Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

On March 1, 1872, Yellowstone was established as the nation’s first national park, encompassing more than 2.2 million acres of wildlife, wilderness, and wondrous scenery. It is well known that Yellowstone contains an “embarrassment” of riches. This vast wilderness contains more than 10,000 hot springs, mud pots, hot pots, fumaroles, and other geothermal phenomena, including Old Faithful Geyser. Other treasures include waterfalls, wildlife, fossil forests, Yellowstone’s 1,500-foot deep Grand Canyon, Hayden Valley, Lower Falls, and Yellowstone Lake, the largest mountain lake in North America.

There are man-made wonders as well: numerous park lodges, museums, a road system designed to show off many of the wonders, and the historic Old Faithful Inn. The awe-inspiring Old Faithful Inn was built in 1903 – 1904 and designated a National 263Historic Landmark in 1987. This log hotel, with gabled roof, gnarled logs, and seven-story interior log lobby stands adjacent to the world’s best-known geyser, Old Faithful. Designed by Robert Reamer, the rustic grandeur of the Inn was a first for the National Park Service. The Inn continues as an active hotel with accommodations of varying price levels. Even if you aren’t a guest of the Inn, it definitely deserves a visit.

And that’s just for starters. Summon up your reserve energy, because the park offers unbounded, year-round recreational opportunities.

 

Eureka Springs Historic District

Legend has it that Indians had identified healing springs in the mountains of what later became “Arkansas” long before Europeans reached the region. In 1856, Dr. Alvah Jackson claimed that the waters from Basin Spring in northwestern Arkansas had cured his son of an eye ailment. After the Civil War, Dr. Jackson started a business selling “Dr. Jackson’s Eye Water,” and people began to flock to the site of the healing springs. By 1879, about 400 people had settled around the springs, and the new town of Eureka Springs was established in 1880. When the railroad arrived a few years later, Eureka Springs entered a golden age as one of America’s top spa towns. Fifty fine hotels, along with hundreds of commercial buildings and residences, were built in the town during the thirty years from 1880 to 1910. These beautiful old structures are now the heart of the Eureka Springs Historic District, which has over 33 significant and 250 contributing structures registered with the National Register of Historic Places. Basin Spring itself is located in Basin Park downtown. Other highlights of the historic district include: the 1886 Crescent Hotel, Eureka’s first stone structure, which is perched on top of one of the town’s hills; the 1900 New Orleans Hotel, which features fancy iron grillwork reminiscent of its namesake city; Hatchet Hall, lovingly named in remembrance of its most famous resident, Carrie Nation, who spent the last three years of her life in Eureka Springs; the Crescent Cottage Inn, originally a home built in 1881 by former Arkansas Governor Powell Clayton; and the Bank of Eureka Springs, with a meticulously restored interior of oak furniture, brass tellers’ cages, and antique business machines. The Eureka Springs Historical Museum is located in the former Califf House, which was built in 1889 as a residence and general store. The museum offers self-guided exhibits on local history, a doll collection, and historic photographs.

Mississinewa Battlefield, Indiana

I came upon this site unexpectedly while returning from an archaeological investigation I conducted near Marion, Indiana. I often drive on the back roads and “Blue Highways” when I am out doing field work. Interesting discoveries can be made when driving “off the beaten path.” The Mississinewa Battlefield is one of a number of historic sites in the Old Northwest Territories associated with the War of 1812.

Michilimackinac and Detroit were captured by the British by the summer of 1812 mostly with the assistance of the Native American Indiana populations in the region. Some from the Miami and Delaware groups had assembled along the Mississinewa River, a tributary of the Wabash River. Uneasy with the growing number of Indians gathering here William Henry Harrison, commander of the North Western Army, directed Lieutenant Colonel John B. Campbell to rout these people.

With a force of approximately 600 men Campbell marched through the regions burning villages they encountered. By the middle of December the returned to the site of their first attack along the Mississinewa River to camp. Early the next morning the were ambushed by an undetermined number of Indians. The battle was brief. Fifteen Indians and eight of Campbell’s soldiers had been killed. Forty two soldiers and an unknown number of Indians were badly wounded. Campbell gathered his forces and retreated to Greenville.

Today the battlefield can be found seven miles northwest of Marion, Indiana. It has two monuments: one dedicated to the American Indians and one to the American Soldiers. There are also twelve marked graves on the site. Every Autumn there is a reenactment of the battle at the site.

 

Independence National Historical Park, Philadelphia

Independence National Historical Park, located in downtown (‘Center City’) Philadelphia, features two icons of American history. Independence Hall was originally the State House of the Pennsylvania colony. The Continental Congress first met there in 1774, and adopted the Declaration of Independence there in 1776. Later, the Confederation Congress and the Constitutional Convention also met in Independence Hall. The Liberty Bell, which was originally the official bell of the Pennsylvania State House, is housed in a special display center just down the street from Independence Hall.

Location Information and directions