Archive for the ‘Tom’ Category


Lincoln Home NHS – IL

November 1, 2022

10/13/2022 Th – drove to Chicago, cards with Cathie and Jim

10/14 F – breakfast with Mike, then drove to Milwaukee to help the Martin family move into their new/old (1911) home.  House on move in day – before Baba and Gummy yard work –

10/16 Tu – House after Baba and Gummy yard work –

Seamus, Drago, Lena, Helen

Beautiful Stain Glass Windows

10/19/2022 W – 4.5hr drive from Milwaukee to Lincoln Home NHS in Springfield IL.

Illinois is known as the “Land of Lincoln.”  Lincoln was born in KY in 1809 (Abraham Lincoln Birthplace NHP).  When he was seven (1816), his family moved to IN (Lincoln Boyhood Home N MEM), where his mother died (1818).  His father remarried (1819) and in 1830, when the family was preparing to move to IL, Abe (21) struck out on his own and moved to New Salem IL, 20 miles from Springfield.  This is where Lincoln became a lawyer and started his law practice and from which he was elected to the Illinois General Assembly (1834).  He moved to Springfield in 1837, married Mary Todd in 1842 and purchased what is now known as the Lincoln Home NHS in 1844.  He served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1847-1849.  He was active in the Republican Party and became the 16th President of the U.S. in 1861.  Lincoln was assassinated in Washington DC (Ford’s Theater NHS) on April 15, 1865.

2003 50 State Quarters Coin Illinois Uncirculated Reverse

Helen and I visited here in 1968 and we visited again in 1994 with Kate, Chad, and Helen’s cousin Damir.

On each of those trips we also visited Historic New Salem State Park in IL

Lincoln Tomb in Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield IL.  It is good luck to rub Lincoln’s nose!

Our first stop this year was at the Visitor Center

And then did the ranger house tour –

Some inside photos of the home – Sitting Room

Front Parlor

Dining Room


Lincoln’s Bedroom

Mary’s Bedroom

Boy’s Room

Mary Todd Lincoln

Campaign Wagon

Lincoln’s route to Springfield IL and Washington DC

The Dean and Rosenwald Houses

The Dean House contains models of the Lincoln home when purchased and through two upgrades

Boyhood home of Julius Rosenwald who would go on to become a partner in Sears, Roebuck & Company.  With the guidance of Booker T. Washington, he provided grants to establish more than 5,000 “Rosenwald Schools” in rural African American communities throughout fifteen southern states after the Civil War.  There is a proposal pending to establish a Rosenwald Schools National Historical Park.

Photo Spot – Lincoln’s House Becomes a Shrine


Kennedy-King National Commemorative Site – IN

August 31, 2022

9/3 F – drove to Indianapolis to spend the weekend with Peter and Heather as their guests (Christmas present), We walked the dogs, had pizza, and played cards.

9/4 Sa – stopped at the Kennedy-King National Commemorative Site in Indianapolis.  Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968, in Memphis TN.  Robert Kennedy, who was in Indy and running for President, gave an impromptu speech speaking to a mostly African American crowd.  Authorities advised Kennedy not to speak fearing a riot.  Riots were breaking out all over the U.S.

Kennedy announced the assassination and spoke of how MLK devoted his life to love, peace, and justice.  He stated that his brother, President John F. Kennedy, was also killed (1963) by a white man and that Americans must work at understanding why these things happen and rise above these tragedies. 

His improvised speech is credited with preventing a riot in the city.  The Black community felt genuine empathy in his words.  They heard a powerful speech emphasizing the need for healing in this country.

Next on our agenda was a one-hour boat tour through Bluespring Caverns in southern IN.

It is the longest known subterranean river cave in the U.S.  It is a karst (limestone) cave with about 21-miles of surveyed passages.

Continued to the West Baden Springs Resort Hotel outside of French Lick IN.

Built in 1902, with a 200-foot free-span atrium dome (largest in the world at the time) and extensive grounds, it was known as the “Eighth Wonder of the World.”

Had dinner and breakfast the next morning in the impressive atrium

Helen turned $1 into $41.84 at the slot machines in the French Lick Casino!

Dinner in the Atrium

Ceiling Reflection off Glass Table

Evening of Pool, OSU Game (beat Notre Dame), and Euchre

9/4 Su – late breakfast at the resort with Peter and Heather and then a casual 3hr drive to the Cincinnati Airport.  My Alaska Air flight to Seattle left at 6pm, the next flight at 9pm, and I arrived in Anchorage at midnight. 


OH to CA National Park Units

May 31, 2022

4/6/2022 – Trail of Tears National Historic Trail in Moccasin Bend National Archeological District of Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park in Chattanooga TN.  This is one small segment of a route used to forcefully remove Cherokee and other Native Americans from their homelands to “Indian Territory” (now Oklahoma) from 1830 to 1850.

Brown’s Ferry, a part of the Federal Road connecting Chattanooga to points west, was on a route used to force Cherokee from their homes in GA after gold was discovered there in 1838. 

The Trail of Tears was a series of forced displacements of about 60,000 Native Americans as part of the Indian Removal Act of 1830.  The relocated peoples suffered from exposure, disease, and starvation – thousands died while on the trail.  Some have labeled this “American Genocide or Ethnic Cleansing.” How different is this from the forced relocation of Ukrainians from Ukraine?  This question could result in some interesting moral discourse.  Does it relate to Critical Race Theory?  

As mentioned, this unit is part of Chickamauga and Chattanooga NMP – the marker describes how Federal troops crossed the Tennessee River on pontoon boats (October 27,1863) here and attacked the sleeping Confederates thereby opening a much-needed supply line to Union forces.  See this Blog for our January 2020 visit to this Civil War Military Park. 

On this trip, I started at Orchard Knob in Chattanooga where General Grant had his headquarters and a 360-degree view of the battlefield – including Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge.

The Illinois Monument

The view of Missionary Ridge

I then drove to the Sherman Reservation on Missionary Ridge and followed the ridge (some beautiful houses on this route) to the Chickamauga Battlefield in GA

Delong Reservation

Ohio Reservation – Lookout Mountain in distance

Bragg Reservation

There were many Medals of Honor awarded to individuals during this battle.  One was Arthur MacArthur; his grandson General Douglas MacArthur, Army Commander in the Far East during World War II, was also awarded the Medal of Honor.  He officially accepted the surrender of Japan aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945.  

