WASHINGTON, D.C. – Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne has designated 16 sites in 11 states as new National Historic Landmarks. The designation recognizes the sites as nationally significant historic places because they possess exceptional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States. (a full list of the sites is included at the end of the release)
“I am proud to be able to designate these sites as National Historic Landmarks,” Secretary Kempthorne said. “They are part of the historic and cultural fabric of our country. They have helped make us who we are as a nation and I hope they will continue to educate and inspire Americans for generations to come.”
National Historic Landmarks are buildings, sites, districts, structures, and objects that have been determined by the Secretary of the Interior to be nationally significant in American history and culture. Many of the most renowned historic properties in the Nation are landmarks. Mount Vernon, Pearl Harbor, the Apollo Mission Control Center, Alcatraz, and the Martin Luther King Birthplace in Atlanta, Ga. are landmarks that illustrate important contributions to the Nation's historical development.
The newly designated sites range from the Aaron Copland House in Cortlandt Manor, NY where the musician worked and lived from 1960 until his death in 1990; to The Forty Acres in Delano, Calif., which served as the headquarters for the first permanent agricultural labor union in the United States, the United Farmworkers of America; to Lyceum in the Circle Historic District of Oxford, Miss. where riots and unrest accompanied the ultimately successful efforts of James Meredith to transfer from a historically black college to the previously all-white University of Mississippi.
Today, fewer than 2,500 historic places bear this national distinction. Working with citizens throughout the nation, the National Historic Landmarks Program draws upon the expertise of National Park Service staff, who work to nominate new landmarks and provide assistance to existing landmarks. Completed nominations are reviewed by the National Park System Advisory Board, which makes recommendations for designation to the Secretary of the Interior. Designation as a National Historic Landmark automatically places a property in the National Register of Historic Places, if it is not already so listed.
The new sites were formally designated on October 7, 2008. The designations also included the acceptance of additional documentation for three existing sites, a boundary change for two existing sites and a name change for one existing site.
For more information on the National Historic Landmark Program, please visit www.nps.gov/history/nhl/.
New National Historic Landmarks
Aaron Copland House, Cortlandt Manor, NY
- Aaron Copland purchased this house, known as "Rock Hill" in 1960 when he was 60 years old; it was his home, studio, and base of operations for the next 30 years, until his death in 1990.
- Copland was one of the most important and profoundly influential figures in the history of American music. Copland's compositions brought a distinctly American sound, character, and zest to the European-bred classical music tradition.
- Copland's reputation rests on works such as Billy the Kid, Rodeo, Fanfare for the Common Man, and Appalachian Spring-a series of compositions on American subjects and lore that has few equals. By age 50, Copland had become one of the pivotal figures in American musical history. While at this property, Copland composed symphonic works, as well as ballet, chamber, orchestral, and piano works.
- This house reflects Copland's lifestyle, values, and personal modesty.
Bryn Athyn Historic District, Bryn Athyn, PA
- The Bryn Athyn historic district is a rare and outstanding example of the American Arts and Crafts movement in architecture and art. The historic district includes three family residences-father John Pitcairn's Beaux-Arts mansion, "Cairnwood," and sons Harold and Raymond's residences, "Cairncrest" and "Glencairn," respectively-and the Bryn Athyn Cathedral of the General Church of the New Jerusalem, all constructed from 1892 to 1938.
- Members of the Pitcairn were patrons of the resident artists and established workshops in the medieval tradition for the full range of arts and crafts of the building trades. The crafts shops and artisans worked solely for the Pitcairns.
Camp Uncas, Mohegan Lake, NY
- Camp Uncas was developed 1893 to 1895 on Mohegan Lake in what is now the Adirondack Forest Preserve.
- Camp Uncas is one of the best examples of Adirondack camp architecture, which was designed for leisure. It is of exceptional historical and architectural significance as the first Adirondack camp to be planned as a single unit by William West Durant, widely recognized as one of the most important innovators of the property type.
- At Camp Uncas, Durant developed the camp as a single cohesive unit: a "compound plan" for camps that provided for an array of separate buildings, all subordinate to the natural setting. Camp Uncas was built as an ensemble from start to finish.
- The Adirondack camp had a strong and lasting influence on the design of rustic buildings developed for national and state park systems in the 20th century.
