Harpers Ferry is located at the confluence of two great rivers, the Potomac and the Shenandoah, and three states, West Virginia, Virginia, and Maryland. Thomas Jefferson described the scene in his Notes on the State of Virginia: “The passage of the Patowmac through the Blue Ridge is perhaps one of the most stupendous scenes in Nature. You stand on a very high point of land. On your right comes up the Shenandoah, having ranged along the foot of the mountain a hundred miles to seek a vent. On your left approaches the Patowmac in quest of a passage also. In the moment of their junction they rush together against the mountain, rend it asunder and pass off to the sea… This scene is worth a voyage across the Atlantic.” At Harpers Ferry, you can hike up to Jefferson’s Rock to enjoy the view that Jefferson described. If you’re up for a more strenuous hike, cross the river to Maryland Heights, 1,448 feet above the Potomac, for a breathtaking view of Harpers Ferry and the rivers. Explore Virginius Island along the banks of the Shenandoah River, where mills and factories operated until the Civil War and record floods in 1870 and 1889 reduced the island to ruins. And, of course, stroll the Lower Town Historic District, where George Washington built a federal arsenal, and John Brown launched his ill-fated raid in 1859.
Location Map and Directions: Click Here
Links: Harpers Ferry National Historic Park
Preserved within Marquette Mission Park is the site of the St. Ignace Mission, established by Fr. Marquette in the 17th century. A monument marks the burial site of the Jesuit missionary/explorer, and the Museum of Ojibwe Culture is housed in an adjacent building. Its exhibits highlight 17th century St. Ignace and the Contact Period when the Ojibwe, Huron, and French cultures mixed. The featured culture is the Ojibwa, the region’s original occupants. Included among the exhibits are a Huron long house and a garden with typical Native American plantings. Continue to explore the heritage of The Straits of Mackinac at sites throughout the St. Ignace region, including those linked by The Mackinac State Parks on Michigan’s Lower Peninsula.
The park and museum are located at 500-566 N. State Street in downtown St. Ignace at the intersection of Marquette and State Streets. St. Ignace is located at the northern terminus of the Mackinac Bridge, on the Upper Peninsula, at the junction of US-2 and I-75.
James Parton, one of Jefferson’s earliest biographers, said: “If Jefferson is wrong, America is wrong. If America is right, Jefferson was right.” Perhaps it would be better to say that Jefferson, and America, have been right on the large principles, but sometimes wrong in failing to carry through on them. Jefferson, the greatest articulator of those principles, spectacularly failed to carry them through on the issue of slavery. His failure anticipated America’s greatest failure, corrected only after civil war and a long struggle for civil rights. We know of no better place to meditate on American history, right and wrong, than surrounded by Jefferson’s words in his memorial by the placid Tidal Basin.
My parents have both told me that their families used to huddle around the radio regularly for Franklin Roosevelt’s “fireside chats.” Roosevelt was president through twelve years of unremitting crisis, first economic depression and then world war. There were more than a few times during that period when it must have seemed to many people in the country that the jig was up. Certainly one of Roosevelt’s achievements as president was to inspire confidence and simply cheer people up with his infectious optimism. Appropriately, the Roosevelt Memorial focuses on his words, from his pledge of a “new deal” to the “Four Freedoms.” The famous 10-foot statue shows him, as the public never saw him in his lifetime, in a wheelchair.
Located along the famous Cherry Tree Walk on the Tidal Basin near the National Mall. Interstates 66 and 395 provide access to the Mall from the south. Interstate 495, New York Avenue, Rock Creek Parkway, George Washington Memorial Parkway, and the Cabin John Parkway provide access from the North. Interstate 66, U.S. Route 50 and 29 provide access from the West. U.S. Routes 50, 1, and 4 provide access from the East. There are several Metro train routes from the suburban areas surrounding the city. The Smithsonian Metro stop comes out on the National Mall.
President John Adams, the first official resident of the White House, moved into the house in November 1800. The house was still not quite finished after nine years of construction. (It was a government contract, after all.) In 200 years, the house has endured arson (by British soldiers in 1815), one plane crash, numerous redecorations and renovations, far too many mediocre presidents, and the midnight soliloquies of Richard Nixon. The exterior, a significant example of Federal architecture, remains much as it was in 1800. The guided tours of the famous first-floor rooms show off more historic memorabilia than you will ever be able to absorb.
