Other Historic Site Info
History Under Siege 2010Civil War Preservation Trust
Top Ten Most Endangered Sites
Site, State, Threat
Camp Allegheny, WV - Wind Turbine construction.
Cedar Creek, VA - Mining Operation
Fort Stevens, DC - Commercial Development
Gettysburg, PA - Gettysburg Casino project
Picacho Peak, AZ - Budget problems
Pickett's Mill, GA - Budget problems, flooding.
Richmond, KY - New highway interchange, development pressure.
South Mountains, MD - Natural gas compression station.
Thoroughfare Gap, VA - Cell phone tower.
Wilderness, VA - Wal-Mart and commercial center.
Fifteen At-Risk Sites: Belmont, MO and Columbus, KY; Chicamauga, GA; Harpers Ferry, WV; Honey Springs, OK; Knoxville, TN; Manassas, VA; Mobile AL; Monocacy, MD; Monterey Pass, PA; New Market Heights, VA; Petersburg, VA; Resaca, GA; Third Winchester, VA; Williamsburg, VA; Wilson's Creek, MO.
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Smokey Mountains Again Heads the List
Yes, they've done it again. The Great Smokey Mountain National Park heads the list of historic and national parks with the greatest attendance in the system at 9,463,538 visitors. Ahead of them among park units, but in a different category to us (NRA, Parkway, NSR, etc.), is the Blue Ridge Parkway and Golden Gate National Recreation Areas. For more on the winners and losers on National Park Service attendance in 2010, go to our page on Historic Site Attendance Statistics.
Jefferson National Expansion Memorial
It's gonna be an exciting time at the old Gateway Arch in St. Louis over the next five years as an expansion of the park, plus new landscape and museum design features are put in place to make the visitor experience there augment that wonderful ride to the top of the arch. It's gonna include a cable car ride across the Mississippi River to the new parkland in Illinois, too. Sounds like a wonderful addition to the story of western expansion told through the arch and its museums. Photo link below courtesy of the National Park Conservation Association.
Reseca Battlefield Taking Shape
No, there's not much there now. One monument and difficult access, but the hope is, that by the 150th anniversay of the Battle of Reseca in 2014, the first major battle of the Atlanta Campaign, that that will all change. Through the effort of a local preservation group, what was once a completely forgotten landscape is on the way to becoming a State Historic Site with roads, interpretation, and a visitor center. And now there's even more acreage being added to the site. The Civil War Trust has now embarked on a campaign to save 538 acres of the Reseca/Dallas tracts. This battle, which was fought in 1864 with 170,000 Union and Confederate troops, was part of the Sherman march through Georgia.
New Additions to the NPS
Two recent additions to the National Park Services. One from Michigan. And no, it's not a play from Kellogg, although there is a cereal sounding tie to tne new National Park, #393, in the National Park system. River Raisin National Battlefied Park, (so new the website if still pretty bare) honoring the five day War of 1812 battle from January 18-23 one year later that saw only 33 men out of 1,000 who fought for the USA not captured or killed, is now open for history tourist in southern Michigan near Monroe. And #394, in Hope, Arkansas, the boyhood home of President William Jefferson Clinton. This is the 21st home of a U.S. President now in the Park Service system.
Small Attractions at Big Places
A new addition this year to the Gettysburg Steinwehr Avenue private museum attractions list is the fine Gettysburg History Center, including the Diorama of the entire battle in miniature. This is a true gem! A painstaking recreation of the battle with over 20,000 soldiers and a light and sound show that all ages will enjoy. Don't miss this when traveling to Gettysburg. For more info, go to the Gettysburg Diorama.
Althought much of the focus on the preservation side othe Wilderness battlefield portion of Fredericksburg National Military Park has been on stopping Wal-Mart from being a neighbor, a new opportunity for preservation of 49 acres of Saunder Field has come through the Civil War Preservation Trust. To donate and see how you can help, go the the civil.org website. It's not a cheap piece of land and there is no matching funds available, so any help would be appreciated.
