June 20, 2024

Hankering for History

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Department of Interior Announces the 2012 New National Landmarks

7 min read
Humpback Bridge, Allegheny Co., VA

Humpback Bridge, Allegheny Co., VA

The following post is from the blog, A Student of History. This was originally written yesterday, October 22nd.

Interior Designates 27 New National Landmarks – Landmarks Honor Nation’s Cultural and Natural Heritage


Humpback Bridge, Allegheny Co., VA
Humpback Bridge, Allegheny Co., VA

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced the designation of 26 national historic landmarks and one national natural landmark as places that possess exceptional value and quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States. Currently there are only 2,527 designated national historic landmarks and 592 national natural landmark sites across the country that bear this national distinction.

“Each of these landmarks represents a thread in the great tapestry that tells the story of our beautiful land, our diverse culture and our nation’s rich heritage,” said Salazar. “By designating these sites as national landmarks, we help meet the goals of President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative to establish a conservation ethic for the 21st century and reconnect people, especially young people, to our nation’s historic, cultural, and natural heritage.”

The national historic landmarks announced today include:

  • Admiral David Glasgow Farragut Gravesite, New York City, N.Y. The Admiral David Glasgow Farragut Gravesite is the only known, NHL-eligible property directly associated with Farragut, the son of Jorge Antonio Farragut-Mesquida, a Spaniard from the island of Minorca. Admiral Farragut is universally recognized as one of the most accomplished officers in American naval history, as well as one of the finest naval commanders who fought for either side during the Civil War.
  • Black Jack Battlefield, Douglas County, Kan. The three-hour Battle of Black Jack, fought on June 2, 1856, marked a culmination of escalating violence in “Bleeding Kansas” and the beginning of John Brown’s war on slavery, which would culminate in his raid on Harpers Ferry three years later.
  • Camp Evans, Wall Township, N.J. This World War II-era U.S. Army Signal Corps electronics development, testing, and production facility was one of the principal U.S. sites associated with the development of radar.
  • Central Branch, National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers/Dayton Veterans Administration Home, Dayton, Ohio. The home represents an evolution and shift in federal care for veterans starting in World War I (1917) and continuing through the consolidation of veteran’s benefits and the establishment of the Veterans Administration in 1930.
  • Central Congregational Church, Boston, Mass. Central Congregational Church is nationally significant because it has the largest intact Tiffany-designed ecclesiastical interior in its original location in America.
  • César E. Chávez National Monument at Nuestra Señora Reina de la Paz in Keene, Calif. La Paz became headquarters to the United Farm Workers of America in the early 1970s when Chávez and other leaders of the UFW orchestrated unprecedented successes for hundreds of thousands of farm workers, including passage of the first U.S. law that recognized farm workers’ collective bargaining rights. On October 8, 2012, President Obama declared the site a national monument. In addition to that action, today the Secretary announced the site has also been designated a national historic landmark.
  • Davis Oriole Earthlodge Site, Mills County, Iowa. The Davis Oriole Earthlodge Site outstandingly illustrates the physical features of lodge habitations that commonly recur across the Plains and is exceptionally valuable for the study of this predominant Plains Village pattern habitation type.
  • Denver & Rio Grande Railroad San Juan Extension (Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad), Conejos and Archuleta Counties, CO and Rio Arriba County, N.M. In terms of length, scale of operations, completeness, extensiveness of its steam operations, and state of preservation, the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad San Juan Extension is one of the country’s best surviving examples of a narrow gauge system from the peak of American railroading, roughly 1870 to 1930.
  • Denver Civic Center, Denver, Colo. Heralded as “one of the most complete and intact City Beautiful civic centers in the country,” the Denver Civic Center represents that movement’s widespread impact on American cities through the creation of planned civic centers in the early 20th century.
  • Dr. Bob’s Home (Dr. Robert and Anne Smith House), Akron, Ohio. Dr. Bob’s Home is associated with Dr. Robert Holbrook Smith (Dr. Bob) who, along with William Griffith Wilson (Bill W.), co-founded Alcoholics Anonymous, a global organization whose mission is to assist alcoholics in achieving and maintaining sobriety.
  • The Drakes Bay Historic and Archeological District, Point Reyes Station, Calif. The site is directly associated with the earliest documented cross-cultural encounter between California Indians and Europeans, leaving the most complete material record on the West Coast. In addition, the site contains the earliest recorded shipwreck on the West Coast of the United States, the Spanish San Agustín.
  • Greendale Historic District, Village of Greendale, Wis. Greendale, Wisconsin, one of three government-sponsored “greenbelt” communities built during the Great Depression, represents the federal response to the desperate unemployment of the era and the urgent need for housing reform for the urban working class.