I stopped briefly at the Chickamauga Visitor Center and then drove to Washington GA. It was now dark, and the Washington Historical Museum was closed.  The town square proved to be a good place to spend the night.

4/7/2022 – I was up early and drove about 7 miles to the Battle of Kettle Creek NMP, which is an Affiliated National Park Unit. I left my tripod in Chattanooga, so now I was using the end of my hiking stick, which has a screw to support my camera, for self-photos.  Of course, I had to search for a good spot to stick it in the ground so it would not fall over!

In early 1779, Patriot Colonels Andrew Pickens, John Dooly and Elijah Clarke joined forces (~380 militia) to overtake Colonel Boyd and his British Loyalists (~650 militia). On February 14, 1779, Boyd halted his troops for breakfast in a flat area between a steep hill and Kettle Creek. Pickens attacked. Boyd led a counterattack and was mortally wounded.

The Battle of Kettle Creek was the first major victory for the Patriots in the back country of GA during the American Revolutionary War.

My next stop was Freedom Riders NM in Anniston AL – Helen and I were here in March 2017 – see Blog.  Today I visited the NM Visitor Center, which is in the Calhoun County Area Chamber & Visitors Center.

“The Other Bus” – there was also another bus that was attacked the same day, May 14, 1961, in Anniston – a Trailways bus.

I then re-visited the Greyhound bus site in Anniston and drove to the location where it was burned.

Note how the sign describing the incident has been damaged.  I have found this to be a common occurrence in relation to Civil Rights historical signs in the South.

Also note the Confederate flag flying across the street!

I continued west to the Birmingham Civil Rights NM, just as we did in 2017.  The following are pics of related places that I did not cover in our March 2017 Blog post.  The first is the A.G. Gaston Motel, which served as the headquarters for the civil rights campaign in 1963. It is being refurbished as the NMs Visitor Center.

St Paul United Methodist Church was established in 1869 to allow newly freed African American slaves an opportunity to gather and worship.  It hosted mass meetings and was involved in nonviolent civil rights training including the 1965 Selma to Montgomery March.

Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, established in 1992, provides a history of Civil Rights in Birmingham as well as cultural, educational, and research services related to the international struggle for universal human rights.

Additional photos from Kelly Ingram Park where, on May 3, 1963, police, canine units, and fireman attacked hundreds of peaceful student demonstrators.  Images of the use of brutal police force shocked the nation and world.

Drove SE and re-visited Horseshoe Bend NMP – see Blog for March 2017.  This is where, in 1814, Gen. Andrew Jackson’s forces killed more Native Americans than in any other battle in the history of the U.S.  I took additional photos in the Visitor Center.  Replica of the Upper Creek Indian Village –

This band of Creek Indians were called the “Red Sticks.”  They built an 8-foot barricade to protect their village.

I also did a video from this battlefield Overlook

I then drove to the Loachapoka AL Museum, which was closed.  Loachapoka was one of the larger settlements of the Upper Creeks before and after the Battle of Horseshoe Bend.  The Creeks that remained in this area were removed 1835-1837 (Trail of Tears) to Oklahoma (Indian Territory).  

There were also other historical markers outside the museum – Dr. Alexander Nunn

Loachapoka “Boom and Change”

Across the highway from the museum was the site of the First Rosenwald School.  There is currently an effort to establish a Rosenwald Schools National Historical Park.  

Julius Rosenwald, the son of German-Jewish immigrants, was a prominent philanthropist and businessman from Chicago. Driven by the Jewish concept of “tzedakah” — righteousness and charity — Rosenwald partnered with African American communities across the South to partially fund and build thousands of schoolhouses.

Constructed between 1912 and 1932, these “Rosenwald Schools” were some of the first permanent educational facilities for Black people in rural areas. Check out this map of the schools that the fund supported –

I then drove a short distance to Notasulga AL and visited the Shiloh-Rosenwald School, which still stands.  It was renovated in 2010.

The Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church was one of the recruitment sites for the infamous Tuskegee Syphilis Study.  Blacks were purposely infected with Syphilis – many are buried in the nearby cemetery!

I then drove to Selma AL, entering the city –

There were a series of events that took place in March 1965 that brought Selma to the International stage.  An old cotton port, Selma Blacks had half the voting-age-population in 1950.  However, due to literacy tests, poll taxes, and intimidation only 156 of about 15,000 African Americans were registered to vote.  In the early 1960s, a push for voter registration gained steam.  In January 1965, Dr. Martin Luther King (MLK) joined forces with local leaders to organize “marches” for voter registration.  On March 7, 1965, John Lewis and Hosea Williams led a group of about 600 marchers over the Edmund Pettus (who was an AL Senator and a Grand Master of the KKK) Bridge.  The marchers were attacked by state troopers and local law enforcement, some on horseback, first with nightsticks, whips, and rubber tubes.  The attackers then donned facemasks and fired tear gas while continuing their assault.  John Lewis was badly beaten and almost killed in this attack.  This day became known as “Bloody Sunday.”  Another larger march was then planned for March 21st to March 25th culminating in Montgomery AL, the state capitol.

The Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail, commemorating that march, begins in downtown Selma at the Interpretive Center

It then crosses the infamous Edmund Pettus Bridge

The major purpose of the March was to demand the right of Blacks to vote.  It was a 54-mile march along US 80, the Jefferson Davis (President of the Confederacy) Highway! 

In 2019, Helen and I drove the March route, but it was too dark for photos.  Though I did get this one when I illuminated this sign for Campsite 1 with my headlights.

The Lowndes Interpretive Center for the NHT is near the Rosie Steele Farm, which was the location of the second of four march campsites.

After the S-M March, whites retaliated by forcing Black people off their land.  With no place to go, they set up a “Tent City” at this location.

On August 6, 1965, President Johnson signed the “Voting Rights Act,” which suspended literacy tests, called for the appointment of federal election monitors, and directed the US Attorney General to challenge the use of poll taxes by states.

Slept in Meridian MS

4/8 F – arrived at the Medgar and Myrlie Evers Home NM in Jackson MS at 7:30am.  Minnie Watson of Tougaloo College had given us a personal tour here in January 2019 – see Blog.  Today, I stopped for some additional photos.  Medgar Evers was assassinated in the driveway of his home on June 12, 1963.

