Willamette Mission State Park, Oregon

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 Historic Area, Nevada

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.

Belle Boyd House, West Virginia

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, Arizona

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 State Park, Washington

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.

Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park (Skagway Unit), Alaska

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.

Lewis and Clark Long Camp, Idaho

Eager to return to the United States after their long journey, Lewis and Clark were forced to wait nearly six agonizing weeks (from May 14 to June 10, 1806) for snow in the mountains along the Lolo Trail to melt. During this time, many of the Nez Perce visited the expedition, and Lewis takes full advantage by making many notes on their manners and customs. He also administers medicine to many of the sick members of the tribe, who were brought to him for help. Finally, on the 10th of June, the expedition departs Long Camp. Their first stop on the way home is the quawmash fields where they intended to acquire as much meat as possible before attempting to re-cross the Bitterroot Mountains.

The Lewis and Clark Long Camp is marked by interpretive signs along U.S. Highway 12, 1 mile east of Kamiah. The campsite itself is located two miles distant on the Clearwater River on privately owned land.

Portage around the Great Falls of the Missouri, Montana

If the trek from St. Louis to the Mandan villages, against the current was difficult for Lewis and Clark, the portage around the Great Falls of the Missouri was next to impossible. The Great Falls are a stretch of the Missouri River where the channel drops some 400 feet over 10 miles. In order to circumvent this obstacle, the men of the Corps of Discovery would have to haul all of their belongings piecemeal over an 18 mile land trail. It took the men eight trips and roughly thirty days of intense physical labor to get all of their equipment past the falls. The captains had anticipated the portage would take only a week. Today, the falls have been modified by dams that generate hydroelectric power for the city of Great Falls. Portions of the portage route are visible from the Giant Springs side of the River. In addition to the portage route, the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center is located in a bluff overlooking the Missouri River. The Interpretive Center features exhibits on Lewis and Clark as well as specifics regarding the portage around the Great Falls.

The Great Falls of the Missouri are subsumed within the town of Great Falls. From U.S. 87/89, follow the 10th Avenue exit.

Fort King George State Historic Site, Georgia

From 1721 to 1736, Fort King George was the southern outpost of the British Empire in North America. The fort was built to protect the young and struggling colony of Georgia against any potential threat from the Spanish in Florida to the south. The British constructed a cypress blockhouse, barracks, and palisaded earthen fort on the site in 1721. The fort was garrisoned by His Majesty’s Independent Company. The fort itself was eventually abandoned because of the hardship the garrison had to endure from the harsh coastal environment. But Scottish Highlanders came to the site in 1736 to found a settlement, called Darien, which eventually became a foremost export center of lumber until 1925. The state of Georgia has reconstructed the eighteenth-century fortifications using old records and plans. A museum offers displays and exhibits on the local Guale Indians, the old fort, the Scots of Darien, and the nineteenth century Darien sawmill.

Fort King George State Historic Site is located in southeastern Georgia, near Darien, 3 miles east of Interstate 95 exit 49.

Harkin Store, Minnesota

This 19th century general store is a virtual time capsule. After the railroad passed by the town in 1873, trade diminished, and the store was abandoned with most of its inventory in situ. Today, the Brown County Historical Society maintains the store and staffs it with costumed interpreters. Couple a trip to the Harkin Store with your visit to nearby New Ulm, a picturesque town settled in the mid-1850s and located along the Minnesota River. The town’s significant role in the 1862 Dakota Conflict is examined in detail at the Brown County Historical Museum. Many of the buildings in New Ulm reflect the town’s Germanic heritage, including the August Schell Brewing Company and the Hermann Monument.

Harkin Store is located at 2 North Broadway on County Hwy. 21, eight miles northwest of New Ulm.