WASHINGTON, D.C. — Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne today announced the designation of National Historic Landmarks in California, Florida, New York, Georgia and Nevada in recognition of their importance in interpreting the heritage and history of the United States. The sites range from the Florida home of a Pulitzer Prize author, to a school dormitory in Georgia important in the civil rights movement, to one of the most significant experiments in post-war American domestic architecture in California.
“These new National Historic Landmarks help tell the story of America as a country and of Americans as a people – our history, our land, our culture, our literature and architecture and our struggles,” 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 history of the nation. National Historic Landmarks can be actual sites where significant historical events occurred, places where prominent Americans worked or sites that represent the ideas that shaped our nation. Fewer than 2,500 historic places carry the title of National Historic Landmark.
Additional information on the National Historic Landmark program can be found on the NPS website at http://www.cr.nps.gov/landmarks.htm. The new National Historic Landmarks announced today are:
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings House and Farm Yard, Alachua County, Florida. This site was the home of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, the author of many major literary works, including The Yearling, which received the 1939 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, the novels South Moon Under, and Golden Apples, and her memoir, Cross Creek. She was elected to the National Academy of Arts and Letters.
The Rawlings house also is a notable example of the Cracker (descendents of pioneer settlers) style of architecture, derived from a variety of influences to suit the climate and available technology of the rural South.
Dorchester Academy Boys’ Dormitory, Liberty County, Georgia. The dormitory was the primary training site for the Citizen Education Program sponsored by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to educate thousands of mostly rural African-Americans about their legal rights and responsibilities during the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Located in rural eastern Georgia, in the town of Midway, the Academy trained thousands of teachers, who returned home to instruct others, resulting in an increase in the voter registration of African Americans. The initiative furthered the goals of the civil rights movement and ultimately passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Mud Lake Canal, Monroe County, Florida, an engineering achievement of the Tequesta People, is the best preserved example of an aboriginal canoe canal. Located on Cape Sable, at the juncture of the freshwater Everglades and the saltwater Florida Bay, the canal’s construction required considerable labor as well as a detailed knowledge of local hydrological and topographical conditions. The long, linear earthwork reflects the Tequesta’s impressive organizational skills and adaptation to the unique Everglades ecosystem. Tequesta sites are part of a broader tradition of long-distance canoe canal building. The Tequesta are also important because they were among the first recorded Native peoples encountered by Ponce de Leon when he explored the Florida coast in 1513.
Eames House (Case Study House #8), Los Angeles, Calif., is an important work of postwar Modern residential design and one of the most significant experiments in post-war American domestic architecture. Located in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles, the Eames House is part of John Entenza’s Case Study House Program for his Arts & Architecture magazine. The Program allowed innovative architects to imagine, design, and construct the ideal home for a postwar American family. The program experimented with new materials, mass-production techniques, design with prefabricated and standardized parts, and simplicity, suggesting an alternative to Levittown, which offered the one-size-fits-all approach. Constructed in 1949, the Eames House also is associated with the prominent designers Charles and Ray Eames, who lived in the house until their deaths in 1978 and 1988, respectively.
The Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY – The 478-acre cemetery is the largest and among the most influential of the early American rural cemeteries, carefully sited with dramatic views of the city and harbor below. Established in 1838, Green-Wood has the most extensive and intact landscape created following the principles of Andrew Jackson Downing, the most prominent landscape architect of the antebellum period. It is outstanding for its cohesive, picturesque character, integrated Gothic Revival architecture, and high integrity.
Nevada Northern Railway, East Ely Yards, Ely, White Pine County, Nevada, is the best-preserved, least altered, and most complete main yard complex remaining from the steam railroad era. The Nevada Northern Railway was established in 1905 to support the area’s booming copper mining industry. The era of dieselization of the railroad industry during the second half of the 20th century led to alterations and demolitions of railroad yards and shops nationwide. The East Ely yard escaped modernization because of its geographical remoteness and the decline of the mining industry it once served.
Borax Lake Site, Clear Lake County, Calif., is considered the best representative of the Paleo-Indian occupation of the far western United States and demonstrates the geographic spread of the earliest human occupation of our land. The Paleo-Indian deposits from the Borax Lake Site, including fluted Clovis-like projectile points dating from 12,000 to 10,000 years B.P., are of national significance. Previously archeologists thought that the path of migration left the West Coast as a marginal region that was not settled until thousands of years after man’s original entry into the New World. Early Man was drawn to the location’s reliable freshwater source and abundant lithic materials for tools. Borax Lake provided a stable lakeshore environment for the deposition of material culture from a succession of prehistoric cultures for some 9,000 years.