Visited John in Beaumont TX

4/9 Sa – 7hr drive to Palo Alto Battlefield in Brownsville TX. Visited here in May 2014 – see Blog.  The 2014 blog entry describes this first battle of the Mexican American War (1846-48).  The Mexican Army laid siege to Fort Texas on the Rio Grande River in May 1846.  Mexican General Mariano Arista then set 4,000 of his troops on the plain at Palo Alto.  General Zachary Taylor, who had just re-supplied at Port Isabel, attacked on May 8, 1846.

The Mexicans suffered heavy losses and moved south during the night.  They set up a defensive position at Resaca de la Palma.  Taylor attacked the next day.

The Mexicans were routed and withdrew across the Rio Grande River to Matamoros Mexico.

Cannon Memorial

The siege of Fort Texas on a bend in the Rio Grande River, was lifted.  Gen. Taylor had left 550 men here when he went to Point Isabel for supplies. Arista then retreated further to Monterrey. US losses were about 54 killed and 114 wounded. Mexican losses were 260 killed, 353 wounded, and 159 missing.  Zachary Taylor would go on to become the 12th President of the U.S. in 1849.  Fort Texas was renamed Fort Brown for Maj. Brown who was killed during the siege. The fort was controlled by the Confederates during the Civil War.  The site eventually became the Fort Brown Memorial Golf Course and Texas Southwest College. 

The area near the river is now protected by the U.S. Army to prevent illegal immigration.  I spoke with some of the guards and was permitted to tour the Fort Brown site.

Cannon on former Golf Course

“After negotiations, Mexico accepted the Rio Grande as the Texas boundary and ceded the land between Texas and the Pacific to the US for $15 million.”

The Civil War Palmito Ranch Battlefield NHL is just east of Brownsville TX on Rt 4

The Palmito Ranch Battlefield NHS is nearby in the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge administered by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFS). This was the last battle of the Civil War (5/13-14/1865) and took place a month after Lee surrendered at Appomattox (4/9/1865). It was a Confederate victory!

Private John J. Williams of the Indiana Infantry, one of 118 U.S. soldiers killed, wounded, or missing at Palmito Ranch, was the last soldier killed in a Civil War battle.

Slept on the road –

4/10 Su – Gassed up in Marathon TX – note the old rolling digit pumps

Map – I entered Big Bend NP at Persimmon Gap

Helen and I were here for three days in 2006.  On March 5th, we drove to the East end of the park and took a short hike to the Boquillas Canyon overlook.  Mexicans had walked across the river and placed handicrafts for sale on the US side.  You could yell across the river and bargain, but we did not buy anything. We then did a nature trail at the campground and went to the mineral Hot Springs (where they empty into the Rio Grande River) for a dip in the 105-degree water.

We then drove into the central mountain area where we set up camp in the Chisos Valley and then went to the Lodge for soup and salad.

March 6, 2006 – we packed up camp, had some dry cereal and cranberry juice for breakfast and then drove to the Lost Mine trailhead.  We took a beautiful early morning 4-mile hike up along a mountain ridge with some great views. 

We then drove out of the park to Study Butte for lunch and continued on route 170 along the Rio Grande to the border town of Presidio.  There wasn’t much there (not even a pawn shop!) and we headed back on the same road.  We stopped at a sign that said Closed Canyon where Helen read in the car while I hiked about a half mile down a slot canyon toward the river.  There were places where I could reach out and touch both walls (50-60 feet high) of the canyon.

We then drove about 20 miles north of Study Butte to the outfitter (Deadriver Canoe Rental) where we were renting a canoe the next day.  No one was there but we found the owners in a nearby restaurant and were able to go back and set up our tent next to their business in the middle of the desert (outhouse but no water).  Thank goodness for the double air mattress because there was nothing but rocks.  We then drove back to Terlingua where we went to another authentic Mexican restaurant – Los Paisanos.  The women could not speak English, but her husband could, and he recommended one green and one red enchilada dinner.  We were the only ones there, sitting at one of their six small tables – the food was delicious!

March 7, 2006 – we again had our dry cereal and cranberry juice breakfast and then loaded the canoe on to the car.  It was about 25 miles back to Big Bend National Park and then another 40 miles through the park, stopping at viewpoints and taking short hikes, before getting to the Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River.  Hiked the Santa Elena Canyon Overlook Trail (1.6-miles) to scout the river. 

We then packed tuna fish sandwiches, snacks, light gear, and water in our dry bag and unloaded the canoe.  One of the outfitters there allowed us to use his dolly to roll the canoe about a quarter mile to the river. 

The water was low, and I had to drag the canoe to a point where we could start paddling.

But, because it was low, we were able to paddle about 2.5-miles upstream into Santa Elena Canyon.  This used to be a whitewater rafting river but dams in Mexico and New Mexico have limited the river flow.  We had to pull our canoe around some chutes and through some low water areas as we worked our way up through shear rock wall canyon. 

We stopped at a side canyon (Fern Canyon) in Mexico to eat lunch and relax before heading back.

I dropped Helen off at the put-in spot so she could drive the car about a half mile downstream where she could pull up right next to the river.  I paddled that stretch alone but it made it easy putting the canoe back up on the car.  We drove back to the outfitter, dropped off the canoe, packed up our tent, and drove to Alpine TX where we got a room (with meager continental breakfast) in the old Bien Venido motel ($40).  We again went to a Mexican restaurant and again had green enchiladas (the authentic ones are round) for dinner – before we left on this trip, we decided to maximize our Tex-Mex meals!     

Now fast forward to April 10, 2022 – my first stop in Big Bend NP on this trip was at the Fossil Discovery Exhibit.

Did the short hike for a view of the Chisos Mountains

Then toured the Fossil Discovery Exhibit

A Pterosaur hangs above the main hall.  It is thought to be the world’s largest flying creature of all time!



Volcanic Highland Environment

Floodplain Environment – note mural at bottom

Marine Environment

Big Bend NP Topo model at Panther Junction Visitor Center

Drove 7-miles down a rough gravel road to get to the trailhead for the Grapevine Hills (Balanced Rock) Trail.

It is a 2.2-mile out and back trail.  You start in a sandy wash and then move up through a boulder field.

You gain about 200ft in the last quarter mile.  Watch out for snakes –

The Reward – A Big Balanced Rock

Steep descent

After returning to Rt 118, I took a short hike into the desert to get this shot of Croton Peak with a flowering Ocotillo cactus in the foreground

Hike to Maverick Badlands Hoodoo

Presidio – Oldest Town in America

West TX windmill – an Aeromotor, made in Chicago

Stopped in Marfa TX for lunch (Tacos) and to visit the Blackwell “Mexican School” NHS, which has been proposed as a NP Unit

In 1889, the Methodist Church was converted to a school in the Mexican community.  The children were required to speak and write only English.  The school closed in 1965.