Ellis Island Oral Histories
One of the most spectacular historic sites in the United States has now added some of its splendor online. Listen to the oral history of some of the immigrants who traveled past the Statue of Liberty to the immigration center in New York harbor and helped make America great. Click the link below to go to ancenstry.com which is hosting the stories recorded by the National Park Service.
Gettysburg Countryclub Land
It has not been completed yet, but it looks as if the majority of the Gettysburg Country Club land will become part of Gettysburg National Military Park. Plans are under way to incorporate 95 acres (15 will remain in private hands) that saw significant fighting during the 1st day of the battle, including fighting by the famed Iron Brigade and General Pettigrew's troops (Pettigrew's men would also take part in Pickett's Charge, although for some reason, get less reknown for that than Pickett's men). This will add a great area of interpretation for the 1st day of battle and prevent up to 3.5 houses per acre being built on the tract. Thanks to the developer, the Conservation Fund, and the Park Service for moving in this direction.
Gettysburg Casino Hearing
The first public hearing on the Gettysburg Casino project will be held in Gettysburg on August 31, 2010 at 10 a.m. It will be held in the Comfort Suites hotel on Baltimore Street, just down from the new Visitor Center. If you wish to register to speak at the hearing, or wish to send in your comments against this terrible proposal via the web, you can do so at the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board site. Please help us, and No Casino Gettysburg, stop this proposal and keep America's most historic small town for education, reflection, and history.
Valley Forge Discovery
Archaeologists working at Valley Forge National Military Park have just unearthed proof of a long rumored addition to Washington's Headquarters. The dining room cabin, built behind the headquarters during the encampment for extra space used for dining and meetings had been mentioned in a letter by Martha Washington, but never before found. The dig is currently ongoing and you can see it during your car or shuttle tour of the site.
Gulf Coast National Parks
Efforts are underway to protect the lands at some of the Gulf of Mexico region's National Parks in the wake of the disaster caused by the gulf oil spill. Staff at Gulf Islands National Seashore and Everglades National Park are hard at work to minimize any effect this might cause.
Civil War History Under Siege
This year's edition of the Civil War Preservation Trusts History Under Siege report has been issued. Ten sites in great danger have been listed, including Camp Allegheny, WV; Cedar Creek, VA; Fort Stevens, DC; Gettysburg, PA; Picacho Peak, AZ; Pickett's Mill, GA; Richmond, KY; South Mountains, MD; Thoroughfare Gap, VA; and Wilderness, VA. They also include fifteen others that are at risk. The Gettysburg situation is reaching its head with two issues at the forefront, the Gettysburg casino plan for a site 1/2 mile from the park, as well as the Gettysburg Countryclub land, which has been sold to a developer. To read more abou the Gettysburg fight, go to our Preservation Gettysburg page. For more info about the CWPT and the History Under Siege report, click here.
Free Admission Days
We know the economy is still tough and the National Park Service does, too. Take a trip to one of the great national treasures on one of the six free admission days and take in some of the great nature and history they have to offer. There are two days in June (5-6), two days in August (15-16), as well as September 25 and November 11, Veterans Day. It'll be one great day for you and your crew.
On Their Way Up and Down, National Park Stats of 2009
The stats are in and they're showing more than a few ups and downs in the attendance numbers for our favorite national parks. Once again, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park retains its position as the top visited National Park and Historic Site while the Blue Ridge Parkway is the highest attended national park unit overall. And jumping into the top ten is the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historic Park. To take a look at the full top ten, as well as those that rose or slid in 2009, check out the America's Best History Stat page.
National Park Week
Take the time to enjoy one of our national parks during National Park Week from April 17-25. And this year, you can make the trip back to nature and history for FREE. The National Park Service is waiving all entrance fees to their 392 parks, national monuments, and military parks during this week. Now get outside, or inside, and enjoy the treasures of the United States. You'll be glad you did.
Casino and Land Protection Battle Continues at Gettysburg
The Mason-Dixon Casino Resort has officially filed application for a casino license on April 7, 2010, for their property only 1/2 mile from Gettysburg National Military Park. Four other applicants have also filed. The battle now shifts to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, who will select the location for this available license.
