Tag Archives: Underground Railroad: Network to Freedom

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

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

Fort Pulaski National Monument |

  • Gullah-Geechee
  • Underground RR Freedom Network

Gateway Arch National Park | St. Louis, MO

Prince William Forest Park | Washington-Rochambeau NHT

Crossroads of the Revolution National Heritage Area |

  • Abraham Staats House c. 1740 SBB, NJ
  • Battle of Bound Brook Reenactment

Ilinois & Michigan Canal National Heritage Area |

  • Chicago, IL
  • Lockport, IL

Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area |

  • Elvis Presley Birthplace & Museum
  • Historic DeSoto County Courthouse
  • Historic Lafayette County Courthouse
  • Ida B. Wells Barnett Museum
  • L.Q.C. Lamar House Museum
  • Rust College
  • Tennessee Williams Home
  • Tupelo Hardware Store
  • Union County Heritage Museum
  • University of Mississippi Lyceum
  • William Faulkner’s Rowan Oak
  • (Stephen D.) Lee Home Museum

Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area |

  • African American Museum of Iowa
  • Calkins Nature Area
  • Center Grove Orchard
  • Hardin County Farm Museum
  • Hartman Reserve
  • Hurstville Interpretive Center
  • Ice  House Museum
  • Jasper County Historical Museum
  • Maier Rural Heritage Center
  • Mathias Ham House
  • Motor Mill
  • National Farm Toy Museum
  • Sawmill Museum
  • Waterloo, IA
  • U of I Natural History Museum
  • Wapsipinicon Mill
The new name for Gateway National Park highlights this month’s cancellations. Photo from 2005.

Headlining this month’s new stamps is a new stamp for the recently-designated Gateway Arch National Park.   The famous St. Louis Arch had previous been in the National Park System under the name of the “Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. ” St. Louis is located at the confluence of the Missouri River with the Mississippi River, and so served as the “gateway to the west” from the time of Thomas Jefferson’s Louisiana Purchase onward, including to the completion of the arch in 1967.  The name “Jefferson National Expansion Memorial” was always one of the most-awkward names in the National Park System, and referenced the role of Thomas Jefferson in arranging for the Louisiana Purchase that brought much of the lands west of the Mississippi River into the United States.  Few people probably ever heard that name, outside of National Park junkies and those with a real attention to detail.  The new name of Gateway Arch National Park will certainly roll of the tongue much more easily, and will no doubt increase the visibility of the site itself, as well as increase the visibility of the fact that it is part of the National Park System.

Some purists have objected that the title of “national park” aught to be reserved for natural landscapes managed by the National Park Service.  However, this name is such a clear improvement over the old name, I find it hard to support that objection.  Many years ago, when I embarked on my first cross-country road trip to report for an assignment with the National Park Service in Colorado, the one detour that I made time for on my trip was a stop at the Gateway Arch.  It is truly one of the most recognizable landmarks in all of the National Park System, so why not go ahead and call it Gateway  Arch National Park?   In fact, I’d even argue for using it as a precedent for increasing the visibility of another iconic landmark in the National Park System.  How about combining Statue of Liberty National Monument and Castle Clinton National Monument into a new Liberty National Park?   The Statue of Liberty National Monument includes not just the iconic statute on Liberty Island, but also the Ellis Island Immigration Museum.  Castle Clinton is an early 19th-century fortification located in Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan.  It was used as an immigration processing facility in the decades before Ellis Island opens, and nowadays serves as one of the main ferry departure points for visitors to Liberty Island and Ellis Island.  Its a radical proposal,  but for Parkasaurus, Liberty National Park certainly has a nice ring to it.  So here’s a hearty welcome to Gateway Arch National Park to the list of national parks, and here’s hoping that it even inspires more.

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

Fort Pulaski National Monument is located near Savannah, Georgia and was the site of major bombardment in the Civil War.  The successful seige of the Fort heralded the end of the era of masonry coastal fortifications, which were now obsolete against rifled artillery.  The two cancellations this month are updates to existing cancellations reflecting Fort Pulaski’s participation in the Underground Railroad: Network to Freedom Partnership Program and in the Gullah-Geechee National Heritage Area.  Once Fort Pulaski was captured by Union forces in April 1862, they emancipated the slaves there, and the area became a magnet for slaves escaping from the surrounding areas and seeking freedom.  The Park also interprets the history of the free people of African ancestry who developed the unique Gullah culture in the coastal lowlands of Georgia and South Carolina.

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

Prince William Forest Park is located just outside the famed Quantico Marine Corps Base along Interstate 95 in Virginia.  The new cancellation commemorates the route taken by George Washington and French General Jean-Baptiste Rochambeau on their way from New England to the final battle at Yorktown in 1781 during the closing days of the Revolutionary War.