The Blackwell School Museum tells the story of de-facto segregation in TX – 1910 photo

It was a “Red Flag” day, meaning very high winds.  Winds were 25-35mph with gusts up to 60mph. When I placed my camera on a tripod and set the timer to get in a picture, the wind blew it over breaking the camera!    I took this photo with my phone.

Purchased a camera at Walmart in El Paso TX, then drove into New Mexico where I slept in the SUV off I25, somewhere around Truth or Consequences NM.

4/11 M – drove North along I25 to Fort Craig NHS (BLM).  I25 follows the Rio Grande Valley, which was the route of the El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro (Royal Road of the Interior Lands)– the Spanish Road/Trail from Mexico City to Santa Fe (1,600-miles long).  It is a NPS National Historic Trail. 

This is a New Mexico State Monument titled “Road of Dreams” by the sculptor – commemorating the El Camino Real.

This sign is at Fort Craig

After the Mexican American War (1848), the U.S. acquired the lands north of El Paso and established forts to protect trade in the new Territory of New Mexico and the Rio Grande Valley.  The Socorro Garrison was established in Socorro in 1849.  It was replaced by Fort Conrad in 1851, and then by Fort Craig in 1854.

This is a BLM National Historic Site

Fort Craig was at the center of the largest U.S. Civil War battle in the Southwest – the Battle of Valverde. Texas Confederate General H.H. Sibley captured military installations in El Paso and started moving up the Rio Grande Valley.  The goal was to capture Fort Union in northeastern NM, the Colorado gold fields, and then the ports of CA.  Sibley moved past Fort Craig because he did no want to risk a frontal attack on the well protected fort.  On February 21, 1862, Colonel E.R.S. Canby led Union troops, and a contingent of New Mexico volunteers commanded by Kit Carson, out of the fort and attacked the Confederates at the Valverde crossing of the Rio Grande River.  The Confederates prevailed and the Union troops retreated to the fort.  However, half of the Confederate supply wagons were destroyed. Sibley continued north and Fort Craig was never taken.   The loss of the remaining Confederate supplies at the Battle of Glorieta Pass, east of Santa Fe near Fort Union, on March 28, 1862, forced the Confederates to retreat to Texas and ended Southern aspirations for military conquest in the West.

After the Civil War, troops stationed at the fort resumed their attempts to control Indian raiding. 

Troops from Fort Craig included Buffalo Soldiers of the 9th Cavalry and 38th and 125th Infantry, pursued Geronimo, Victorio, and other hostile Native Americans.


I continued north to re-visit El Morro NM. This sandstone promontory, with a pool of water at its base, has been a stopping place for thousands of years.  It is on a main east-west trail used by Native Americans, Spanish explorers, and Anglo-Americans. 

The Zuni call this rock formation Atsinna, which means “place of writings on rock.”  The Spaniards called it El Morro, which means “The Headland.”  Those that followed called it “Inscription Rock.”

Today I did the Inscription Rock Loop Trail.

My first stop was the pool at the base of the rock wall –

The sandstone provided a ready surface for petroglyphs, names, dates, and short descriptions left by those who passed this way. 

Most of the inscriptions are now hard to read.  This is the oldest Spanish inscription, made in 1605.

Another example of what inscriptions look like today and a clear one from 1849.

In 1998, Chad and I did the 2-mile Headland Loop Trail to the top of the mesa

I took his photo of Chad from the Astinna Village Site atop El Morro.

This display in the Visitor Center shows the location of the Zuni Pueblo (green) west of El Morro. 

In 1982, after visiting El Morro, Helen, Stacy (10), Peter (9), Kate (1), and I where able to climb a ladder to a balcony overlooking the internal courtyard of the Zuni Pueblo at dusk and watch a REAL “Rain Dance.”  This was not for tourists; we were the only Anglos there – no speaking and no photos.  It was incredible to watch and listen as the dancers, mostly male elders, emerged from the kiva and danced about the courtyard.  They were dressed in their Zuni regalia (think Kachina Dolls), chanted, and danced to the sound of drums.  One of my favorites were the “Mudhead Clowns,” who act as disciplinarians and jokers.  They had red clay painted bodies and their masks were formed by mud balls with human-like features.   

The rock wall had protected me from the wind at El Morro, but as soon as I started driving west my gas mileage dropped!  When I arrived at Petrified Forest NP in AZ, I again had to deal with high winds.  I was afraid to set up my new tripod and camera, so I took a selfie. Because of vandalism and poaching (petrified wood/rocks), you must enter the park before 5pm.  If you are in the park, you must be headed for an exit at 5pm.

This was my third visit to this NP.  We had visited as a family in 1982 (Stacy 10, Peter 9, Kate 1, no Chad yet).  In 1992, the visitors were Tom, Helen, Kate, Chad, and Manuel our student from the Canary Islands.  Photos taken on the Painted Desert Rim Trail in the northern part of the park (off Interstate 40) – Peter (1982)

Manuel (1992)

Tom (2022)

Old Route 66, now Interstate 40 passes through the park – that is a 1932 Studebaker

Puerco Pueblo occupied 1250-1380 CE

Newspaper Rock

The Tepees

Hiked the 3.5-mile Blue Mesa Trail in 1982 and 1992

Stacy 1982

Kate, Manuel, and Chad 1992

Kate 1992

Giant Logs 0.4-mile Trail

In 1992, we combined the Long Logs Trail and the Agate House Trail for a 2.6-mile hike

Kate in the Rainbow Forest Museum, 1982 and 1992


I had to rush to get to Canyon de Chelly NM before dark.  Ancestral Pueblo Groups in the Four-Corners Region – #16 is Canyon de Chelly.

I did three stops on the South Rim Drive.  First the Tunnel Overlook

Second, Tsegi Overlook

Third, Junction Overlook where I met Samuel Thomas, a Navajo selling carvings from cottonwood trees in the canyon and one of his wife’s paintings.

Canyon de Chelly NM was one of our first stops when Stacy (15) and I did our 1987 road trip together.

We started our day by doing the short (0.4-mile) Spider Rock Trail

Spider Rock is 800ft tall.  According to legend, Spider Woman lives at Spider Rock, and taught the Navajo how to weave.

We then did the White House Ruin Trail (2.7-mile), which descends 600ft into the canyon.