News on the Gettysburg protection front keeps adding problems as a local bank has now sold the Gettysburg Countryclub, located within the park boundaries and site of critical first day fighting, to a developer with the potential for 420 new homes on historic land. This sale, which was done while preservation groups were attempting to purchase the property, and who would still like to do so, is another example of the siege that is going on around Gettysburg, only put on hold during this economic downturn, but which has not gone away. With the new proposed casino project and developers getting ready to pounce again, it's important not to forget this fight to protect America's most historic small town. For more on this fight, check out our page on Preservation Gettysburg.
Protection Victory for Glacier National Park
A historic agreement has been reached between Montana and British Columbia, protecting the Flathead River Valley from future mining and mineral production and maintaining the habitat for wildlife just north of the Glacier National Park, and its feeder system of water resources that are critical in the area.
Composer Stirs Up Oregon Trail in Music
It's not often you're made aware of something that stis the historic soul, but that's just what Timothy Scott Misner has done with his new musical composition with multiple songs by Timothy Scott Misner called "Sketches from the Oregon Trail." Stirring. Great. Time the time to stop by his site. Worth a listen and perhaps a performance near you.
Florida Park Sites Perfect for Winter Fun
Don't just visit the mouse! There's so much historical and natural wonders in the state of Florida, and winter is the perfect time to visit Cape Canaveral National Seashore with hits pristine beaches or Everglades National Park with its creatures of nature or even St. Augustine and visit forts and other such history. Take a day or two on your Disney vacation to see some of the other wonders of Florida. You'll be glad you did.
Historic Site News and Information
Pinnacles Upgraded to National Park
President Obama announced that Pinnacles, previously a National Monument located in central California and home to caves and spires, has been upgraded to national park status. So what's that mean. A bit hard to define really, even when reading the official NPS desciptions, but suffice to say a monument is smaller and protects one significant resource or historic site while a national park is larger, more diverse, and provides large water or land areas to protect natural resources. So I guess Pinnacles is growing. Okay, they say not, but it will likely get an increase in tourism with the new designation Pinnacles was established as a National Monument in 1908 by Teddy Roosevelt at the same time as the Grand Canyon and Muir Woods.
Preservation Triumphs in 2012 at Civil War Sites
We wanted to congratulate all those who took part in the magnificent efforts of the Civil War Trust in 2012, as the preservation organization saved a record 3,735 acres of historic land at various parks around the nation. It included 39 transactions at 26 battlefield spread around eight states. Check out their individual sites to find out more and visit them during the 150th Civil War anniversary events through 2015.
The battlefields where land was preserved in 2012 are: Resaca, Ga.; Mill Springs, Perryville and Rowlett’s Station, Ky.; Mansfield, La.; Averasborough and Bentonville, N.C.; Gettysburg, Pa.; Fallen Timbers, Franklin, Johnsonville and Shiloh, Tenn.; Appomattox Court House, Cedar Creek, Cedar Mountain, Chancellorsville, Cool Spring, Cross Keys, Gaines’ Mill, Kelly’s Ford, Middleburg, Mine Run, Petersburg, Tom’s Brook and the Wilderness, Va.; and Summit Point, W.Va.
New Access in Acadia National Park
The fifth in a series of Village Connector Trails, the Duck Brook, opened last year. A partnership between the Friends of Acadia, Nature Valley, and the park helped complete this trail meant to provide better access, and reduce auto congestion. More trails are upcoming, including the trail in Trenton that will connect to the new Acadia Welcome Center.
Washington Crosses the Delaware
Nine thousand history buffs braved a cool December day when they witnessed the reenactment of George Washington and his 2,400 men as they crossed the Delaware River on December 25 at Washington's Crossing Park from Pennsylvania to New Jersey. This event commemorates the crossing and surprise attack on Trenton, that was one of the first victories for the Continental Army in the Revolutionary War.
Steven Spielberg Gives Address During Gettysburg Dedication Day
On November 19, on a platform not far removed from the original site of Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address in the military cemetery dedicated to the soldiers from the battle, acclaimed motion picture director Steven Spielberg gave a wonderful speach extolling the role Abraham Lincoln and Gettysburg played in the history of our nation. For more information and pictures of the event.