The new stamps for the Crossroads of the Revolution National Heritage Area supplement the additions for Union County that were featured in October 2017.  The Abraham Staats House is a historic home dating to circa 1740 in South Bound Brook, New Jersey.  The Battle of Bound Brook was a Revolutionary War engagement that occurred in 1777.  The reenactment occurs in April each year.

For the Illinois and Michigan Canal National Heritage Area the two new stamps this month, are actually reissues of earlier cancellations.  The stamp for Chicago, Illinois was previously at the Chicago Historical Society Museum, but they ended their participation in the Passport Program back in 2006.  The new stamp reading “Chicago, IL” will be located at the McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum.  The old stamp for Lockport, Illinois was located in the historic Gaylord Building. but which now has a stamp reading “Gaylord Building.”  The new Lockport, Illinois stamp is located at the Will County Historical Museum.

The home where Elvis Presley was born in Tupleo, Mississippi is among the highlights from this month’s expansion of the Passport Program in the Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area. Photo Credit: By Ken Lund, Las Vegas, Nevada [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
The Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area in northeast Mississippi has doubled its total number of cancellations this month from 12 to 24.  The headliners are the Elvis Presley Birthplace Museum in the city of Tupelo and the Tennessee Williams Home in the city of Columbus.   “The King” of rock’n’roll needs no introduction.  Tennessee Williams is the famed playwright who wrote A Streetcar Named Desire, Orpheus Descending, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.  His home is now a visitor welcome center in Columbus, and this stamp likely replaces an existing stamp simply reading “Columbus, MS.”  Back in Tupelo there is also the Tupelo Hardware Store, where Gladys Presley famously bought her son, Elvis, his first guitar.  Additionally, also  located in Columbus is the home of former Civil War General Stephen D. Lee, which now houses a museum of Civil War artifacts that is primarily open by appointment, with limited regular hours.

The University of Mississippi is located in Oxford, Mississippi.  The Lyceum is the oldest building remaining on campus and remains the primary administration building; it is named for the garden in Athens where Aristotle taught philosophy.  Rowan Oak is located adjacent to the University of Mississippi campus, and was the home of William Faulkner for 40 years.  In addition to winning two Pulitzer Prizes, Faulker is one of just 16 Americans to win the Nobel Prize in Literature.  He is also, I believe, only the second of those 16 Americans to be associated with a site with a Passport cancellation, the other being the Eugene O’Neill National Historic Site in the East Bay Area of California, which is a full-fledged unit of the National Park System.

The L.Q.C. Lamar House is also located in Oxford.  Lamar was a Congressman from Mississippi both before the Civil War and then again after Reconstruction ended in 1873.  He actually drafted Mississippi’s secession documents, and then went on to become an Ambassador for the Confederate States of America.  After his return to Congress, went on to become a Senator, a Secretary of the Interior under President Grover Cleveland, and then a Supreme Court Justice (nominated by Cleveland.)   The town of Oxford also includes the Historic Lafayette County Courthouse.

Ida B. Wells is perhaps somewhat less famous that the above cultural figures, but no less remarkable.  Born in Mississippi in the middle of the Civil War, she would lose both her parents to disease at the age of 16.  Nevertheless, she went on to become a journalist as an African-American woman, with a particular focus on documenting lynchings in the South.  She was also a civil rights activist.  Some 70 years before Rosa Parks, she refused to give up her seat in a segregated train car, only to be forcibly removed.  The year before, the U.S. Supreme Court had overturned the 1875 Civil Rights Act banning discrimination in public accommodations as unconstitutional. That decision that would take nearly 80 years to fully overturn, with passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1864.  The Ida B. Wells-Barnett Museum is open by appointment only in her hometown of Holly Springs, Mississippi.  Rust College is also located in Holly Springs, and is the historically black college where Ms. Wells earned her bachelor’s degree.

Finally, the new additions this month also include the Union County Heritage Museum in the town of New Albany.   The Historic DeSoto County Courthouse in Hernando includes a number of murals depicting the explorations of Hernando DeSoto.  The famed explorer Hernando De Soto arrived near present-day Bradenton, Florida in 1539 where there is a National Memorial as a full-fledged Unit of the National Park System dedicated to him.  DeSoto explored all the way to the Mississippi River before he died in either present-day Louisiana or Arkansas in 1542.  This stamp joins a previous stamp for the Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area simply reading “DeSoto County,” as well as a stamp in the same location for the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area – a relatively rare example of two National Heritage Areas overlapping with each other.

The Wapsipinicon Mill in the town of Independence, Iowa is among the highlights of the expanded Passport Program for the Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Area. Photo Credit: By Erich Fabricius [CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
The new stamps for the Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area take this partnership program in northeastern Iowa from 18 available cancellations to 32 available cancellations.   The African American Museum of Iowa can be found in the city of Cedar Rapids, and joins cancellations for five other museums there, including the Indian Creek Nature Center, the National Czech & Slovak Museum, the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, and the Grant Wood Studio.  Grant Wood is famously the artist behind the painting American Gothic, which is among the many Grant Wood pieces exhibited at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art.

