John Jacob Astor

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Historic Rich People

Astor had been in a state of accumulation throughout his life. He began the American Fur Company on April 6, 1808. He added subsidiaries the Pacific Fur Company on June 23, 1810 to battle the British fur companies in the disputed northwest, and the Southwest Fur Company to compete along the Great Lakes and in the midwest. By 1834, John Jacob Astor, a German immigrant, was commonly known as the richest man in the United States after he sold the American Fur Company.



Minute Walk in History
Battle of the Clouds

This Battle of the Clouds was the second major battle of the Philadelphia Campaign in the American Revolution after the defeat of Washington at the Battle of Brandywine. Almost lost in history, let's walk along the area where Washington was lining his troops for the battle ahead. Two skirmishes occurred on both ends of the line, but a tropical storm hit, causing Washington to retreat.



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Barbary Coast, San Francisco

Historic Site of the Month
Barbary Coast, San Francisco

For some, and for some reason, most people tend to eliminate San Francisco and Northern California from their minds when they think of historic attractions. Oh, it is there somewhere, in the backs of their minds, when the city by the bay comes into focus, but it sits far back, beyond the visions of the city on the hill with cable cars plying the streets and romantic ballads sung about it, with seals on rocks and long ago Treasure Islands in the bay. But it is the history of San Francisco, the Barbary Coast, and the surrounding area that it spawned, from Sutter's Mill to the east and those 49ers looking for gold in the hills and a good time at night in the Barbary Coast establishments where their money would be spent.

Unisphere at New York World's Fair 1964

Fan Favorite
New York World's Fair 1964-5

It was the World's Fair that took the progress promises of 1939 and put them into action, even though it's unofficial stature in the lexicon of World's Fairs likely hurt its international side and popularity amongst the press. The stars here were the industrial giants, flexing their muscles in exhibits that would take items such as the interstate highway system promoted twenty years before and already in the making and expand them. General Motors with Futurama, IBM, Ford, Traveler's Insurance, just to name a few, marvelled patrons now in the age of television.

Timeline 1840's

Timeline of the Month
The 1840's

Impossible to conquer, yet with the intrepid spirit of the mountain men, miners, and pioneers, they would begin an earnest try as the nation moved, in its first real phase, from east to west.

Maggie Walker NHS

Spotlight on Lesser Known History
Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site

Maggie Lena (Draper) Walker was less than two years old when the Civil War ended, but by the time she was twenty years old, she had grown into a woman of such strength, even in the south that was foiling reconstruction into Jim Crow policies and politics that tried to prevent the black population in Richmond from prospering, that she would have none of that. It would be a long battle, take the rest of her life, and still needs completion. However, during her days in Jackson Ward, Maggie Lena Walker would join organizations, the Independent Order of St. Luke's, rise to the top, and help build the black businesses in the ward so that the people there were not dependent on the white businesses who didn't respect them anyway. Yes, she would become the first woman president of a bank she chartered, ... it would be far from her only notable accomplishment.

Lexington Maritime Disaster

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Maritime Tragedy

When we think of the tragic sinking of passenger or commercial ships in the United States, we often, naturally, pull our attention toward the Titanic or the Lusitania, which occurred later in our history and the second, part of the cause of U.S. involvement in World War I, but unfortunately these mishaps occurred at a significant pace, even more so in the earlier day of shipping. On January 13, 1840 off the coast of Long Island, New York, 139 people lost their lives when the steamship Lexington sank four miles off the coast.


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Battlefield Preservation

Even in these difficult times, work continues on preserving the battlefields of the Civil War, American Revolution, and the War of 1812. The amazing work of the Battlefields Trust is currently attempting to preserve land at Gaines Mill and Cold Harbor, what some think is the most important land to be preserved at those locations. Check them out.

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