It is named for the long white plaster wall in the upper dwelling

Hogan – the Navajo are still farming the canyon floor

Slept in Winslow AZ

4/12 Tu – I texted family, “I was just standing on a corner in Winslow Arizona,” from the song titled Take it Easy by the Eagles 1972.  On my way to Lake Mead NRA – See Blog April 2021 for other visits.

I stopped at Katherine Landing on South Lake Mojave just upstream from the Davis Dam on the Colorado River

Colorado River Dams

My objective today was to see and experience the proposed Avi Kwa Ame National Monument that is located in the southern tip of Nevada.  Avi Kwa Ame is the Mojave Tribe name for Spirit Mountain.

I drove the 15-mile Christmas Tree Pass gravel road from Rt 163 just west of Laughlin NV to U.S. 95

My first stop was at Grapevine Canyon where there is a trail to some petroglyphs and beyond

Photo progression to some of the petroglyphs

The trail, and then scramble, continued up Grapevine Canyon following an almost dry spring bed

I was able to climb up to a view of a balanced rock and a bit further.  But I got to a point where I felt the granite rock was too slick for me to climb higher – wish I were younger!

It was a gorgeous day with a temperature of about eighty degrees.  Because I was on the leeward side of the Newberry Mountains, there was little wind at this location on this “Red Flag” day.  On one side of the road was the Bridge Canyon Wilderness and on the other the Spirit Mountain Wilderness.

I bush wacked up a slope for some photos of the desert vegetation and rock formations

Bottom line, Avi Kwa Ame is worthy of National Monument status.

Next stop LA (Silver Lake) and dinner with Kate and Helen –


Cuyahoga Valley NP – OH

April 5, 2022

Helen and I had a fun visit and bike ride here in October 2014 – see Blog. Today, I started at the Boston Store Visitor Center, which is a canal-era building on the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail. 

River Renewed

In the 1930s the Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) did a lot of work in this area.  For example, they built the Happy Days Lodge – named for FDR’s theme song “Happy Days are Here Again.”

I met Sophia Constantine (TV Anchor) and Brandon Coello Amaya (Videographer) of the Spectrum News Channel there for a 4-mile hike.  We did a TV interview as we hiked loop trails to and around “The Ledges.”

The interview was aired on the Spectrum TV Channel on April 28, 2022.


Winter Break – FL

March 22, 2022

Flew from Dayton to Punta Gorda FL and stayed in an airbnb for a week in North Port. On the first day I got Food Poising from a prepared salad purchased at Walmart – bummer! Our main task on this trip was to work on Helen’s genealogy and we did make a lot of progress. Our best day was a one hour ride to Gasparilla Island. We walked the Gulf beaches and toured the historic Boca Grande lighthouse/museum in the State Park.

Boca Grande Lighthouse

NJ, NY, PA National Park Units

October 29, 2021

10/1 F – revisited Morristown NHP in northern NJ– see Blog for August 2016.  It was the site of winter camps for American Revolutionary forces in 1777 and 1779.  Fort Nonsense was built in 1777.

British were 30-miles away in New York City

Jockey Hollow Winter Encampment 1779-80, one of the worst Winters on record.

Wick Farm

Sons of Saint Patrick

Sons of Saint Patrick

Ford Mansion, Washington’s Headquarters Winter of 1779-80

We stayed with Helen’s cousin in West Orange NJ and visited family cemeteries

10/2 Sat – My BIG day in NYC.  My list of must take items included: itinerary, Ferry reservations, COVID vaccination documentation, backpack, Gore-Tex jacket, camera, tripod, sandwich, snacks, water, NYC map, Subway map, face mask, and sanitizer.

6:45am – I drove to the Harrison Station for the NJ PATH train into the Oculus below the World Trade Center (WTC) in NYC; then walked to Fulton Station and took the Green Line #5 to Bowling Green Station near Battery Park on the tip of Manhattan.  From there it was a short walk to Castle Clinton NM for a repeat visit; see Blog for August 2018.

I checked in with Statue City Cruises at 9am for the 9:30am (first) ferry to Liberty Island and the Statue of Liberty NM.  My senior reserve ticket for the Pedestal self-tour cost $18.30.  I had taken ferries around Liberty Island on two occasions, and we visited as a family in 1986, taking the ferry from Liberty Park in NJ to the island.  Note the Twin Towers in the first photo.

Helen and I visited again in 2003 during our 35th wedding anniversary celebration in NYC.

Photo leaving Battery Park at the tip of Manhattan

I was blessed with a beautiful day

I was one of the first ones off the ferry making my way to the security check-in for the pedestal level of the statue.

In 1986, I was able to take the circular staircase to the crown.  That opportunity was not available today.

Photo of NYC, including Governors Island on the right, from the Pedestal.  My head blocks out part of the Brooklyn Bridge.

Liberty’s Classical Origins

Here are three photos taken in the Visitor Center

I caught the ferry to Ellis Island, which is now part of the NM

In 2003, we searched the archives here and found information on Helen’s grandparents immigration to the U.S. in 1905.

Baggage Room

Registry Room

It was a 10-minute ferry ride back to Battery Park and then a 15-minute walk to the Battery Maritime Building to catch the noon ferry to Governors Island NM.  See Blog for August 2018 for our first visit here.   Castle Williams (1811) was one of several forts built to defend NYC.

After returning to Manhattan, I walked by Fraunces Tavern (1719) on my way to Federal Hall.  It served as a headquarters for George Washington, as a venue for peace negotiations with the British, and as housing for federal offices in the early Republic.  Washington gave an emotional farewell to his officers here on December 4, 1783.  It was the site of a 1975 bombing by Puerto Rican nationals that killed four people.  It is now a restaurant/bar. 

Frederick Samuel Tallmadge, a member of “Sons of the Revolution,” willed the money for a 1907 renovation of the building.  I like the quote on his plaque, “To Live in Hearts We Leave Behind is Not to Die.”

Federal Hall N MEM, NY Stock Exchange on left – see Blog for August 2018 to see photos taken inside

Walked to the Wall St Station of the Green Line and took the #4 train to the Brooklyn Br. City Hall Station.  I had to walk through a large Pro Women’s Choice Demonstration to get to the African Burial Ground NM.  We had been here in August 2018 (see Blog) but it was then under construction

I then walked to the Chamber St Station and took the Brown J line to Delancey St Station on the Lower East Side.  It was then a short walk to the Lower East Side Tenement NHS (Affiliated).  Helen and I did the “Irish Outsiders” tour here in August 2018 (see Blog).  This neighborhood was the home to an estimated 15,000 people, from over 20 nations, between 1863 and 2011. The Museum has two historical tenement buildings, 97 and 103 Orchard Street, that it uses to give tours describing immigrant lives.