The Calkins Nature Area is a county nature preserve located about an hour west of the city of Waterloo.   Close by the Calkins Nature Area is the Hardin County Farm Museum, whose website delightfully describes its location as “1 mile north of the stoplight in Eldora.”  The stamp for the Hartman Reserve is a replacement for an existing stamp at a Nature Center just outside Waterloo in Cedar Falls.  The Ice House Museum is also located in Cedar Falls, and tells the story of ice harvesting from the Cedar River.  Downtown Waterloo has a stamp for the Grout Museum District, which includes two historic homes, a science center, a natural history museum, and a museum dedicated to the Sullivan Brothers.  The Sullivan Brothers died while serving together in World War II, sparking a policy change that led to the events portrayed in the movie Saving Private Ryan.   The new stamp reading Waterloo, IA is expected to be kept at the Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area Headquarters in downtown Waterloo.

East of Waterloo can be found the Wapsipinicon Mill in the town of Independence, Iowa. The mill is run by the Buchanan County Historical Society and is an impressive six story structure.

Center Grove Orchard is a family fun farm in Cambridge, Iowa, about a half hour’s drive north of the State Capital in Des Moines. This stamp joins an existing one for Living History Farms in Urbandale, Iowa just outside of Des Moines to the west. Living History Farms includes the re-created frontier town of Walnut Hill, and three re-created frontier farms from 1700 (American Indian), 1850 (Pioneer Era), and 1900 (Horse-Powered.)   The Museum of the Jasper County Historical Society  is located about a half hour’s drive east of Des Moines in Newton, Iowa.   In Des Moines itself is the existing stamp for the Iowa State History Museum.

The Hurstville Interpretive Center is the Nature Center for Jackson County, about mid-way between Dubuque and Davenport in the eastern end of the state.  The House of Mathias Ham is a historic 19th century mansion on the north side of Dubuque.  In downtown Dubuque is an existing stamp for the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium.  On the south side of Dubuque is an existing stamp for the Mines of Spain State Recreation Area.  This natural area is notable for its monument to Julien Dubuque, who settled this area in the late 1700’s under the authority of the Spanish Governor in New Orleans, back when the Mississippi River Basin was a Spanish colony.

The Maier Rural Heritage Center is a museum to rural farm life in the town of Elkader in northern Iowa.   Also in Elkader is the Motor Mill, a 19th century flour mill that is now a historic site. There are four other existing cancellations across norther Iowa, including the Gilbertson Park Nature Center in Elgin, Iowa.   The Fossil and Prairie Center in remote Rockford, Iowa allows amateur fossil hunting among their collection of 365 million year old marine fossils from the Devonian Period.  The Iowa Dairy Center is an educational dairy farm operated by Northeast Iowa Community College in the town of Calmar, Iowa.  Finally, the Vesterhein Norwegian-American Museum can be found in the town of Decorah, Iowa.

West of Dubuque is the town of Dyersville, where you can find the National Farm Toy Museum.  Dyersville is also, of course, famously the home of the Field of Dreams movie site, from the famous Kevin Costner movie.  Alas, the Field of Dreams movie site is not yet an official Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area partner, so there’s no passport cancellation there – but Parkasaurus certainly thinks that we almost need to find a way to make that happen!

The Sawmill Museum is located a bit more than hour’s drive south of Dubuque, along the Mississippi River in Clinton, Iowa.  This museum tells the story of Iowa’s timber industry – an industry we don’t often associate with Iowa in the present day.   South of Clinton is an existing stamp for The Putnam Museum of science and history in Davenport, Iowa.   Just west of Davenport in Iowa City is the University of Iowa Natural History Museum.  Between Iowa City and Cedar Rapids is the existing stamp for the Amana Heritage Museum, in the town of Amana, Iowa.  The Amana were a Protestant Religious Sect founded in Europe, but which came to America in the 19th Century seeking religious freedom.

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

Finally, there was one stamp removed from the list this month.

Andrew Johnson National Historic Site | Tailor Shop

The Andrew Johnson National Historic Site in eastern Tennessee preserves Andrew Johnson’s tailor shop inside the visitor center itself.  There was really no need for it to have a separate cancellation, when it was located inside the visitor center itself, and so the National Park Service has apparently decided to discontinue it.

 

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

 

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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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October, November, & December 2016 New Stamps

The Lolo Pass Visitor Center has a new stamp for the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail. Photo from 2004.