College of Physicians of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA
- The 1909 building of the College of Physicians, and the institution that it houses, are among the most important monuments of the history of American medicine. The building houses the headquarters, library, and museum of the oldest private medical society in the United States.
- Since its founding in 1787 as a membership association of physicians, the College of Physicians has been distinguished for its contributions to medical research and education. Its membership comprises some of the leading American physicians and surgeons of the past three centuries.
- One of these was Dr. Silas Weir Mitchell, known as the nation's first neurologist. Dr. Mitchell was the dominant figure in creating the new building located in the city's Rittenhouse Square neighborhood.
- The College of Physicians building reflects the modern profession that Dr. Mitchell helped to shape.
- Designed by the Philadelphia firm of Cope & Stewardson, the building is an unusually bold example of an early 20th century institutional building designed in the classicism of 17th century England.
First Reformed Protestant Dutch Church, Kingston, NY
- The Renaissance Revival First Reformed Protestant Dutch Church of Kingston, New York was designed by Minard Lafever, who is considered one of the most important architects practicing in antebellum America.
- The First Reformed Protestant Dutch Church is deserving of recognition within the larger body of Lafever's work as a mature handling of Renaissance Revival forms and details, an eclectic mode that he helped to pioneer in America. He used a number of classical sources and precedents, including those of English architects Sir Christopher Wren and James Gibbs.
- The church is one of the most intact and most fully-developed examples of Lafevers Renaissance Revival work, a style that he was heavily involved in developing and promoting.
Forty Acres, Delano, CA
- The Forty Acres is associated with the career of César Chávez because it served as the headquarters for the first permanent agricultural labor union in the United States-the United Farmworkers of America-that he pioneered. The Union was established to improve working conditions for migrant workers.
- Between 1966 and 1974, this land was developed into a regional service center for farmworkers and a national administrative headquarters for the union. The farmworkers and their supporters constructed a gasoline station and auto repair shop, a multipurpose hall, a health clinic, and a retirement center.
- Through this property, Chavez emerged not only as the most important leader of the farmworkers movement, but also as the most important Latino leader in the nation. Through the farmworkers connection with other reform movements, Chavez also assumed major roles in the civil rights movement, the Chicano movement, and the environmental movement.
Freedom Tower, Miami, FL
- Constructed 1924-1925 for the Miami Daily News, Freedom Tower is nationally significant for its role during the 12-year period between 1962 and 1974 as the Cuban Assistance Center that offered assistance to hundreds of thousands of Cubans who immigrated as political exiles to South Florida when Fidel Castro assumed power of Cuba in 1959.
- The welcoming of the Cuban exile community was a matter of national policy begun under President Dwight D. Eisenhower, continued through the administrations of Presidents Kennedy and Nixon.
- Memories of Freedom Tower remain etched in the minds of many Cuban Americans who came to America and found support in the building.
- The building is significant because it represents the important story of the Cuban exodus to America and resettlement during the Cold War.
Frick Collection and Frick Art Reference Library Building, New York, NY
- Completed in 1912 and 1935 respectively, the Frick Collection and Arts Reference Library in New York City comprise an institution that is considered one of the great legacies of the first period of major art collecting in the United States, one of the defining activities of the Gilded Age elite.
- Among his contemporaries, Henry Clay Frick (1849-1919) stood out as both a collector and, with his superb Carrère & Hasting edifice sensitively designed for a high-profile Fifth Avenue site, architectural patron.
- Frick's daughter's establishment of the library was meant to encourage and develop the study of the fine arts and enhance her father's legacy through education and scholarship.
- Frick's vast fortune, knowledge of the arts and architecture, and desire to create a monument of the most personal sort resulted in a museum and institution with few rivals. It is one of the best examples of the arts house museum subset of the museum building type in the nation.
- The collection and arts library maintain an uncommon degree of physical integrity that conveys the exceptional importance of the Frick as a cultural institution and as an outstanding work of architecture.
John and Priscilla Alden Family Sites, Duxbury, MA
- The John and Priscilla Alden Sites property consists of the c. 1700 Alden house and the c. 1632 original Alden Homestead site. The property owes it significance to the cultural impact of The Courtship of Miles Standish, a poem about the courtship of John Alden and Priscilla Mullins, written by Alden descendent Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and published in 1858. The public embraced the poem. It became one of the most popular national origin stories in American folklore.
