Colonial National Historical Park (Virginia)

… was established as Colonial National Monument on this date in 1930. It became a national historical park in 1936.

Colonial

On May 13, 1607, Jamestown was established as the first permanent English settlement in North America. Three cultures came together – European, Virginia Indian and African–to create a new society that would eventually seek independence from Great Britain. On October 19, 1781, American and French troops defeated the British at Yorktown in the last major battle of the American Revolutionary War.


Walk in the steps of Captain John Smith and Pocahontas where a successful English colonization of North America began. Despite early struggles to survive, the 1607 settlement evolved into a prosperous colony. As the colony expanded, the Virginia Indians were pushed out of their homeland. In 1619, the arrival of Africans was recorded, marking the origin of slavery in English North America.


Discover what it took for the United States to be independent as you explore the site of the last major battle of the Revolutionary War. Here at Yorktown, in the fall of 1781, General George Washington, with allied American and French forces, besieged General Charles Lord Cornwallis’s British army. On October 19, Cornwallis surrendered, effectively ending the war and ensuring independence.


The Colonial Parkway is a twenty-three mile scenic roadway stretching from the York River at Yorktown to the James River at Jamestown. It connects Virginia’s historic triangle: Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Yorktown. Several million travelers a year use this route to enjoy the natural and cultural beauty of Virginia.

Colonial National Historical Park

Cliff Palace

Cliff Palace

Richard Wetherill and his brother-in-law Charles Mason rode out on what is now Sun Point in search of lost cattle 127 years ago today (1888) and found Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde. That afternoon, Richard found Spruce Tree House, and the next day, the two men discovered Square Tower House. Al Wetherill, Richard’s brother, saw Cliff Palace sometime the year before, but he did not enter the dwelling, so the credit for “discovering” the dwelling has been given to Richard Wetherill and Charles Mason.

Wetherill

In 1901, Richard Wetherill homesteaded land that included Pueblo Bonito, Pueblo Del Arroyo, and Chetro Ketl in what is now Chaco Culture National Historical Park. Wetherill remained in Chaco Canyon, homesteading and operating a trading post at Pueblo Bonito until his murder in 1910. Chiishch’ilin Biy, charged with the murder, served time in prison, but was released in 1914 due to poor health. Wetherill is buried in the small cemetery west of Pueblo Bonito.

NewMexiKen took the photo of Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde National Park in 2006 and that of the Richard Wetherell [sic] grave marker at Chaco Culture National Historical Park in 2003. Click images for larger versions.

Capitol Reef (Utah)

… was designated a National Park 44 years ago today (1971). It had been a national monument since 1937.

Capitol Reef

The Waterpocket Fold, a 100-mile long wrinkle in the earth’s crust known as a monocline, extends from nearby Thousand Lakes Mountain to the Colorado River (now Lake Powell). Capitol Reef National Park was established to protect this grand and colorful geologic feature, as well as the unique natural and cultural history found in the area.

Capitol Reef National Park

Wupatki National Monument (Arizona)

… was proclaimed 91 years ago today (December 9, 1924).

Wupatki

Wupatki National Monument was established by President Calvin Coolidge on December 9, 1924, to preserve Citadel and Wupatki pueblos. Monument boundaries have been adjusted several times since then, and now include additional pueblos and other archeological resources on a total of 35,422 acres.

Wupatki represents a cultural crossroads, home to numerous groups of people over thousands of years. Understanding of earlier people comes from multiple perspectives, including the traditional history of the people themselves and interpretations by archeologists of structures and artifacts that remain. …


Today, Wupatki National Monument protects 56 square miles … of high desert directly west of the Little Colorado River and the Navajo Reservation. Its vistas preserve clues to geologic history, ecological change, and human settlement. All are intertwined.

Wupatki National Monument

El Morro National Monument (New Mexico)

… was established by President Theodore Roosevelt under the Antiquities Act 109 years ago today (December 8, 1906).

El Morro

Paso por aqui . . . A reliable waterhole hidden at the base of a massive sandstone bluff made El Morro (the bluff) a popular campsite. Ancestral Puebloans settled on the mesa top over 700 years ago. Spanish and American travelers rested, drank from the pool and carved their signatures, dates and messages for hundreds of years. Today, El Morro National Monument protects over 2,000 inscriptions and petroglyphs, as well as Ancestral Puebloan ruins.


Explorers and travelers have known of the pool by the great rock for centuries. A valuable water source and resting place, many who passed by inscribed their names and messages in the rock next to petroglyphs left by ancient Puebloans. The ruins of a large pueblo located on top of El Morro were vacated by the time the Spaniards arrived in the late 1500s, and its inhabitants may have moved to the nearby pueblos in Zuni and Acoma. As the American West grew in population, El Morro became a break along the trail for those passing through and a destination for sightseers. As the popularity of the area increased, so did the tradition of carving inscriptions on the rock. To preserve the historical importance of the area and initiate preservation efforts on the old inscriptions, El Morro was established as a national monument by a presidential proclamation on December 8, 1906.

El Morro National Monument

NewMexiKen photo 2007Click to enlarge
NewMexiKen photo 2007
Click to enlarge
NewMexiKen photo 2007Click to enlarge
NewMexiKen photo 2007
Click to enlarge

Petrified Forest National Park (Arizona)

… was first proclaimed a national monument by President Theodore Roosevelt under the Antiquities Act 109 years ago today (December 8, 1906). It became a national park in 1962.

PetrifiedForest

With one of the world’s largest and most colorful concentrations of petrified wood, multi-hued badlands of the Painted Desert, historic structures, archeological sites, and displays of 225 million year old fossils, this is a surprising land of scenic wonders and fascinating science.


Petrified Forest was set aside as a national monument in 1906 to preserve and protect the petrified wood for its scientific value. It is recognized today for having so much more, including a broad representation of the Late Triassic paleo-ecosystem, significant human history, clear night skies, fragile grasslands ecosystem, and unspoiled scenic vistas.


Petrified Forest is one of the national parks that has Class I air. Class I National Park Service areas have the highest level of air quality protection under the law. These areas are defined as national parks larger than 6,000 acres or wilderness areas over 5,000 acres that were in existence when the Clean Air Act was amended in 1977.

Petrified Forest National Park

NewMexiKen photo 2011
NewMexiKen photo 2011
Click for larger version