As I return to blogging, I am going to quickly catch up by combining the new stamps for the last three months of 2016:

Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail | Lolo Pass, ID

North Country National Scenic Trail | Finger Lakes National Forest, NY

Ohio & Erie National Heritage Canalway |

      • Brecksville Nature Center
      • Canalway Center
      • Century Cycles

Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail |

      • Bitterroot Valley, MT
      • Cape Disappointment State Park
      • Farragut State Park
      • Grand Coulee Dam
      • The REACH Museum
      • Tulalatin, OR
      • Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge

Underground Railroad Freedom Network | Allegheny Portage Railroad NHS

Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor | Stephen & Harriet Myers Residence
Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area | Stephen & Harriet Myers Residence

Oregon National Historic Trail |

      • Craters of the Moon NM & PRES
      • Fossil Butte NM

Pony Express National Historic Trail | Camp Floyd State Park

The Lolo Pass in Idaho is where the Lewis & Clark expedition made a treacherous mountain crossing in September 1805, despite the early onset of winter weather.  This stamp will be available at the US Forest Service’s Lolo Pass Visitor Center on US Route 12.  The new stamp for the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail finally replaces a previous stamp that had been available here from 2004 to 2007.  In addition, this site has had a stamp for the Nez Perce National Historic Trail since 2011.

The new North Country National Scenic Trail replaces a previous stamp reading simply “New York” on the bottom that had been available at both the US Forest Service Finger Lakes Ranger Station in the town of Hector, NY as well as at Fort Stanwix National Monument in Rome, NY.  The “New York” stamp is still available at Fort Stanwix.

There are three new stamps for the Ohio & Erie Canalway National Heritage Area in eastern Ohio, joining six others from August 2016.  The Brecksville Nature Center provides interpretation and access to hiking trails in Cuyahoga Valley National Park.  The new stamp for the Canalway Center replaces an existing stamp for “Cuyahoga Heights, OH” at the Leonard Krieger Canalway Center.  Finally, Century Cycles provides bike rentals for trips along the Ohio & Erie Canal towpath from the town of Peninsula, Ohio, right in the center of Cuyahoga Valley National Park.  These two non-replacement additions bring the Ohio & Erie Canalway National Heritage Area up to a total of 15 cancellation locations.

The Grand Coulee Dam is a new stamping location for the Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail. This 2001 photo shows release of excess water from Lake Roosevelt. Photo from Bureau of Reclamation.

The 7 new stamps this month for the Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail join 7 others from September 2015, for a total of 14 for the Trail.   The Ravalli County Museum in the town of Hamilton in Montana’s Bitterroot Valley already has an official stamp for the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail and a semi-official stamp for the Nez Perce National Historic Trail, as the valley extends north-south to Idaho’s Lolo Pass, which was mentioned earlier.  Farragut State Park is located on the south shore of northern Idaho’s Lake Pend Oreille.  The Park owes its name to the World War II-era Farragut Naval Training Station, named after the hero of the Battle of Mobile Bay in the Civil War.  Lake Pend Oreille meanwhile, owes its origins, at least in part, to the flood of glacial Lake Missoula, commemorated by this Trail, and which I described in this post from September 2015.   The Turnbull  National Wildlife Refuge is located just across the border in Washington State, just south of Spokane.

The floods of glacial Lake Missoula are also responsible for having created the modern-day gorge of the Columbia River. The rest of the Ice Age Floods stamps this month are related to the Columbia River.  The Bureau of Reclamation‘s Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia River is responsible for creating Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area.  The REACH Museum is located downstream, and provides science education in the town of Richland, Washington.  It also serves as the Interpretive Center for the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Hanford Reach National Monument, which preserves one of the last-remaining free-flowing stretches, or “reaches,” of the Columbia River.  The town of Tualatin, Oregon is located just south of Portland.  The Tualatin Public Library contains some exhibits on the ice age history of the area, courtesy of the Tualatin Historical Society.   Finally, Cape Disappointment State Park is located on the Washington side of the mouth of the Columbia River, and is also part of Lewis & Clark National Historical Park unit of the National Park System as well as the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail.

Allegheny Portage National Historic Site is the latest stamp location in the Underground Railroad Freedom Network. This photo is of Engine House #6, which used cables to pull canal boats on rail cars up the incline. Photo from 2010.

The Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site preserves a small section of what was originally a 36 mile railroad using a series of cables to carry canal boats over the Allegheny Mountains between separate sections of the Pennsylvania Canal.   Operating from 1834 to 1854, until steam engines rendered the system of canal boats and cables obsolete, the railroad is known to also have been used by slaves attempting to escape to freedom; hence its inclusion in the Underground Railroad Freedom Network.

The Stephen and Harriet Myers Residence in Albany, New York is the recently-restored mid-19th century residence of the Myers, who were free blacks, abolitionists, and in the antebellum years, the center of underground railroad activity in Albany.  The building is being restored and maintained by the Underground Railroad History Project, and is part of both the Erie Canalway National Heritage Area and the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area.

The main route of the Oregon National Historic Trail passes some 100 miles to the south of Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve in central Idaho.  However, during the civil war, in order to avoid conflicts with the Northern Shoshone and Bannock Tribes, an alternate route to the north became increasingly popular.  This route became known as Goodale’s Cutoff, and it took the wagon trains on a treacherous crossing of the Craters of the Moon lava fields in what is known the northern portion of the park.