National Parks and Hurricane Sandy
All along the eastern seaboard, both along the ocean and inland, the parks and beaches of the National Park Service have been hard hit, just like everything else, by Hurricane Sandy. One particularly hard hit area is Gateway National Recreation Area in New Jersey and New York. This park, which sees over 2 million tourists in the summer to visit its beaches and history was impacted directly by the storm on October 29, and has sustained damage to docks, roads, buildings, equipment, and more.
War of 1812 - 200th Anniversary
Perhaps lost a bit in the great hooray of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War is the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, and the newly open 560 mile Star Spangled Banner National Trail. Over the next two years, various events will sprout up along the trail as the various sites commemoriate the battles and conflict. Check out the Star Spangled National Historic Trail for more information, a map, and the history of the conflict that gets less attention in american history than it deserves.
Schulykill River Trail and History Refound
Started a bit more than a decade ago, the effort to tell the story of the industrial revolution along the Skuylkill River, which stretches from the Delaware River in Philadelphia and the sites of Independence, Washington, and Franklin to the coal regions of Pennsylvania is now taking fruit. Although not yet complete in all its phases, you can now see just what the vision had in mind. While you can visit the more well known attractions of history along its path, including Valley Forge, you can now also visit restoration projects such as Morlatton Village, a small restored community along the river. It has a new trailhead, and is still undergoing renovation and sporadic opening. See their festival in late September. And people are finding this trail of history and recreation as thousands of bikers, hikers, and history lovers wind along its, as not yet completed path. Visit their festival site for more info on the September dates and times.
Civil War at the Smithsonian
A new exhibit, "Experience Civil War Photography: From the Home Front to the Battlefield" on the photography of the Civil War is now open at the Smithsonian Castle in conjuction with the Civil War Trust and will run through next July during this 150th anniversary on the conflict. Visitng the Smithsonian Castle, the original building of the instutution, is another step back into history, so if you're in Washington, D.C. over the next year, take some time to visit this history site and learn more about the history of the Civil War at the same time.
Gettysburg and Flight 93 Memorial
The Pennsylvania legislature will be voting soon on a bill, HB 2082, to create a zone of respect around these two sites, a ten acre buffer that will ban the placement of a casino within the zone. Contact your state representative to tell them to vote for this bill and prevent another potential project and bidder for future casino licenses in Pennsylvania from coming to these important national landmarks.
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
The three units of Theodore Roosevelt National Park contain some of the best open priarie and ranchland of the American West, but the hazards of the new oil and gas production in North Dakota, so vital to our nation's energy future, but containing significant problems for the area as well. Here's hoping that a balance can be maintained that will protect the park and its environs, including the geology beneath it, and create an energy future that will keep America strong.
Preservation and Facebook
Over one hundred thousand people have now liked the Facebook page of the the Civil War Trust, interested in the preservation work that the organization is doing to protect the battlefields across the nation. Add to the group and keep up with their campaigns by going to Civil War Trust Facebook.
Museum of the Confederacy
June 2012This spring, the Museum of the Confederacy opened its third site in Appomattox, only two miles from the Appomattox National Battlefield. With over 12,000 square feet of museum space about the Confederacy and the Civil War, visit the newest addition to the Museum of the Confederacy sites, which now includes the main museum in Richmond, the Confederate White House, also in Richmond, and the Appomattox museum.
Civil War Historic Site Attendance Increase
Fort Sumter saw an increase to 328,000 visitors from their normal 200,000 figure in 2011 with the 150th anniversary celebrations of the battle, and has now seen an 11% increase in 2012 with the ongoing celebrations about the anniversary of the Civil War over the next three years. These anniversaries continue in 2012 with Shiloh, Battle of Bull Run 2, Antietam, and many others. Other sites are seeing early increases as well, including Gettysburg National Battlefield Park, which has seen an increase of 92% in the first three months of 2012.