  • The Hispanic Society of America Complex, New York City, N.Y. With the founding of the Hispanic Society of America in 1904, Archer Milton Huntington created an institution which directly encouraged the promotion of all cultures associated with the Iberian Peninsula (including those in South America). This represented a nationally significant shift in both attitudes toward Hispanic culture and understanding of Hispanic-American history in the United States. The Hispanic Society of America was at the forefront of challenging simplistic and negative perceptions of Hispanic history and societies in the New World.
  • Historic Moravian Bethlehem Historic District, Bethlehem, Pa. As an outstanding example of Moravian architecture and town planning, the Historic Moravian Bethlehem Historic District is the physical expression of a structured, 18th-century communal religious society.
  • Humpback Bridge, Alleghany County, Va. Built in 1857, the Humpback Bridge is an outstanding example of 19th-century covered bridge construction and is the best surviving example of a timber multiple-kingpost truss, used for some of the earliest covered bridges in America.
  • Knight’s Ferry Bridge, Stanislaus County, Calif. Constructed in 1862-1863, Knight’s Ferry Bridge is an exceptionally fine example of 19th-century covered bridge construction using the William Howe patented truss, one of the most successful and widely-used American timber bridge truss types.
  • McKeen Motor Car #70 (Virginia & Truckee Railway Motor Car #22), Carson City, Nev. This is the best surviving example of the first commercially viable application of internal combustion power in a self-propelled railroad car.
  • Murray Springs Clovis Site, Cochise County, Ariz. The Murray Springs Clovis Site is among the richest early Paleoindian sites in North America with a mammoth-kill site, a bison-kill site, and a Clovis camp site. Sites associated with the Clovis culture are extremely rare.
  • Poston Elementary School Unit 1, Colorado River Relocation Center, La Paz County, Ariz. The second of 10 relocation centers established for the confinement of Japanese Americans during World War II, Poston is the only relocation center that retains an above-ground complex of elementary school buildings.
  • The Republic, Columbus, Ind. The Republic is an exceptional work of modern architecture and one of the best examples of the work of Myron Goldsmith, a general partner in the firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, and a highly respected architect, architectural theorist, writer, and educator.
  • San José de los Jémez Mission and Gíusewa Pueblo Site, N.M. San José de los Jémez Mission and Gíusewa Pueblo Site is associated with the spread of Spanish control northward in New Spain into the present-day American Southwest from 1598 to about 1639 and is an early representation of the intersection of European and native cultures.
  • Stepping Stones (Bill and Lois Wilson House), Katonah, N.Y. Stepping Stones is the home of Bill and Lois Wilson, respective co-founders of Alcoholics Anonymous and the Al-Anon Family Groups. During the 47 years the Wilsons lived here, A.A. grew exponentially, spreading within and outside of the United States, with Bill Wilson serving as the leader of the movement.
  • United Congregational Church, Newport, R.I. The murals and opalescent and stained glass windows of United Congregational Church, executed by artist John LaFarge between 1880 and 1881, are the only comprehensive interior designed by the artist.
  • The United States Post Office and Court House (the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California), Los Angeles, Calif. Between 1945 and 1946, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California became an exceptionally important site in the annals of postwar American school desegregation efforts and the civil rights history of Mexican and Mexican-American people in the Southwest. This was the site of the 1946 Mendez v. Westminster School District lawsuit filed by five Latino families whose children were denied admission to public schools in Southern California. The decision by this federal court forbade segregation on the grounds that separate was not equal; it was the first court to declare that the doctrine of “separate but equal” ran counter to the United States Constitution.
  • The United States Post Office and Courthouse (James R. Browning U.S. Court of Appeals), San Francisco, Calif. Constructed between 1897 and 1905, the U.S. Post Office and Courthouse in San Francisco is a superlative Beaux-Arts public building exhibiting a complex merger of a number of artistic disciplines: architecture, sculpture, painting, stained-glass and decorative arts.
  • University Heights Campus (Bronx Community College of The City University of New York), Bronx, N.Y. New York University’s “University Heights Campus” is a nationally significant example of Beaux-Arts architecture in the United States, and among the most important works by Stanford White, partner in McKim, Mead & White, the preeminent American architectural firm at the turn of the 20th century.

Salazar also designated Big Spring Creek in Saguache County, Colo, as a national natural landmark. This feature is unique in the region as a spring-fed, gaining stream formed by groundwater discharging from an unconfined aquifer. Emergent wetlands along the creek support a diversity of rare species and plant communities in an otherwise arid landscape.

The National Historic Landmarks Program, established in 1935, is administered by the National Park Service on behalf of the Secretary of the Interior. The agency works with preservation officials and other partners interested in nominating a landmark. Completed applications are reviewed by the National Park System Advisory Board, which makes recommendations for designation to the Secretary of the Interior. If selected, property ownership remains intact but each site receives a designation letter, a plaque, and technical preservation advice.