Meanwhile, the main route of the Oregon National Historic Trail passes some 60 miles to the south of the 50 million year-old fossils of Fossil Butte National Monument at Fort Bridger and Fort Bridger State Historic Site.  However, an alternate route, known as the Sublette Cutoff, passes within just 5 miles of the park, and the park has recently added the Oregon Trail to its interpretive activities.  Interestingly, the nearest town to Fossil Butte is Kemmerer, Wyoming, which is the home of the original J.C. Penney store.

Finally, Camp Floyd State Park preserves a historic stagecoach inn, just south of the Salt Lake City metro area in the town of Fairfield.  Camp Floyd is one of the first stops where the Pony Express National Historic Trail diverges from the California National Historic Trail.   The California Trail, which took 49ers to the gold fields of California, roughly follows the route of what is now Interstate 80  across northern Utah and Nevada.  The Pony Express Trail, however, took a route that was roughly 50 miles to the south, a route that doesn’t appear to have translated into our modern road system.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Boston African American National Historic Site | African American Trail

Castle Mountains National Monument | Nipton, CA

Gateway National Recreation Area | Jacob Riis Park

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

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

Cane River National Heritage Area | Grand Ecore Visitor Center

Underground Railroad Freedom Network | Harriet Tubman UGRR NHP

And here are the new cancellations for April:

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

Oregon National Historic Trail | Oregon City, OR

Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area |

      • Iuka, MS
      • Tupelo – Birthplace of Elvis Presley

Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area |

      • Cleveland, TN
      • Grammy Museum of Mississippi
Fullscreen capture 422016 82201 AM-001
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has a spiffy logo for their own centennial this year.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Holei Sea Arch is one of the attractions at the end of the Chain of Craters Road in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The Panau Coastal Contact Station at the end of the road is one of the new cancellations now available.
The Holei Sea Arch is one of the attractions at the end of the Chain of Craters Road in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The Panau Coastal Contact Station at the end of the road is one of the new cancellations now available.
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January Stamps: Steel, Slavery, and Security

The Gantry Crane is part of the Battle of Homestead self-guiding tour sponsored by the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area. Photo from 2006.

A total of 13 new stamps this month:

Everglades National Park | Nike Missile Site

Lassen Volcanic National Park | 100th Anniversary 1916-2016

Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail | Bitterroot Valley, MT

Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area |

      • Battle of Homestead 1892
      • Bost Building NHL
      • Carrie Furnace NHL
      • W.A. Young & Sons Machine Shop

Underground Railroad Freedom Network |

      • Cape Hatteras NS
      • Christiansted NHS
      • Fort Monroe NM
      • Fort Scott NHS
      • Monocacy NB
      • Petersburg NB’
Aerial view of the Nike Missile Base at Everglades National Park. Photo Credit: Rodney Cammouf, Nataionl Park Service
Aerial view of the Nike Missile Base at Everglades National Park. Photo Credit: Rodney Cammouf, Nataionl Park Service

If you participate in the Passport program long enough, you’ll no doubt have many cases of the “one that got away” – a stamp that you just missed due to the circumstances of the day.   The Parkasaurus Family just had one of those moments as we visited Everglades National Park over Christmas week just last month.  We had hoped that this visit would give us a “complete set” of all four Everglades Passport stamps, only to have Everglades receive this new stamp for their Nike Missile Site, which is open by guided tour.   As we like to say, though, this gives us another reason to go back to this park!

Nike Missiles were early surface-to-air missile defense systems that were deployed during the first part of the Cold War in the 1950’s and early 1960’s.   Nike Missile sites can also be viewed at several locations in Golden Gate National Recreation Area,  including one in the Marin Headlands area with its own Passport cancellation.   Nike Missile Sites are also included within the boundaries of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and Gateway National Recreation Area in New York and New Jersey, but are not part of the interpretive program at either park as near as I can tell.  (UPDATE: a reader in the comments informs me that Gateway NRA’s Sandy Hook Unit in New Jersey does offer guided tours of its well-preserved Nike Missile Site on the weekends in-season, as this schedule from Spring 2015 confirms. Gateway NRA has a second Nike Missle Site at Fort Tilden in Queens that is very deteriorated.)

Although the history of the Cold War is slowly being included in the National Park System through places like Minuteman Missile National Historic Site in South Dakota, Eveglades National Park is actually a surprisingly rich location to learn about the history of the Cold War.   Due to its proximity to Cuba, the Nike Missiles stationed in Everglades National Park were some of the last to be decommissioned, remaining active some five years after other sites around the country were taken out of service.  In addition, numerous locations around the Park were used by the Central Intelligence Agency to train Cuban exiles to conduct operations against the Castro Regime in Cuba. These efforts even included the stationing of secret weapons caches for arming Cuban exiles in areas around the park!  In addition to these clandestine offensive operations, during the 1950’s the US Air Force actually trained National Park Service Rangers as part of the Ground Observer Corps  Program, whose role was to have participants capable of identifying incoming hostile bombers attacking the United States.   Although advances in radar technology rendered the program obsolete by the late 1950’s, that program is illustrative of a much different era in U.S. History, one in which Everglades National Park was in many ways located on the United States’ front lines in the Cold War.

