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Press Release



Interior Secretary Kempthorne Designates 9 National Historic Landmarks in 9 States



01/16/2009


Contact: Shane Wolfe
202-208-6416


Washington, D.C. - Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne today announced the designation of nine new National Historic Landmarks in recognition of their importance in interpreting the heritage and history of the United States. The landmarks are located in Connecticut, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, California, Florida, Illinois, Colorado, Wisconsin and Arizona.

The sites include the farm of conservation icon Aldo Leopold, a Lutheran church designed by acclaimed architect Eliel Saarinen, the first known town platted and officially registered by an African American before the American Civil War and Sage Memorial Hospital School of Nursing, the first accredited nursing program for Native American and other minority women.

“The historical and cultural developments reflected by these new National Historic Landmarks is tremendous,” Kempthorne said. “As Secretary of the Interior, I am especially pleased to honor the place at which conservationist Aldo Leopold was inspired to write A Sand County Almanac, and where American Indian and other minority women received their nursing training. Each of the nine sites provides all Americans with opportunity to learn.”

The National Historic Landmark designation is the highest such recognition accorded by the nation to historic properties determined to be of exceptional value in representing or illustrating an important theme, event, or person in the history of the nation. These landmarks are actual sites where significant historical events occurred, places where prominent Americans lived or worked as well as sites that represent the ideas that shaped the nation. Designation and national recognition encourages owners to protect and preserve their properties.

The properties are recommended by the National Park System Advisory Board and designated by the Secretary of the Interior. Today, fewer than 2,500 historic places bear this national distinction. Additional information on the National Historic Landmark program can be found on the NPS website at http://www.cr.nps.gov/nhl

The new National Historic Landmarks announced today are:

Aldo Leopold Shack and Farm, Fairfield and Lewiston Townships, WI, is a property once owned by Aldo Leopold, a forester, writer, professor, and conservationist, who had a tremendous impact on natural resource conservation in America. Leopold pioneered the science and profession of wildlife management and his conservation philosophies led to the establishment of national policies on forestry, game management, watershed management and soil conservation. Even more significant has been the continuing influence of his concept of land health and his land ethic philosophy at the national and international levels in the years since his death. In the early 1930s, Leopold purchased a small farm and rehabilitated a chicken coop, lovingly referred to as the Shack, in Baraboo, Wisconsin, for him and his family as a weekend retreat where the family could focus on the restoration of the natural environment and observe daily and seasonal changes. The setting of the Shack provided inspiration for Leopold’s writings on conservation, the environment, and wildlife. After Leopold’s death in 1948, one of his most influential works, A Sand County Almanac was posthumously published; this was a collection of personal essays and sketches composed by Leopold predominately at the farm and the Shack.

Sage Memorial Hospital School of Nursing, Ganado Mission, AZ, the first accredited nursing program for Native American women in the United States, Sage Memorial Hospital School of Nursing provided Native American women with a professional nursing education. The school was a landmark institution in changing white attitudes toward the abilities of Native American people. The school attracted both Native American women as well as women from other minority groups. Eventually students representing over 50 different Native American tribes, as well as women of Mexican, Spanish, Inuit, Japanese, Filipino, and Chinese descent enrolled in the training program. The school’s diverse population clearly illustrates that access to an accredited nursing education was not, at that time, generally available within the United States to non-white students.

The education provided at Sage Memorial Hospital School of Nursing was of such a high quality that many white parents agitated to have their daughters admitted to the school. However, the director of Sage Memorial Hospital School of Nursing, Dr. Clarence G. Salsbury, made a calculated decision to maintain a nursing training program solely for minority students. This decision, made at a time when public education was actively segregated and minority children were refused entry to white schools, provides a unique and different insight into the doctrine of separate but equal educational opportunities.

Richard Alsop IV House, Middletown, CT, is nationally significant for its exterior and interior wall paintings that are considered to be exceptional in their scope and artistic quality. The frescoes, long acknowledged by scholars as important, were created in two or more campaigns between 1839 and ca. 1860 by skilled European artist-émigrés. Edward B. Allen was the first art historian to place their significance within the broader historical context of American decorative arts, noting in 1926: “their superior execution, classical inspiration, fine rich color, and excellent drawing and decorative quality.” In 1980, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York selected the painted stone walls and other painted elements of the Alsop House stair hall for reproduction in a new American Wing gallery. More recently, Peter Kenny, the curator of American Decorative Arts at the Met, described the Alsop frescoes as “unique and irreplaceable treasures [which] are truly part of our national cultural patrimony.”

Christ Church Lutheran, Minneapolis, MN, holds national significance as one of the most celebrated works by Eliel Saarinen, who was among the nation’s most acclaimed architects and architectural educators of the 20th century. Saarinen was on the leading edge of the modernist movement and played a pivotal role in the emergence of modernist religious architecture in the United States. Through his adept use of materials, proportion, scale, and light, Saarinen created the Christ Church Lutheran building with great dramatic effect and architectural impact, yet one that also retained a human scale and possessed a feeling of serenity and repose—these qualities distinguished Saarinen’s work from that of many of his fellow modernists. Eliel’s son, Eero Saarinen, directed design of the 1962 Education Wing addition and completed Saarinen Sr.’s original design concept. In 1977, the church was awarded the 25 Year Award from the American Institute of Architects, an honor that recognizes architectural designs of enduring significance.