I took the J Line back to the Chamber St Station and switched to the Green Line #6 to the 23rd St Station.  On June 6, 2003, Helen and I toured the Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace NHS during our 35th wedding anniversary trip to NYC.  It is a recreated (1923) brownstone at 28 East 20th Street, between Broadway and Park Avenue South, in the Flatiron District of Manhattan.  It is a replica of the birthplace and childhood home of the 26th President.  I returned to take some photos of the building, which was not open because of the pandemic.

Walked to the 14 St Union Square Station and took the subway back to the Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall Station.  I have wanted to walk the Brooklyn Bridge (completed in 1875) for decades.  Well, I finally got to do it.  It is called the Brooklyn Bridge Promenade.

It was a long walk from Brooklyn to the World Trade Center (WTC)

Freedom Tower

The above ground section of the WTC Transportation Hub was designed to represent “a bird being released from a child’s hand.”

I returned to the Oculus to catch the PATH train back to NJ.

I checked my phone at the end of the day and discovered I had walked over 11-miles and ascended 51 floors!

10/3 Sun – attended a Russian Orthodox church service with Alisa and Christina and returned to Fairmount Cemetery in Newark to find Helen’s grandparents grave but were unable to find it despite knowing section and plot numbers.  There were no signs, diagrams, or maps available and the graves in that section were totally overgrown with grass.

10/4 M – It took 1.5-hours and driving through rush hour traffic (over the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge) to get to the Jamaica Bay Unit of Gateway NRA.   We had already visited the Sandy Hook (NJ) and Staten Island Units in August 2016 (see Blog).  The Ryan Visitor Center at Floyd Bennett Field was not open due to the COVID pandemic, but we were able to tour the site.  This was NYC’s first municipal airport.

Our main objective here was to hike to Breezy Point, that is on a peninsula that sticks out into the Atlantic Ocean.  Sandy Hook NJ is opposite this location.  All maritime traffic to and from NYC passes between these two points.  The hike was about 2-miles round trip.

Collecting more shells, though overcast, it was a very enjoyable morning.

Not so enjoyable, was when I slipped on the breakwater and gashed my leg on the rocks.

Fort Tilden was closed but we were able to visit Jacob Riis Park

Jamaica Bay

We visited Fire Island NS (National Seashore) on Long Island in August 2018 (see Blog).  Today, we visited the William Floyd Estate in Mastic Beach NY, which is a unit of Fire Island NS.

William Floyd, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, was born in the house in 1734 and it was his home until 1803.  In 1976 William Floyd’s great-great-granddaughter and her children donated the house to the NPS. The home reflects over 200 years of change.

Trail to Home

Many family additions and changes to the home over 200 years

Floyd Family Cemetery

Gen. William Floyd (1734-1821) marker, slaves were buried on the other side of the fence

We stopped at Sagamore Hill NHS on Long Island for some photos on our way to Saratoga Springs NY for dinner with our friends Terry and Barry.  We did the house tour here in August 2018 (see Blog).  It was the summer home of Theodore Roosevelt.

A Thoroughly Modern Home

We stayed the night in Albany NY

10/5 Tu – on our way to our next stop we happened to pass Martin Van Buren NHS.  I had been here in August 2014 (see Blog) but Helen had not.  So, we stopped so she could walk the grounds and do the house tour.

Van Buren (1782-1862) was our 8th President – Home Tour

Van Buren Bedroom
Pullout Couch

A half hour later we were driving up the hill to Olana, the estate of artist Frederic Church (1826-1900).  It is in Greenport outside the city of Hudson NY.  Frederick was a student of Thomas Cole and a major figure in the Hudson River School of landscape painting.  Olana is a NY State Historic Site.

Church and his wife Isabel created Olana with Persian motifs, though neither had been to Iran.

Scenic Trails

Hudson River Valley

We then drove across the river to Thomas Cole NHS (An Affiliated NP Unit).  Helen and I had done the tour here in October 2017 (see Blog) and returned today for a few more photographs.

We were going to do the Hudson River Skywalk, which is a 3-mile walk between the Cole and Church homes, however we did not have enough time. 

The Rip Van Winkle Bridge (about 1-mile long, opened in 1935) is a major link between the two sides of the river

In order to get a bit of the Skywalk experience, I dropped Helen off at the Catskill NY side of the bridge, then drove to the other side, parked, and started walking toward her until we met.

This was Helen’s Day, so we visited thrift and consignment stores in Hudson NY before driving south to revisit the Vanderbilt Mansion NHS.  We did the house tour here in November 2017 (see Blog).  Today we spent time in the Vanderbilt Pavilion, which serves as the Visitor Center.

And then toured the grounds

As mentioned, it was Helen’s Day.  So, we left in time to get to the Hyde Park consignment store (before it closed), where she filled the car in 2017.  Today she bought some odds and ends, frames for her stitching creations, and a wicker table.

Stayed the night in a nice comp suite at the new Sleep Inn in Monroe NY. 

10/6 W – It took about 2hrs to get to Steamtown NHS in Scranton PA.  See our Blog for August 2016 for pictures from our first visit. 

I was surprised that they had moved locomotives around since our first visit – that must have been some chore!  For example, they moved the “Big Boy” Union Pacific from the railyard, gave it a cosmetic restoration, and placed it in front of the Visitor Center. 

They moved the Reading RR locomotives to the railyard track where the Big Boy had been

They changed and rearranged the locomotives and cars in the roundhouse and placed the Illinois Central locomotive on the turntable.

They also added the E. J. Lavino and Co. engine

I again enjoyed going through the railroad collection and displays.  I would go back!

The Mail Must Go Through

Operation of Steam Engine

The railroad yard contains many old trains.  Tracks in the yard are still used by the Delaware, Lackawana and Western Railroad

Finished the trip with an 8hr drive to Springfield OH


NP Unit Trip to Washington DC

August 20, 2021

7/26 M – 7hrs to Gettysburg National Military Park

I did a complete tour here in 1966 with a friend.  Here are two photos:

Little Roun Top
The Angle

In 2016, Helen and I did an abbreviated tour and then experienced the “Cyclorama” (light and sound show), which is a 360o painting of the Battle of Gettysburg.  This is one small view of battle; Little Round Top is in the background.