- The property also is the location of important archeological fieldwork and analysis by Roland Wells Robbins (1908-1987), a pioneer in the field of historical archeology, making the site of national significance in the development in this field. Robbins located and excavated a foundation of the original Alden home in 1960, which yielded nationally significant data that shed light on the lifeways of the first English settlers in North America.
Lyceum-The Circle Historic District, Oxford, MS
- Between September 30 and October 1, 1962, this property was the site of riots and unrest that accompanied the effort of James Meredith, who wished to transfer from a historically black college and register as a student at the University of Mississippi.
- In the chaos that erupted, 2 people lay dead, 160 U.S. Marshalls were wounded, and several hundred rioters were arrested.
- Despite the violent confrontation, Meredith successfully broke the color line at the previously all-white University of Mississippi to register in 1962, complete his undergraduate education, and graduate a year later.
- The riot at the Oxford, Mississippi campus was the most violent confrontation in the history of desegregation of public education in the United States. However, it marked a decisive turning point in the Kennedy administration's enforcement of Brown v Board of Education decision of 1954 and marked the decline in violent Southern resistance to school desegregation.
Rosebud Battlefield/Where the Girl Saved Her Brother, Big Horn County, MT
- Rosebud Battlefield is associated with the Great Sioux War of 1876-1877, considered to be the greatest Indian conflict ever to occur in America. The Great Sioux War is dominated by the victory of the Lakota and Northern Cheyenne warriors over Colonel George Custer and his 263 soldiers at Little Bighorn. This defeat shocked the nation celebrating its Centennial and ultimate led to a counter attack and to the Lakota's loss of the Black Hills.
- Rosebud Battlefield is associated with the lead up to the Battle of Little Bighorn. It represents the proactive position of the 1,500 Sioux and Northern Cheyenne as they forced the withdrawal of Brigadier General George Crook's 1,000 troops at Rosebud Creek. The presence of thousands of warriors and soldiers on the field on June 17, 1876, made the day one of the largest battles of the Indian wars.
- Eight days later, because Crook's troops were withdrawn from the war zone to resupply, they were not available to support Colonel Custer and his troops at Little Bighorn. This situation led to the disaster a week later at Little Bighorn.
- The battle at Rosebud Creek was exceptionally significant because the Indians fought as an army with great intensity to defend their traditional land.
- The Northern Cheyenne view the Rosebud Battlefield as sacred ground and hold ceremonies at the site in honor of the warriors and soldiers.
Shreveport Municipal Auditorium, Shreveport, LA
- The Shreveport Municipal Auditorium is significant as the home of KWKH's Louisiana Hayride, country music's most innovative and experimental radio show from 1948 to 1958, when the show ended its national network affiliation.
- The Hayride was the proving ground of new talent that would be lured away by the Grand Ole Opry management once they had become sought-after performers.
- The Hayride's willingness to accept unconventional performers and to be the harbinger of new sounds placed the show in a position of helping shape the development of the country music and rockabilly sound during the 1940s and 1950s.
- Despite its disappearance, the Hayride show is remembered as one of country music's most revered institutions.
Skyline Drive, Shenandoah National Park, VA
- Designed and constructed as the backbone of Shenandoah National Park from 1931 to 1942, Skyline Drive-with its associated overlooks, waysides, and recreational areas-represents an important stage in the adaptation of the principles and practices developed for Western park roads to the gentler topography of the Southern Appalachians and the emerging Eastern ideas for parkway development.
- The designers sought to create a road that lay lightly on the land, flowed gently with the natural topography, and put the visitor on top of the mountain.
- Skyline Drive is an outstanding example of the naturalistic landscape design developed by the National Park Service in the 1920s and refined in the following decade in the national parks and parkways of the eastern United States.
- Skyline Drive was praised for concentrating use to a relatively small area, leaving the balance in very light use appropriate for a wilderness setting. This became the model not only for the nation, but also for other nations.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY
- The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is nationally significant as one of Frank Lloyd Wright's most important commissions during his long, productive, and influential career.
- Built between 1956 and 1959, the museum is recognized as an icon of mid-20th century modern architecture. One of his last works, the Guggenheim represents the culmination of a lifetime of evolution of Wright's ideas about an "organic architecture."
- At this point in his career in the late 1940s and 1950s, Wright was experimenting with combinations of hexagons, spirals, and circles and produced designs with spiraling and circular forms. No matter what the museum and art professionals thought of the building as an art museum, they could not question the building's power and genius as a design.