Alfred Newton Richards Medical Research Laboratories and David Goddard Laboratories Buildings, Philadelphia, PA, are two buildings that were designed as a single unified design. They are nationally significant as one of the most important works of mid-20th-century American modernism and launched the architect, Louis Isadore Kahn, on a distinguished career that won him the Gold Medal from the American Institute of Architects in 1971. The importance of the Richards and Goddard buildings project was recognized nearly universally by the American architectural community from almost the moment of the inception of its design in 1957 as an important design alternative to the International style glass boxes that dominated American commercial and institutional design during the mid-20th century. Kahn’s design approach included use of exterior masonry materials in order to express load and structure throughout the buildings, providing a design of seeming weightlessness of the glass curtain walls and structural steel, and a conscious response to historic architectural forms and materials.

Steedman Estate (Casa del Herrero), Montecito, CA, is considered one of the most fully developed and intact examples of America’s Country Place Era that took form and flourished on the West Coast in the early 20th century. The estate features the landscape design of Ralph K. Stevens, Lockwood de Forest, Jr., and Francis T. Underhill and the architecture of George Washington Smith and other West Coast designers under the direction of the owner, George Steedman, who was a collector of antiquities and an amateur silversmith. The estate represents a remarkable fusion of landscape design, architecture, horticulture, and interior design, reflecting the influence of the antiquities, architecture, and gardens of Mediterranean Europe, particularly the region of Andalusia in southern Spain, and responding to the splendid climate, ideal growing conditions, Hispanic roots, and scenic beauty of the Southern California landscape. The estate represents the synthesis of what would become a nationally recognized California Style of landscape design and an important stage in the evolution of Spanish Colonial Revival domestic design in the United States.

The Miami Circle at Brickell Point Site, Miami, FL, is nationally significant as the former location of the primary village of the Tequesta People, who were one of the first Native North American groups encountered by Juan Ponce de León in 1513. The Tequesta people are important because of the persistence of their culture following European contact and their association with the unique environment of the Everglades. Following discovery of the site in 1998, research at the site has produced an impressive body of data that may make it one of the most intensively studied sites in the southern United States. Extensive historical, geological, and archeological research undertaken by a variety of different archeological teams, has effectively demonstrated the antiquity of the site and the circular feature. The site’s significance lies in the well-preserved evidence of American Indian architecture and the wealth of materials from on the site that relate to trade patterns, as well as the abundance of remains that shed light on ceremonial Tequesta practices.

New Philadelphia Town Site, Barry, Illinois, was founded in 1836 and is the first known town platted and officially registered by an African American before the American Civil War. The town’s founder, Frank McWhorter was a formerly enslaved man who bought his freedom and that of 15 family members through his earnings by mining Kentucky caves for crude niter and then processing the material into saltpeter. McWhorter purchased the 42 acres of land in rural Illinois that became the town of New Philadelphia and sold lots to African Americans, European Americans, and racially mixed residents. During its history, New Philadelphia flourished because of its proximity to major crossroads and proximity to the Mississippi and Illinois rivers. But, when the railroad bypassed the town, the community declined. Today, none of the original buildings of the town are visible above ground. New Philadelphia provides material evidence for understanding life in multi-racial communities of the era. At New Philadelphia, researchers have an opportunity to investigate both the relationships of formerly enslaved individuals, free-born African Americans, and people of European descent who lived together in a small rural community, and the effects of interaction between the groups. This avenue of research can provide nationally significant information about race and ethnicity, acculturation, and identity formation in ways that can make a substantial contribution to the archeological literature.

Ludlow Tent Colony, Ludlow, CO, is nationally significant in the history of industry for its association with the Ludlow Massacre, a pivotal event in American history that culminated in the destruction of the tent colony and the deaths of two women and eleven children on April 20, 1914. The tent colony originated when coal miners and their families were evicted from company housing during a strike that began in September 1913. The colony, or camp, was established by the United Mine Workers of America on vacant land near the mines and the small community of Ludlow. On April 24, a truce was declared and representatives of the miners and the mine owners med to discuss a “peace with justice.” In 1916, the United Mine Workers of America purchased the 40-acre site of the Ludlow Massacre, and two years later, a monument commemorating the massacre was built. Since then, union rallies and commemorations have become regular events at the site. The Ludlow Tent Colony Site is the first such strike camp to be archeologically investigated. This site is a prime example of what archeologists consider to be the perfect source of physical data because it is a short-term occupation that was destroyed by fire. Archeological investigation of the site to date is providing the means to gain a richer, more detailed, and more systematic understanding of the everyday reality of mining families of the period and throughout the United States.