One View of Cyclorama

This year, we did the 24-mile car tour stopping at all sixteen “official” tour stops plus many others.  Gettysburg 1863 –

Gettysburg 1863

On July 1, 1963, Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Confederate forces (70K) attacked Gen. George G. Meade’s Union forces (90K) defending Gettysburg on Oak Ridge.  He was successful in driving the Union forces back through Gettysburg to Cemetery Ridge and Culp’s Hill.

Oak Ridge Observation Tower
Oak Ridge PA Infantry

The Confederate forces set up positions on Seminary Ridge.

Seminary Ridge

On July 2nd they attacked the Union forces on Cemetery Ridge. At the end of the day, it was a stalemate.

Cemetery Ridge PA Memorial

On July 3rd, Lee sent 12,000-infantry (Pickett’s Charge) to break the Union Line on Cemetery Ridge.  In 1966, I ran Pickett’s charge, about a mile uphill.  I can only imagine the physical effort carrying weapons and gear; then, the hand-to-hand combat at “The Angle”!  This is referred to as “The High Watermark of the Confederacy.” 

High Watermark of the Confederacy
The Angle

PA Infantry Statue and PA Quarter

PA Infantry
2011 America The Beautiful Quarters Coin Gettysburg Pennsylvania Uncirculated Reverse

This three-day Civil War Battle of Gettysburg holds the record for being the largest battle in the Western Hemisphere.  There were 10,000 killed, 30,000 wounded, and 10,000 captured or missing!  Gettysburg Soldier’s National Cemetery –

Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address took place on November 19, 1863.

Gettysburg Address
Soldiers’ National Monument

It was a one-hour drive to Harpers Ferry National Historical Park.  It is in the NE part of WV where the Shenandoah River enters the Potomac River.  On the other side of the Potomac is Maryland, a Union State.  On the other side of the Shenandoah River is Virginia, a Confederate State.  Harpers Ferry was a very important place during the first 100 years of our nation’s history.    

Helen and I had a nice visit here in 1970.  We did the trail to the Maryland Heights overlooking Harpers Ferry and the convergence of the rivers and then toured the town.

C & O Canal and Potomac River from MD Heights – 1970

We arrived about 6pm today and did a short tour of the Lower Town. 

The John Brown Monument is located where the Federal Armory fire station where he was captured was located.  A reconstruction of the fire station (John Brown’s Fort) can be seen in the background with VA (across the Shenandoah River) in the distance.

John Brown Monument

Meriwether Lewis was here in 1803 to gather supplies for the Lewis & Clark Expedition.

We walked to The Point where the Shenandoah River enters the Potomac River

The Point

And then across the Potomac River RR Bridge into MD to take photos of Lock 33 of the C & O Canal.  Three National Trails Meet Here: The Appalachian Trail, the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Trail, and the Potomac Heritage Trail.

Three National Trails
Mom and Falcon Chicks
C & O Canal – Lock 33

7/27 Tu – We started back in the Lower Town today.

Lower Town

John Brown’s Fort (Federal Armory Fire Station)

2016 America The Beautiful Quarters Coin Harpers Ferry West Virginia Uncirculated Reverse

Various buildings and museums were now open – e.g., Frankels Clothing Store, Provost Marshal Office, Stipes’ Boarding House, John Brown Museum, Dry Goods Store, etc.

Followed the stairs to St Peter’s Catholic Church (1833).  Only church not destroyed during Civil War.

And onward to Jefferson Rock

Jefferson Rock

After the Civil War, Baptist missionaries founded Storer College (1867-1955) on Camp Hill to educate students of any race, male or female. 

The Niagara Movement

In 1963, the NPS acquired the campus.  It is now one of four major NPS training centers.  It is named for Stephen T. Mather, the Service’s first director.  

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is located in town as well.

Appalachian Trail through Harpers Ferry

A 1.5hr drive took us to Fort McHenry NM and Historic Shrine outside of Baltimore MD.  This was Helen’s first visit this “Star Fort;” I had visited in 1967 and 1994.

America declared War on England in 1812 for, among other things, impressing American seamen into the British Navy during their war with France.  After their war with France was over in August 1814, the British attacked Washington DC and burned both the White House and Capital.  In September, they tried to take Baltimore.  Maj. George Armistead, commander of the fort, had a 42ft x 30ft flag with 15 stars and stripes made to rally his troops – “The Star-Spangled Banner.“  After a 25-hour bombardment by its fleet, the British attempted to take Fort McHenry and Baltimore but were unsuccessful.  Francis Scott Key, imprisoned on a British ship, watched the bombardment, and wrote the words for what would become the “The Star-Spangled Banner.” 

Kate, Chad, Frankie, Anthony 1994
Parade Ground
Orders from Maj. Armistead
Rodman Guns
2013 America The Beautiful Quarters Coin Fort Mchenry Maryland Uncirculated Reverse

We were then off to Philadelphia for additional photos at Thaddeus Kosciuszko N MEM

and Edgar Alan Poe NHS – see Blog for August 2016 for our first visit to these two NP Units. 

Afterward, we revisited Independence NHP to add that NP Unit to this Blog.  I was here in 1967 (with Bob’s Dad, Clark, and Bob), our family was here in 1983 (I am holding Kate), and here I am in 2021 by the Commodore Barry statue on the South side of Independence Hall.  


Background – The First Continental Congress was held in Carpenters’ Hall in Philadelphia in 1774 after the British Navy blockaded Boston Harbor.  The Revolutionary War is considered to have started on April 19, 1775, when MA militia harassed the British Army at Lexington and Concord.  The Second Continental Congress was held in the Pennsylvania State House (1775-1776).  On July 4, 1776, representatives from the original thirteen colonies signed the final wording of the Declaration of Independence.  Congress approved the Articles of Confederation in 1777 in York PA during the Revolutionary War.  Maryland was the last state to ratify the Articles in 1781.  The 1783 Treaty of Paris officially ended the Revolutionary War.  The Confederation Congress called a convention in the old PA State House Philadelphia (Independence Hall) in 1787 to revise the Articles of Confederation.  They created the U.S. Constitution, which established a “Constitutional Presidential Republic” with 3 branches of government.  That document was presented to Congress sitting in NYC (1785-1789).  It was ratified on June 21, 1888, and became effective March 4, 1789.   George Washington was inaugurated as the nation’s first president 8 weeks later, on April 30 on the balcony of Federal Hall in NYC.  On August 2, 1790, Congress passed the Residence Act of 1790.  The government would move from NYC to Philadelphia (Independence Hall), which would serve as the temporary capital for 10 years.  The U.S. Bill of Rights was ratified here in 1791 as was the approval for the First Bank of the U.S.  The Federal Mint was established in 1792.  The second inauguration of George Washington took place here in 1793.  The first peaceful transfer of power took place here with the inauguration of John Adams in 1797.  The Department of the Navy was established in 1798.  In 1800 the government would again move, this time to its permanent location in Washington, D.C.  So, here we are in 2021 at Independence Hall!  This is the North side with the George Washington statue.

