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.

Declaration (Graff) House, Pennsylvania

This reconstructed house was originally built in 1775 by Philadelphia bricklayer Jacob Graff, Jr. During the summer of 1776 Thomas Jefferson, a 33-year-old delegate from Virginia to the Continental Congress, rented two second-floor rooms and drafted the Declaration of Independence there. The first floor contains exhibits and a short film on the drafting of the Declaration. On the second floor, the bedroom and parlor that Jefferson occupied have been recreated and contain period furnishings. Also included are reproductions of Jefferson’s swivel chair and the lap desk he used when he wrote the Declaration. Declaration House, as it is now known, is part of Independence National Park in Philadelphia.

Located on the southwest corner of 7th and Market Streets, Philadelphia.

Fort at No. 4 Living History Museum, New Hampshire

At the time of the French and Indian War, No. 4 was the northernmost British settlement, thirty miles from its nearest neighbor. The fort was actually a fortified village, created by pulling together five existing province houses, building a sixth one, and connecting them with leantos, and a large two-story building containing the only entry gate into the fort. The recreated fort now standing in Charlestown, New Hampshire is a living history museum of this early period.

Fort at No. 4 is located in Charlestown, New Hampshire, 1 1/2 miles from Exit 7, off I-91.

Historic Richmondtown, New York

Richmond Town began as a hamlet in 1690 and by 1730 it was the seat of the county government. The Staten Island Historical Society began restoration of the old hamlet in 1936 to portray the evolution of a Staten Island settlement during the seventeenth, eighteenth, nineteenth, and early twentieth centuries. Historic Richmondtown is now a 100-acre park with more than two dozen historic buildings representing a variety of architectural styles across four centuries. The buildings include the Voorlezer’s House (circa 1696), the oldest remaining elementary school in the country, the Treasure House (circa 1700), where $5,000 in gold coins was found behind a wall, and the Grocery Store (circa 1870), which now displays the equipment of an old printing shop. The buildings display authentic furnishings, antique toys, vehicles, costumes, and memorabilia. Costumed reenactors model the life and the activities of householders, farmers, merchants, and tradesman of earlier eras.

Historic Richmondtown is located at 441 Clarke Avenue, Staten Island, New York 10306. To reach Historic Richmondtown by bus, take S #74 to Richmond Road and Court Place. By car, take the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge to the Richmond Road/Clove Road exit, and then turn left onto Richmond Avenue. Take Richmond approximately 5 miles. Historic Richmondtown is on the left. Or take the West Shore Expressway to Richmond Avenue, and turn left onto Arthur Kill Road to Clarke Avenue.

Fort Vasquez Museum, Colorado

Fort Vasquez was an important center for the Rocky Mountain fur trade in the first half of the nineteenth century. Native Americans brought hides and pelts to the post to exchange for blankets, kettles, whiskey, and even such items as black silk handkerchiefs and ivory combs. The fort was built by traders Louis Vasquez and Andrew Sublette. It had living quarters, a barn, storage, and trade rooms. Competition from other fur trade posts in the region forts forced Vasquez and Sublette to sell out in 1841, and over the next century the adobe structure fell into ruins. By 1937 only portions of the original walls remained. The Works Progress Administration reconstructed the fort in the late 1930’s and archaeological excavations were conducted in the 1960’s. Museum exhibits describe the fur trade, display Native American artifacts, and discuss information on such unusual topics as mountain man etiquette.

Fort Vasquez Museum is located at 13412 U.S. Route 85, one mile south of the town of Platteville, Colorado. Platteville is north of Denver.

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.

Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village, South Dakota

Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village is on the site of several villages established by Native Americans around 1000 AD near what is now Mitchell, South Dakota. About a thousand people lived in the village in 70 huts constructed of timber frames and mud plaster. The site has been amazingly well preserved because the land has not been plowed in modern times, leaving the ground relatively untouched and full of artifacts. The museum consists of two facilities, the Boehnen Museum and the Archeodome. The Boehnen Museum houses the Patton Gallery, which exhibits an artifact display (including arrowheads and tools) and a replica of a prehistoric Indian Village lodge. The Archeodome is built over two earth lodges and serves as a year round archeological laboratory, allowing archaeologists unlimited access to the excavation site.

Old Washington Historic State Park, Arkansas

The town of Washington was founded in 1824 as a stop on the Southwest Trail used by settlers migrating to the territory of Texas in the Mexican Republic. James Bowie, Sam Houston, and Davy Crockett all traveled through Washington on their way to Texas. Local blacksmith James Black is credited with inventing the famous Bowie Knife in Washington. The town later became a major service center for area planters and merchants. From 1863 to 1865 it was the capital of the Confederate state government of Arkansas after Little Rock was occupied by Union forces. Old Washington Historic State Park is a restoration town that includes both historic public and private buildings as well as much of Washington’s nineteenth-century landscape. The park offers tours of the Confederate Capitol, Tavern Inn, Blacksmith Shop, Weapons Museum, and several private residences. There is also a print museum, steam-powered cotton gin, and dining at the historic Williams Tavern Restaurant. The 1874 courthouse serves as the park’s visitor center. The park houses the Southwest Arkansas Regional Archives, a resource center for historical and genealogical research.

Location and Directions

Links: Old Washington Historic State Park

Fort Ticonderoga, New York

The French hurriedly built the fort at Ticonderoga at the beginning of the last French and Indian War in 1755 at the portage between Lake George and Lake Champlain. The fort, which they called Carillon, was originally constructed of earthen ramparts with log facings. The timber was gradually replaced by stone. Despite withstanding the rash attack by James Abercromby in 1758 (Ambercromby ordered a frontal assault againstFt Ticonderoga well-entrenched positions in front of the fort without waiting for his artillery to be brought forward), the French were forced to abandon the fort in 1759. The British garrisoned it until after the American revolution, and it fell into ruins thereafter. The fort was grandly reconstructed in 1908, and has been maintained by a private, not-for-profit educational institution since 1909. There is a fine museum (and an excellent bookstore) in the site. In addition to its historical interest, Ticonderoga enjoys a picturesque setting above the lower end of Lake Champlain.

Location Information and Directions

 

Links: Fort Ticonderoga

Fayette Historic State Park, Michigan

The great iron ore deposits of the Marquette Iron Range in the Upper Peninsula were exploited in the mid-nineteenth century, establishing the state as a leader in the iron industry, and triggering the growth of industry boomtowns. One of those was the town of Fayette, the site of The Jackson Iron Company’s blast furnace, built there in 1867. Fayette’s success centered on its charcoal-fired blast furnace and the easy access to the main ingredients, lime and charcoal (from the nearby limestone cliffs and hardwood forests) for the smelting process. The town prospered for almost three decades, but improved technology sealed its fate. The massive blast furnace could not compete with the newer coke-fired furnaces. When the blast furnace closed in 1891, so did Fayette. Today, the town is preserved within this state park, and visitors may take a self-guided walking tour of the site. Included among its 26 structures and surface features are the town hall, opera house, hotel, several homes, and the remains of the blast furnace. The iron industry and its cultural heritage is preserved in historic sites and museums throughout the Upper Peninsula. Two excellent sources are The Marquette County Historical Museum and the Michigan Iron Industry Museum in Negaunee.

Location Map and Directions: Click Here

Link: Historic Fayette Town Site