Martin Luther King Memorial Sees Spectacular Visitor Attendance Start
The winners and losers in the National Park attendance stats for 2011 are in, and the most spectacular gain is one unit that was in its first year, and only a partial year at that. The Martin Luther King Memorial on the basin of the National Mall in Washington, D.C. saw the highest attendance gain, at 1,490,358 visitors in 2011. The Memorial is bound to be amongst the highest visitied units of all 367 units in the National Park Service in 2011. To find out more about the winners and losers in 2011, go to the America's Best History 2011 Stats page.
Tule Springs May Become Next National Monument
Tule Springs, just outside Las Vegas, may become the newest national monument as an effort in Congress to protect the 23,000 acres rich with fossils and natural history makes its way through Washington channels. If approved, the National Monument would be managed by the National Park Service.
Shenandoah Battlefield Preservation
Two new preservation projects have begun by the Civil War Trust in the ongoing effort to make the Shenandoah Valley National Battlefield Park project an onging reality. 83 acres at the 1862 battle site of Cross Keys and 161 acres at the 1864 battle site of Tom's Brook are now part of this continuing campaign to save the many fields of battle within the two Valley campaigns.
Rails to Trails History
All across the country, abandoned railroad spurs are being turned into biking and walking trails, as well as telling the story of many historic sites and scenes along the way. The railroad history of the nation recounts numerous stories of industrial and westward expansion, and helps connects our cities and towns in some unique ways. For a list of the rails and trails in your area, go to railstotrails.org.
New Gulf Coast Park Proposed
In the counties south of Houston, the Lone Star National Recreation Area is being proposed to safeguard coastal wetlands and historic sites, coupled with an attempt to control flooding during storms. The park would potentially bring 1.5 million tourists to the area. For more information, go to the Houston Wilderness website.
Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Park
The new, and still emerging, national historical park in the Shenandoah Valley centers around a number of battles held in the valley during the Civil War. Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park, in 2002, was formed with 1,500 acres that had already been saved by various groups in the area & now is partnered with the National Park Service to manage the park. Interpretation at the park is still in development; in 2010 a summer (with some spring and fall tours on the weekends) follow the ranger tour began. Now 77 acres are being preserved by the Civil War Trust to be added to the park.
New Gettysburg Museum Moving Forward
The Seminary Ridge Museum, to be housed in Schmucker Hall, the site of the copula used as a viewing platform by Union troops during the 1st day of battle, is moving forward with a 16,000 square foot, $12 million private museum to be opened by the 150th anniversary of the battle. Located on the grounds of the Lutheran Theological Seminary, this museum will cover the 1st Day of Battle, its use as a field hospital, and the consequences of war on four floors of exhibits, many never before seen by the public.
Civil War 150th Anniversary, 2nd Year
Anniversary events are being planned across the Virginia, western, and southern campaigns of the Civil War. From 150th Anniversary events at Fort Donelson, Pea Ridge, Shiloh, Antietam, and many others, take advantage of learning the history of the Civil War among special events and celebrations. Remember, Antietam, in September of 1862, became the prompt for Abraham Lincoln to announce the upcoming Emancipation Proclamation, which adds to the importance of the Sharpsburg, Maryland conflict between General Lee's & General McClellan's forces.
Museum of the American Revolution
Architects have been selected and the process for building the Museum of the American Revolution next to Independence National Park in Philadelphia is moving forward, with opening scheduled for 2015. The museum will be built on land where the former visitor center for the park was located across from the First Bank of the United States, and will be dedicated to telling the story about the American Revolution.
Fort Monroe National Monument
Fort Monroe has been designated a National Monument by President Obama through the Antiquities Act and will now be preserved through the National Park Service. This fort and land, which saw historic value as a landing point for John Smith, was at the start of the free slave movement, and hosted many presidents and dignitaries, contains 8 miles of waterfront.
Fort Davis Expansion Dedication
On October 8, Fort Davis will dedicate an expansion of its park with an additional 48 acres that will protect the viewshed of this american west fort. Although we discuss the expansion and preservation of many Civil War sites, the american history parks of the west, including this Texas national historic site, are also in need of protection. This acquisition will prevent development from siting next to the park and is a good addition to the interpretive value of the frontier.