Meanwhile, Lassen Volcanic National Park, in northern California, is continuing an extended centennial celebration.  Last year, Lassen Volcanic added a new stamp marking the centennial of the 1915 eruption of Mt. Lassen.   This eruption lead to the creation of Lassen Volcanic National Park the following year on August 9th, just a couple weeks before the creation of the National Park Service itself on August 25, 1916.

 

While traversing the Bitterroot Valley in 1805, Lewis & Clark received confirmation of the Lolo Pass to the north over the Bitterroot Mountains. This photo from the Lochsa River, just beyond the Lolo Pass, illustrates the harsh, mountainous terrain, they would have to cross to reach the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean.
While traversing the Bitterroot Valley in 1805, Lewis & Clark received confirmation of the Lolo Pass to the north over the Bitterroot Mountains. This photo from the Lochsa River, just beyond the Lolo Pass, illustrates the harsh, mountainous terrain, they would have to cross to reach the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean. Photo from 2005

The new stamp for the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail will be located at the Ravalli County Museum in Hamilton, MT, about 30 miles south of Missoula. The Lewis & Clark expedition passed through this area in early September of 1805, the second year of their cross-country expedition. Just before passing through this relatively broad valley, they encountered the Native Americans now known as the Salish.  Lewis & Clark purchased horses from them and gained valuable information about the Lolo Pass to the north, which they would eventually take over the Bitterroot Mountains, just barely making it through before the early onset of winter.  Interestingly, Lewis & Clark were so amazed by the unique sounds of the Salish language that they speculated that the Salish must be the lost descendents of Welsh explorers from the 12th Century – which was a popular legend in America at the time.

It is also worth noting that the Bitterrot Valley actually owes its name somewhat indirectly to Lewis & Clark.  The American Indians of the area would eat the roots of this plant after boiling them until they were soft, and the women would collect these roots in the valley during the late summer each year.  In 1805, they shared some of these roots with the expedition, but Lewis found that “they had a very bitter taste, which was naucious  to my pallate.” (spellings from the original)   Nonetheless, on the return journey back east in 1806 Lewis was able to collect some specimens of the complete plant, which he he returned back east as part of the expedition’s collections.  Botanist Frederick Pursh of the University of Pennsylvania would later give this species the scientific name Lewisia rediviva in Lewis’ honor.   And of course, that initial assessment of the bitter taste lives on to this day in the name of the valley and of the mountains.

This decaying water tower is one of the signature landmarks at the Battle of Homestead site in the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area.. Photo from 2006.

The Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area, like other National Heritage Areas, is a partnership program – but in many ways, it also functions as “Steelmaking National Historical Park” in the absence of a full-fledged national park dedicated to the history of steelmaking in southwest Pennsylvania. The main starting point for any visit to the Heritage Area is the visitor center and headquarters for the River of Steel Heritage Alliance in Homestead, Pennsylvania, just outside of Pittsburgh.  The Bost Building  was originally built as a hotel, and served as the temporary headquarters of the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers during the contentious strike and lockout of 1892.  That strike culminated on July 6, 1892 with a conflict between the striking workers on one side and the security agents and strike-breakers hired by the Carnegie Steel Company on the other side.  The nearby site of that battle is already a Passport location for the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail and features a small visitor contact station, some wayside exhibits, and a cell phone audio tour.   Across the Monongahela River from this site are located the Carrie Furnaces National Historic Landmark.  There lie the remains of the giant blast furnaces at the Homestead Steel Works, and are open only by guided tour from May to October.  The Carrie Furnaces are actually the core of a proposal to create a Homestead Steelworks National Historical Park; you can also see part of this facility in this 13 minute online video tour.

Finally, the last new Passport location is for the W. A. Young and Sons Machine Shop and Foundry, which is located about an hour south of Homestead in Rices Landing, PA, and has been restored by the Rivers of Steel Heritage Alliance.

Appomattox Plantation at City Point in Petersburg National Battlefield once had a number of slaves before it was occupied by the Union Army in the closing stages of the Civil War.  Photo from 2015.

