WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Interior Department has designated the Albuquerque, New Mexico, home of famed World War II journalist Ernie Pyle as a National Historic Landmark because of its significance in interpreting the heritage and history of the United States.
“These new National Historic Landmarks help tell the story of America as a country and of Americans as a people – our land, our culture, our literature and architecture and our struggles,” Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne said. “I encourage all Americans to visit these places and breathe deeply of our history.”
The National Historic Landmark designation is the highest such recognition accorded by our nation to historic properties determined to be of exceptional value in representing or illustrating an important theme, event, or person in the nation’s history. Fewer than 2,500 historic places carry the title of National Historic Landmark.
Pyle, whose work connected people on the home front with the war and their sons, brothers, husbands, and friends, lived in the house from 1940, when it was built, until his death in 1945. The house provided Pyle and his wife with their first and only permanent home. Although his work required him to be away from home for long periods, he cited his “little white cottage in Albuquerque” in his writings, which resonated with the soldiers who yearned for home.
More people—an estimated 40 million readers—followed Pyle’s reports than many of the other correspondents who covered World War II. Pyle’s work brought him the Pulitzer Prize in 1944 for distinguished war correspondence. His World War II career took him to North Africa, the Mediterranean, England, Europe and the Pacific. On April 16, 1945, on a small island near Okinawa, Pyle was fatally shot by a sniper. His death made front page news across the country.
In 1947, the Albuquerque City Council accepted the house as a memorial to Pyle and as the city’s first branch library. Today, the Ernie Pyle Library houses a small collection of adult and children’s books, as well as Pyle memorabilia and archives. Additional information on the National Historic Landmark program can be found on the NPS website at http://www.cr.nps.gov/nhl/