- The Guggenheim launched the great and continuing age of museum architecture, where the building is a central part of the museum experience, on par with its contents.
Wolf Mountains Battlefield/Where Big Crow Walked Back and Forth, Rosebud County, MT
- The defeat of Custer and his 263 men under his command at Little Bighorn at the hands of the Lakota and Northern Cheyenne warriors on June 25, 1876, led to Congressional legislation that significantly increased the cavalry and infantry so they could pour troops into the Black Hills to destroy the tribes' military power.
- The Battle of Wolf Mountains on January 8, 1877, marked a turning point in the Great Sioux War because it resulted in the eventual surrender of the Sioux and Northern Cheyenne, which led to their removal to reservation lands.
- The arrival of Crazy Horse and his people on May 6 at Camp Robinson, Nebraska, symbolized the formal conclusion of the war.
- The Battle of Wolf Mountains was the last major war of the Great Sioux War. With the end of the war, tribal people were removed from the Northern Plains, making it possible for European Americans to settle and develop the area's commercial potential. The Indian tribes never roamed freely as before.
Woodrow Wilson Boyhood Home, Augusta, GA
Skidmore/Old Town Historic District, Portland, Oregon
- This nomination provides for a more complete and updated survey and identification of all of the resources within the boundary of this historic district. Originally designated a National Historic Landmark in 1977, this 20-block commercial district marks the site where Portland began and where it first flourished.
- Buildings, dating mostly from the mid-to-late 19th century, represent a variety of Victorian-era architectural styles. Many feature cast-iron fronts, constituting one of the most impressive collections of this particular building type on the West Coast.
- This updated nomination also documents the district's significance for its historical associations with the early development and economic growth of the Pacific Northwest's most important urban center of the last half of the 19th century.
- Portland's success during this period can be ascribed to its pioneer merchant-entrepreneurs, speculating and capitalizing on the city's strategic location at the head of navigation on the Willamette River and its connection to the greater Columbia River system.
- From this location, Portland grew from a tree stump-strewn clearing to the cultural, financial, trade, and transportation hub of the region, second only to San Francisco as the "metropolis" of the Far West.
Boundary Change and Updated Documentation:
Newport Historic District, Newport, Rhode Island
- This nomination adds the Common Burying Ground to the 1968 National Historic Landmark nomination and provides for a more complete and updated survey and identification of all resources located within the boundary of this historic district.
- The Common Burying Ground is an important part of the story of the early years of Newport. In its role as a resting place for everyman and anyman, it reflects the concept of brotherhood held by Roger Williams, the founder of Rhode Island.
- The Newport Historic District was designated as a National Historic Landmark in recognition of the city's role as one of colonial America's great seaport cities and its significant concentration of architectural landmarks of the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries. The historic district is a dense urban concentration of more than 1,300 residential, commercial, institutional, and public buildings.
Name Change, Boundary Change, and Updated Documentation:
Coltsville Historic District, Hartford, CT
- Located at the southern edge of downtown Hartford, Connecticut, the Coltsville Historic District is nationally significant for its association with Samuel Colt and the industrial enterprise that he founded, Colt's Patent Fire Arms Manufacturing Company. The company played a key role in the development of the American economy from 1855 to 1945. The Coltsville story revolves around Samuel Colt; it also is the story of his widow, Elizabeth Colt, because she guided the Colt Industries for approximately 40 years after Samuel's death in 1862.
- In 1836, Samuel Colt obtained his first patent for a personal revolver, which was an innovative product because it eliminated the need to reload after each shot. Colt went on to found the company that pioneered advanced manufacturing techniques, large quantity production, and successful marketing and distribution. The firearms industry led the way in fostering the interchangeability of parts and mechanization of virtually all aspects of manufacturing.
- While the Colt Manufacturing Company is best known for the production of firearms, between wars, the Colt Company manufactured a range of other products, such as typesetting machines and steam engines.
- The nomination for the Coltsville Historic District expands upon the existing Samuel Colt Home (Armsmear) National Historic Landmark, which was designated in 1966. The enlarged property tells the story not only of the Colt home, but the broader story of the important industrial enterprise, which includes industrial buildings, an office building, workers' housing, a church and parish house, and Colt Park.