The last stamps this month are for the Underground Railroad: Network to Freedom.  This is partnership that includes any site that tells the story of slavery or emancipation in the United States.  Since this partnership includes more than 500 sites and programs, for purposes of the Passport, the Network only issues cancellations to sites in the Network that are already part of the National Park System proper.  The waterfront at Christiansted National Historic Site in the Virgin Islands was once part of the slave trade from 1733 to 1803 as a colony of Denmark.  Petersburg National Battlefield in Virginia preserves the Appommattox Plantation at City Point, which was later used as General Grant’s Headquarters.  Like most southern plantations, the plantation included a number of slaves, whose stories are now told by the National Park Service.  Similarly, Monocacy National Battlefield includes the Best Farm, which was founded  in 1793 as L’Hermitage by French plantation owners from what is now present-day Haiti.  The  Vincendiere Family owned slaves at the plantation into the 1850’s.

Fort Monroe National Monument in Virginia was amously used as a refuge for escaped slaves during the Civil War as well.  Union General Benjamin Butler argued that if the Confederates wished to argue that slaves were legally property and that they had legally seceeded from the Union, then escaped slaves were legally “contraband of war” and thus no longer needed to be returned under the terms of the Fugitive Slave Act. The story of escape from slavery is now part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.  A monument there marks the site of the Hotel d’Afrique on Hatteras Inlet, which was used as a safe haven for escaped slaves during the Civil War.

Finally, Fort Scott National Historic Site in eastern Kansas tells the story of the “Bleeding Kansas” years of the 1850’s.  During this time, pro-slavery southerners and pro-abolition northerners flooded in to Kansas, and frequently had conflicts with each other, as they attempted to influence whether Kansas would enter the Union as a so-called “slave state” or “free state.”  The violence would include an appearance by John Brown, who would later go on to fame (and his death) in a raid on the Federal Armory at Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.   This violence also led to the infamous case of Republican Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts being nearly caned to death by South Carolina Congressman Preston Brooks after Sumner gave a speech sharply criticizing the role of one of South Carolina’s Senators in instigating the violence in Kansas.  The violence ultimately came to an end only when southern Senators abandoned the US Senate during the Civil War, allowing Kansas to be admitted to the Union as a “free state” in 1861.

The addition of this month’s new stamps means that there are now 1, 997 Passport cancellations currently available.   That means next month we will almost certainly pass 2,000!    Excluding anniversary and special event cancellations, there are still 1,897 cancellations available.

Fort Scott National Historic Site
Fort Scott National Historic Site in Kansas is one of several new sites adding an Underground Railroad: Network to Freedom Passport stamp this month. Photo from 2006.

 

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August Stamps from Alaska to the Chesapeake Bay

Denali National Park & Preserve has one new stamp this month.  Photo from 2008.
Denali National Park & Preserve has one new stamp among the huge stack of new stamps  this month. Photo from 2008.

 

There is a huge stack of new stamps this month.

    First the stamps for actual units of the National Park System:

      • Waco Mammoth National Monument | Waco, TX
      • Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area | LIttle Brewster Island
      • Olympic National Park – Sol Duc Hot Springs
      • Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore | N. Manitou Island
    Next are a number of stamps for Trails and Heritage Areas:

      • Juan Bautista de Anza NHT | Big Break
      • Juan Bautista de Anza NHT | Ford Ord NM
      • Juan Bautista de Anza NHT | Monterrey, CA
      • Trail of Tears NHT | Historic Blythe Ferry
          Captain John Smith Chesapeake NHT |

            • Belle Isle State Park
            • Caledon State Park
            • Chippokes Plantation State Park
            • First Landing State Park
            • Kiptopeke State Park
            • Leesylvania State Park
            • Mason Neck State Park
            • Chickahominy Riverfront Park
            • Henricus Historical Park
            • James City County, VA
            • Mathews, VA
            • Reedville, VA
            • Vienna,  MD
          Champlain Valley National Heritage Parntership |

            • American Museum of Fly Fishing
            • ECHO Leahy Center for Lake Champlain
            • Green Mountain National Forest
            • Saratoga National Historical Park
    Then there a group of stamps all issued for the same location:

      • Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network | Port Tobacco, MD
      • Potomac Heritage NST | Port Tobacoo, MD
      • Star-Spangled Banner NHT | Port Tobacoo, MD
      • Underground Railroad Freedom Network | Port Tobacco, MD
      • Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route NHT | Port Tobacco, MD
    Finally, there are a few other new stamps to repot:

      • Nine new stamps (one for each region) for National Park Travelers Club Member Meet-Ups
      • Denali Park Kennels | Denali National Park & Preserve, Alaska
Waco Mammoth National Monument is the newest unit of the National Park System. Photo Credit: E. Wilson
Waco Mammoth National Monument is the newest unit of the National Park System. Photo Credit: E. Wilson

Waco Mammoth National Monument is the newest unit of the U.S. National Park System – so this is its first stamp.  You can read more about it in the Parkasaurus Post on it.

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.)

The Sol Duc Falls are among the scenic highlights near the Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort in Olympic National Park.  Photo from 2003.
The Sol Duc Falls are among the scenic highlights near the Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort in Olympic National Park. Photo from 2003.

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.

