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.
Tubac Presidio State Historic Park preserves the remnants of a military fort established by the Spanish in 1752 to control the local Pima and Apache Indians and to serve as a base for further exploration of the Southwest. The old Spanish fort has been excavated by archaeologists from the University of Arizona. An underground display features portions of the original foundation, walls, and plaza floor of the fort uncovered by the archaeologists. A museum at the site exhibits archaeological remains of Arizona’s first European settlement, and displays on the pre-European, Spanish colonial, Mexican Republic, and territorial periods. The park also preserves the historic Old Tubac Schoolhouse (circa 1885) and Otero Social Hall (circa 1914), which are both on the National Register of Historic Places.
The park is located 45 miles south of Tucson off Interstate 19 near the community of Tubac.
Fort Canby (now known as Cape Disappointment) bears the distinction as the state’s first military installation. Constructed in 1852 to guard the mouth of the Columbia River, it was part of the defensive triad that included Fort Columbia and Fort Stevens (located on the Oregon side of the river.) The confluence of the Columbia and the Pacific Ocean was a historically significant destination that attracted Native peoples, European explorers, and the famed Lewis and Clark Expedition. This state park preserves some scattered remnants of the fortification, the oldest functioning lighthouse in the state built in 1856 (Cape Disappointment Lighthouse), and North Head Lighthouse. One of the park’s significant attractions is the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center that is sited on the bluffs overlooking the merging waters of river and ocean. It was near this point on November 7, 1805, that Lewis and Clark first glimpsed the Pacific Ocean.
Fort Canby State Park is located on the Washington side of the Columbia River, two miles southwest of Ilwaco off US Hwy. 101.
The discovery of gold in Canada’s Yukon brought thousands of gold hungry “stampeders” to Skagway and Dyea, Alaska. Skagway, at the head of the White Pass Trail, was the place where thousands of goldseekers poured ashore and went up the trail into Canada. The Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park features 15 restored buildings within the Skagway Historic District and administers the Chilkoot Trail and White Pass Trail units. Included in the park is a portion of the Dyea Townsite at the foot of the Chilkoot Trail. The park’s visitor center is in Skagway. The southernmost post of the park that commemorates the stampeders’ route is in Seattle at the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park.
Skagway, Alaska is located 80 miles by air north of Juneau at the northern end of Alaska’s Inside Passage. Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, is 110 miles by road north of Skagway. TRANSPORTATION: To Park: Access to Skagway is by small airplane, Alaska Marine Highway ferry vessels, cruise ships, train/bus (summer only), and vehicle on the Klondike Highway. In Park: Local tour and taxi operators offer transportation within the Skagway Historic District and to the Chilkoot trailhead in Dyea; bicycle; rental and personal vehicle.