctly military theme, not surprisingly, to many of the memorials on this list. It is amazing, however, to think that Riverside, California, of all places, is tied with New York City for the most national memorials of any place in the country outside of Washington, DC. It is also interesting to note the three memorials on the above list that are dedicated to American civilians outside of public service. Albert Einstein is such a towering figure in the history of science, that a national memorial to him is completely unsurprising. The Bosque Redondo Memorial is in keeping with the list of National Park System national memorials that commemorate tragedies in our Nation’s history – although it is worth noting that this event gets a national memorial, whereas the removal of the Cherokee from the eastern United States gets the Trail of Tears of National Historic Trail commemorating the full route. Finally, the most unusual entry on this list is Robert L. Kohnstamm, whom I’m not sure many readers of this past will have previously been familiar with. For example, he doesn’t even have a Wikipedia entry! He apparently played a role in preserving the Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood and in opening Mt. Hood to recreational skiing. A full article about him can be read here.
So, after this exhaustive summary of national memorials here is a summary of the results:
12 national memorials recognized by the National Park Service as stand-alone national parks in Washington, DC;
7 other national memorials in Washington, DC that are managed by the National Park Service;
18 other national memorials that are also stand-alone national parks, outside of Washington, DC;
3 other national memorials located inside the boundaries of national parks outside of Washington, DC;
6 national memorials that are either formally or informally affiliated with the National Park System;
18 national memorials that are located outside the National Park System entirely.
That makes a total of 64 national memorials!
Out of these 64, 26 of them are dedicated to wars, military victories, military service, or public service (I’m including the Astronauts Memorial and Civil Defense Memorial here.)
19 more national memorials are dedicated to U.S. Presidents (incluing four to Abraham Lincoln alone), other U.S. Founding Fathers (I’m including Federal Hall in this group ), or to Robert E. Lee.
Eight more national memorials are dedicated to the exploration and settlement of the United States.
Seven of the national memorials are dedicated to the memory of national tragedies.
Finally, four of the national memorials are dedicated to civilians primarily for civilian accomplishments in the areas of science, conservation, or civil rights.
By no means do any of the above seem to be complete lists. The closest might be the memorials to the Founding Fathers, although if Kosciuszko is on the list of national memorials, then the names of Lafayette, Rochambeau, and von Steuben are conspicuous by their absences. The list of explorers with national memorials, however, seems far too short, and almost random in its selection. While hardly anyone could object to a national memorial to the scientific achievements of Albert Einstein or the Wright Brothers, that area of achievement can only be described as under-recognized. As with many things in the National Park System – there will no doubt be more to come in the future. In the meantime, the list of 64 national memorials provides an interesting starting point for those looking to remember our Nation’s past and history, going even beyond just those sites managed by the National Park Service.
Bonus Fact: Congress has actually passed a resolution calling for the final resting of place of the RMS Titanic to be designated as an international maritime memorial to the men, women, and children who perished aboard her. Of course, the Titanic sank in international waters, so its not at all clear who would have the jurisdiction to carry this out, but it is fun to think about.
Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area preserves almost all of the off-shore islands in Boston Harbor, including a few that are now connected to the mainland. The stamp for Little Brewster Island is the fifth active stamp for this park. It joins a stamp for “Boston, MA” on the mainland at Long Wharf in dowtown Boston, as well as stamps for Georges Island, Peddocks Island, and Spectacle Island. The 34 islands that comprise this park include a mix of natural scenery, historic resources related to 19th century harbor defenses, and outstanding recreational opportunities. Little Brewster Island is the most-distant of the four islands with stamps, located some 8 miles from downtown Boston.
(As a side note, it should be noted that Boston Harbor Islands NRA previously had a stamp for the Gateway Pavillion information center in downtown Boston, but that stamp has not been available since 2013. Meanwhile, according to the Park map there are Ranger Stations on at least four other islands, so this park may yet add additional stamps in the months and years to come.)
Olympic National Park is one of the true gems of the U.S. National Park System, located on Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula. This stamp for the concessionarie at the Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort is one of 14 cancellations available around this large national park. The Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort is located in the temperate forests on the northern side of the park in the valley of the Sol Duc River.
The new stamps for North Manitou Island at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore makes for five cancellations at this national park located on the shores of Lake Michigan in the western part of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. Three of those stamps are on the mainland, and now there is a stamp for both South Manitou Island and North Manitou Island located off-shore in Lake Michigan.
The Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail connects sites in Arizona and California along the route taken by de Anza in 1776 to establish the settlement of San Francisco. Fort Ord National Monument was established by President Obama in 2012 on the former site of the military base of the same name on Monterey Bay. Thus, this month marks the first two stamps in the Passport Program to be located in the world-famous scenic destination of Monterey, California. The Big Break Regional Park preserves some of the land on the San Joaquin River Delta at the base of San Francisco Bay.
The Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail marks Smith’s voyages of exploration in the Chesapeake Bay from 1607-1609. This month, stamps appear to have been added for just about every Virginia State Park located on the Chesapeake Bay. In addition, Chickahominy Riverfront Park is a local park located in James City County, Virginia. Henricus Historical Park commemorates a famous #2 – it recreates the second successful English settlement in the New World. It was established 80 miles up the James River in 1611 by settlers departing from Jamestown. Mathews County Virginia has a Visitor and Information Center for its network of water trails to explore. Reedville, Virginia is located at the end of Virginia’s Northern Neck, on the Chesapeake Bay. Its Fisherman’s Museum is also a stamping location for the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail. Vienna, Maryland is the launching point for the Nanticoke River Water Trail, which runs along the Nanticoke River all the way into southern Delaware.
The Thomas Stone National Historic Site is also an outright national park, located in the small town of Port Tobacco in southern Maryland. It preserves the home of one of Maryland’s signers of the Declaration of Independence. It probably would not have made it in to the National Park System on its own, but for the fact that the house was damaged by fire in 1977, and designation as a national park site the next year was about the only way to save it from the wrecking ball. The new stamps for the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail and Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail both replace existing stamps that were already at the site, reflecing both the site’s scenic location on the Potomac River and on the route of the British invasion of Maryland during the War of 1812. This site also had a generic stamp listing all the states of the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail, but this its first stamp specific to the site itself. This trail marks the route of American General George Washington and the French General Jean-Baptiste de Rochambeau from Newport, Rhode Island to Yorktown, Virginia at the end of the Revolutionary War. The Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network and the Underground Railroad: Network to Freedom are two National Park Service partnership programs, reflecting this park’s location on the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and as a former plantation were slaves lived, worked, and occasionally, escaped to freedom.
The National Park Travelers Club is a social Club that provides networking for Passport stamp collectors. They now have nine passport stamps that will be available at their member-meetups, one stamp for each Passport region.