This month’stamp for the Historic Blythe Ferry is actually the third stamp for the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail to be located at Tennessee’s Cherokee Removal Park.  It joins the existing stamps for Meigs County, TN and the stamp added last month for Cherokee Removal MEM Park. TN.

 

Caledon State Park in Virginia is among the many Virginia State Parks receiving a new stamp for the Captain John Smith Chesapeake Naitonal HIstoric Trail this month.  Photo from 2012.
Caledon State Park in Virginia is among the many Virginia State Parks receiving a new stamp for the Captain John Smith Chesapeake Naitonal HIstoric Trail this month. Photo from 2012.

 

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 Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership is a National Heritage Area program for the area around Lake Champlain on the New York – Vermont border, as well as areas to the south around the Champlain Canal and Lake George.  These four additional stamps give it a total of nine passport locations.  Of these four, only the ECHO Leahy Center at the ECHO Lake Aquarium in Burlington, Vermont is located on Lake Champlain itself.   The Green Mountain National Forest is headquartered in Rutland, Vermont to the south, and the American Museum of Fly Fishing is even further south in Manchester, Vermont.  Saratoga National Historical Park is an actual outright national park, and commemorates the decisive American victory that was the turning point of the American Revolutionary War.  Through a quirk of overlapping designations, Saratoga NHP is actually part of three National Heritage Areas, as it is also included in the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area and the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor.

Thomas Stone National Historic Site in Maryland has expanded its stamp offerings this month!

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.

Visit the Denali National Park & Preserve kennels and you could see a sled dog like Annie!  Photo from NPS.gov.
Visit the Denali National Park & Preserve kennels and you could see a sled dog like Annie! Photo from NPS.gov.

Finally, Denali National Park & Preserve is the only national park that is patrolled by dogsled in the winter.  In the summer, the dogsled kennels are open for tours and demonstrations.  The National Park Service has a web page devoted to the kennels, including photos and bios of each of the sled dogs.   A visit to the kennels here is truly a unique national parks experience!   The addition of this stamp gives Denali National Park & Preserve a total of eight passport cancellations.

With this month’s numerous additions there are now 1,948 active Passport cancellations, or 1,851 excluding anniversary and special event cancellations.

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Harriet Tubman National Monument

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I recently had occasion to visit one of the newest national parks, the Harriet Tubman – Underground Railroad National Monument on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. There’s very little doubt that Harriet Tubman’s profile in American History and in modern-day American imagination makes her worthy of being honored with a site in the U.S. National Park System.   There’s also no question that for years the absence of a national park site dedicated to the Underground Railroad was a surprising omission.    However, the simple truth is that when it comes to historical places,  time is not always kind.

Nevertheless, the significance of Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad is beyond dispute.  Moreover, the State of Maryland was particularly eager to establish this national park as a catalyst for tourism on the Eastern Shore, which culminated in President Obama using the Antiquities Act to proclaim the area as a National Monument and the 399th unit of the U.S. National Park System in March 2013.

There’s no question that visiting a brand-new national park is much different than visiting one that has been fully established.   You won’t see many NPS Rangers in their wide-brimmed hats for one.   In fact, there is not yet an official visitor center, no scheduled ranger programs, and in fact,  there is not yet much in the way of any interpretive materials.

That doesn’t mean, however, that a visit can’t be worthwhile.   If you are interested in the Passport Program, there are currently a whopping three different cancellations to collect:

  • Cambridge, MD – This is the main stamp for the Park, and is kept at the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, as many of the main sites for this park are located within the Wildlife Refuge boundaries.
  • Harriet Tubman Organization – This is kept at the Harriet Tubman Museum in downtown Cambridge.   This site has very limited hours, mostly in the middle of the day, so be sure to check ahead.   There also isn’t really much a musuem just yet, but these are the offices for the non-profit association that will be helping this new national park get off the ground.
  • Harriet Tubman Scenic Byway – This is kept at the Dorchester County Visitor Center at Sailwinds Park, which is the main tourism visitor center for the area.

To visit this Park, definitely stop at the Dorchester County Visitor Center, regardless of whether you collect the stamps.  You can pick up the official NPS Unigrid Brochure for the park here, as well as two brochures on the Harriet Tubman Scenic Byway.  The Byway will take you past severl of the places that are part of the official National Monument, as well as beyond into the surrounding areas, as  you follow the story of Harriet Tubman’s life.

Better yet, before you go, be sure to download the Harriet Tubman Scenic Byway app for your smart phone.  You will want to make sure that you do the download before you go as it requires a download of extra data once you open the app for the first time, and you’ll want to use a wi-fi connection to do that.   The app really enhances the Harriet Tubman experience, though,  bringing her story to life with all the production values of an old-school radio play.

Although there is not much to see just yet, other than the landscape which in many places is little-changed from when Harriet Tubman lived here, it is still possible to bring this story to life.

Meanwhile, progress is being made – here is what the site of the future visitor center, to be operated by the Maryland State Park Service, currently looks like:

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