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.

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.

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.

American Precision Museum, Vermont

The American Precision Museum celebrates what came to be known in the nineteenth century as the “American system of manufacturing.” The “American system” made modern mass manufacturing possible by combining great refinements in the division of labor, growing precision in machine tooling, and the use of standardized parts. These three factors made it possible to produce manufactured items of high quality at a cost low enough to market to the mass public. The “American system” first developed during the 1840’s and 1850’s in New England with light metalworking industries, including firearms, clocks, watches, locks, and tools of various kinds. From there it spread to neighboring areas and other industries.

The American Precision Museum is housed in a historic building that was itself part of the new system, the Robbins and Lawrence Armory, a National Historic Landmark that was built in 1846. The armory is a fine example of nineteenth century American industrial architecture. The museum displays examples of mechanical and manufacturing technology from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, including some of the interchangeable parts were first produced at the Robbins and Lawrence Armory. The collections also include historic hand and machine tools, guns, sewing machines, typewriters, scale models, measuring devices, and consumer products. A library and resource center are available to students and scholars. The museum also sponsors a variety of activities, including an archaeological excavation at a nearby gristmill site, lectures, demonstrations, and walking tours.

The American Precision Museum is located at 196 Main Street in Windsor, Vermont 05089. Windsor is just off Interstate 91 about 20 miles south of White River Junction, Vermont.

B & O Railroad Museum, Baltimore

Take our word for it: the B & O Railroad Museum is one of the most interesting museums you will ever visit. The museum is located in the Mt. Clare neighborhood of Baltimore, where America’s railroad history began. It was at Mt. Clare that the first mile of long distance rail was laid. From there, the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad would extend west to the first station stop at Ellicott’s Mills (itself now the site of a fine little railroad museum), and across the Appalachian Mountains, into the Ohio River Valley. The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad built the first major railroad yard at Mt. Clare, including the spectacular Roundhouse, which now holds the heart of the museum’s collection, consisting of historic steam diesel, and electric locomotives, as well as rare 19th and 20th century passenger and freight equipment. The museum’s wonderful collection of artifactsB and O Railroad includes textiles, lanterns, dining car china, silver, as well as communication devices, signals, and shop equipment. Also on display are hundreds of models ranging from early patent and prototype models to modern commercial model railroad kits. The museum includes the Hays T. Watkins Research Library, whose holdings include B&O Railroad business records, manuscript collections, maps, mechanical and engineering drawings, trade catalogues, periodicals, microforms, paper ephemera, as well as video tapes and motion picture films. Plan to take your time here, folks. And if you’re a railroad buff, we have to warn you that your loved ones may have trouble tearing you away. For a great day (or better, two days) of railroad history immersion, combine a visit to the B&O Railroad Museum with a trip to the Ellicott City B&O Railroad Station Museum in the nearby suburb of Ellicott City. Also, be sure to consult our information on the Baltimore Museum of Industry.

Location and Directions

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