What was once a forgotten battlefield covered over with houses and strip malls is moving closer and closer in the direction of a battlefield park. The Battle of Franklin and the three mile long front in the southern section of town has been moving steadily over the last five to ten years to recover its lost history and develop interpretive areas in the city. Over one hundred acres of a former countryclub will form the East Front Battlefield Park, next to Carnton Plnatation, and lands around the central area of the Carter House have been added as well.
Preservation Efforts at Perryville
The Civil War Trust has announced a campaign to save 141 additional acres of the Perryville Battlefield. The land is adjacent to the current Perryville Battlefield State Historic Park. This Kentucky battle during October of 1862 saw over 70,000 soldiers in combat. For more information about the park.
July 4 Picnic at Valley Forge
The Friends of Valley Forge this year sponsored a 4th of July picnic in front of the visitor center of the historic park. With readings of the Declaration of Independence by Thomas Jefferson, as well as food, and lots of fun, the event was a nice addition to new interpretation at Valley Forge over the last five years. With the free Revolutionary War Shuttle that takes you around the park, redone Washington Headquarters area including an adjunt visitor center there in the train station that includes two five minute films, and summer story benches. it's well worth a visit for those who have never been, or have gone there often.
Gettysburg Casino Backers File Appeal
Mason-Dixon resort filed an appeal with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on June 20, 2011, challenging the decision of the gaming control board that denied them a license to operate one half mile from the Gettysburg National Military Park. The board awarded the license to the Nemacolin Resort south of Pittsburgh. Even though their first appeal to the Pennsylvania Gaming Board was denied, the backers of a casino are continuing their effort to bring casino gambling to Gettysburg. Whether they are successful in their attempts or not this time, this points out the necessity for the Pennsylvania state bill that would ban a casino from being placed within 10 miles of a national military park. With an additinoal license to be granted in 2017, let's urge PA lawmakers to prevent another repeat of this process and safeguard Gettysburg National Military Park from a casino.
Revolutionary War Shuttle at Valley Forge
The free shuttle takes visitors around the park during summer days, plus Memorial Day weekend, dropping them off at various locations, including the Muhlenberg Huts, the Memorial Arch, Washington's Headquarters, Varnum's Headquarters. There is also a tour shuttle with interpretation for a fee. There have been lots of good additions to the interpretation at Valley Forge over the last several years, including a new display center in the train station at Washington's Headquarters and story benches around the park. Check it out this summer if you're in the area.
Rekindle Freedom @ Statue of Liberty
It just comes even more greatly to mind with the events of the last day of April in a far off place like Pakistan, how important it is of the freedoms we enjoy provided by our ideas of liberty and freedom, plus the patriotic sacrifice of those who protect us. As a reminder, the Statue of Liberty sits in the harbor of New York, with its sister site Ellis Island. If you've never been to these two wonderful natioanal treasures, make a plan to go. It makes for a wonderful day and even includes a ferry ride or two.
Gettysburg Casino Application Denied
Gettysburg Casino application denied by the Pennsylvania Casino Control Board on a 6-1 vote, awarding the license to Nemacolin resort south of Pittsburgh at their meeting on April 14. Great thanks goes to the No Casino Gettysburg group, the Civil War Trust, and other preservation organizations who fought against this proposal. For those that haven't had the chance, you can still watch the wonderful videos here put together by the No Casino Gettysburg and Civil War Preservation Trust coaltion. It includes well known people who are against the casino idea, including Sam Waterston, Matthew Broderick, Ken Burns, and others.
Fort Sumter 150th Anniversary
From April 9-17, Fort Sumter and Charleston will be celebrating the 150th anniversary of the initial engagement of the Civil War. With a variety of reenactments, walks and talks, and a whole lot else, this first celebration of the 150th, which will go on for four years over the hundreds of civil war history sites from coast to coast, will set the stage for the reasons and actions that precipitated it all. For more information on the activities and site, visit our Fort Sumter and the NPS official webpage at Fort Sumter National Monument.