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