The White House Visitor Center is located at 1450 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, between 14th and 15th Streets on Pennsylvania Avenue. The Visitor Center is inside the north end of the Department of Commerce Building.
The Sarah Whitman Hooker Homestead, built in 1715, is the oldest surviving structure in West Hartford, Connecticut. The house, originally two-story structure with one room on each floor, was expanded several times during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Sarah Whitman Hooker lived in the house with her husband Thomas in the 1770’s. After Thomas died of disease at the siege of Boston in 1775, “the widow Hooker” was asked to lodge two Tory prisoners during the winter of 1775-76. During the winter, Sarah was forced to dissuade some of the townspeople from tarring and feathering her two guests. Sarah Hooker lived until 1830, but sold the house to her children in 1800. (The children later sold it to cousins.) The house is now open to the public on a limited schedule. The interior is furnished as it was during Sarah Whitman Hooker’s residence.
Sarah Whitman Hooker Homestead is located at 1237 New Britain Avenue West Hartford, Connecticut 06107, off Interstate 84 at exit 41.
The John Brown House Museum is located in a palatial mansion constructed in 1786, and features exhibits on Rhode Island furniture and decorative arts. John Brown (1736-1803) was a merchant and (as was not uncommon among colonial merchants) smuggler who had played an important role in the Gaspee affair of 1772, in which a British revenue ship was burned in a raid. After the Revolution, Brown made a fortune in (among other things) the China trade. The house is maintained and operated by the Rhode Island Historical Society, which has meticulously restored the house, even reproducing its original colors and French wallpapers. Many of the furnishings on display are original Brown family pieces. The John Brown House is also the Rhode Island Historical Society’s headquarters.
The John Brown House Museum is located at 52 Power Street, in Providence, Rhode Island 02906.
Located at the end of the Oregon Trail, this state park memorializes the first Mission established here in 1834 by the Methodist Reverend Jason Lee. The Reverend’s mission was unsuccessful, but the Methodists were a prominent voice in Oregon’s political arena. The park features a monument dedicated to Jason Lee, an operating car ferry landing (still in use since its establishment in 1844 when it floated covered wagons across the Willamette River), and ample recreational opportunities. Of natural interest is an ancient black cottonwood tree (older than 250 years) growing in the park that is alleged to be the largest in the world at 155 feet high.
Willamette Mission State Park is located off Wheatland Road, 8 miles north of Salem.
Rhyolite is one of Nevada’s most famous and accessible early 20th century gold-mining boom towns turned ghost town. The crumbling brick façade of the town’s former Cook Bank Building is purported to be the most photographed ghost town building in the west. When gold was discovered here in 1904, people flocked to Rhyolite and its population soon burgeoned to 5,000 – 10,000 people. The thriving boomtown was home to saloons, railroads, newspapers, an opera house, grocery stores, barber shops, a red-light district, and many others. In less than a decade, however, the town began to decline. By 1920 the town was all but abandoned. Today, visitors may wander the ghost town, visit the Rhyolite Bottle House or the Las Vegas and Tonopah Railroad Depot. While out there, add these other heritage sites to your route: the Lunar Crater Volcanic Field; the ET (Extraterrestrial) Highway, and the Central Nevada Museum in Tonopah.
Rhyolite is located 4 miles southwest of Beatty, Nevada on State Route 374. From the turn-off, travel 3 miles on a gravel road to the recreation area. The site is staffed by Bureau of Land Management personnel. There is no admission fee.
The Belle Boyd House in Martinsburg was the girlhood home of Belle Boyd, one of the most famous Confederate spies. She provided valuable military information to General “Stonewall” Jackson during the spring 1862 campaign in the Shenandoah Valley. Her exploits are legend in this region, and in 1992 The Berkeley County Historical Society purchased the home, saved it from destruction and preserved it in her memory. Renovations were completed on the Greek Revival home that was built in 1853 by Belle’s father, Ben Boyd. Today, the premises is the permanent home of The Berkeley County Historical Society and the Berkeley County Historic Landmarks Commission and two museums. Visitors are welcome to browse The Boyd Mason Civil War Museum collections that focus on local Civil War events and Belle Boyd. The Berkeley County Museum presents a general history of the area, and The Archives Section is available for genealogical research. Belle Boyd’s birthday is celebrated on the third weekend each May with a full schedule of Civil War activities.
The Belle Boyd House is located at 126 East Race Street in Martinsburg. WV.