State’s Rights vs Federal Rights (Human Rights as envisioned in the Constitution) battles continue to be fought today.  I believe you have the “freedom” to reject the COVID vaccine BUT you then forfeit (your federal right) to medical care for COVID infection.

We started with a ranger tour of Independence Hall.  It was built in 1753 and served as the capital of the Commonwealth of PA.  The rooms are presented as they were in 1775 for the governance of PA.  My photo is in the PA Supreme Court Room and the next photo is in the PA Assembly Room.  That room was used by the Second Continental Congress for the Declaration of Independence from Britain (July 4, 1776).  

PA Supreme Court
PA Assembly Room

We then did the ranger tour of the 1789 Philadelphia County Court House, which became the seat of the U.S. government from 1790 to 1800 and is now called Congress Hall.

Congress Hall

House of Representatives

House of Representatives

The U.S. Senate was on the second floor.  Note the 15 stars on the ceiling representing the 13 original colonies plus KY (1792) and TN (1796).  The 13 shields in the carpet also represent the 13 original colonies, plus a 14th that contains the Liberty Cap on a pole and the Balance Scale of Justice.

Senate Room

It is interesting that the adjacent Committee rooms contain portraits of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette of France, gifts to the U.S. after the American Revolution.  They were executed in 1793 during the French Revolution (1789-1799).

Our final tour (self-tour) was at the Liberty Bell Center across the street.  The Liberty Bell was hung in the PA State House in 1753 – a thin crack appeared sometime after the Revolution.  It cracked irreparably in 1846 when an attempt was made to fix it.  

Liberty Bell

From there we drove to the John Dickinson Plantation outside of Dover DE.  It is a unit of First State NHP.  John Dickinson was a Quaker who supported Liberty and freed his slaves by 1786.

Our next stop was the Ryves Holt House in Lewes DE, which was my 7th and final unit of First State NHP.  Built in 1665, it is thought to be the oldest building in DE.  It served the early Dutch maritime industry.

Stayed in Rockville MD with our good friend Lilian

7/29 Th – We were supposed to tour the White House and the Capitol with the National Park Travelers Club (NPTC)today, but both were canceled due to the pandemic.  Lilian was able to make us last minute reservations at the National Museum of African American History & Culture.  It is one of the Smithsonian Museums.  I believe a great deal of understanding and healing could be had if all Americans were willing to go through this museum with an open mind.

We wore our masks and social distance as we ascended three stories starting at the lowest (C3) of three underground History Galleries.  That was the Slavery and Freedom Gallery 1400-1877.

How do you cover 477 years of black history?  Here is a sampling –

Revolutionary War – Black Loyalists and Black Patriots

Slavery and Civil War

23, 29

Reconstruction, Jim Crow Laws, and Black Leaders

Defending Freedom, Defining Freedom: The Era of Segregation 1876-1968 was located on C2.

“1968 and Beyond,” was on level C1 and Explore More was on level L2

Community Galleries were located on level L3 including Sport

Culture Galleries were on level L4, including Cultural Expressions and Musical Crossroads.  There was also a nice view of DC looking west.

We then revisited the Washington Monument, this photo taken in 1986. 


My first visit here was in 1967.  This photo was taken from the Jefferson Memorial.  My white 1962 Chevy Impala sedan can be seen in the photo.

In 1968, I ran up the 896 steps inside the monument (555ft tall) to the observation area and took photos out of each of the four windows.  Note the tent city called “Resurrection City” that was set up for the Poor People’s March.  Martin Luther King (April 4) and Robert Kennedy (June 6) were assassinated that same year.  We were married on June 8th.  There was extensive rioting in Washington DC.


Jefferson Memorial, also see Blog for Oct 2018

White House Visitor Center.  We have lots of photos of the White House across several years (e.g., see Blog for Dec 2020), and I took the White House tour in 1967.

Lafayette Park 1970

World War I Memorial.  In 2017, the World War I Centennial Commission held a ceremonial groundbreaking event at Pershing Park.  The Memorial was completed this year.  See Blog for Oct 2018 and Dec 2020 for additional photos.

Next, across the Potomac River to VA and Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial in Arlington National Cemetery.  With my visit here on November 8, 2020, I achieved my goal of experiencing ALL 422 National Park Units (see Blog for Dec 2020).  On this trip, Ranger Aurelia arranged passes for me to drive through two security posts in Arlington Cemetery and park on the hill near the mansion.  We met her shortly after our arrival and she presented me with some NP gifts for achieving my goal at this NP Unit, which is administered by George Washington Memorial Parkway of the NPS.  Pictures were taken and placed on their Facebook page. 


Painted Columns

The previous name for this site was the Custis-Lee Mansion, The Robert E. Lee Memorial.  Here is the Story – Martha Custis (1731-1802) had four children.  After her husband died, she married George Washington (1732-1799).  They did not have children together but raised her two children who survived to adulthood.  Her son, John Parke Custis (1754 to November 5, 1781), named his son George Washington Parke Custis (April 30, 1781 to 1857).  George and Martha adopted him and raised him at Mount Vernon.  When they passed, he inherited the family wealth.  He had his slaves build Arlington House (1802-1818) to honor the first President.  He had one surviving white child, a daughter Mary Anna Randolph Custis (1808-1873).  She married Robert E. Lee (1807-1870) in 1831.  They had seven children.  They and their descendants are now considered part of the “First Family.”

White and Mixed Descendants

George Washington Parke Custis also had a daughter named Maria Carter (1803-1895) with Arianna Carter one of his black slaves.  She married Charles Syphax (black) in the Arlington House Parlor. They had ten children.  They and their descendants are now considered part of the “First Family.”  We started our tour with the newly renovated Slave Quarters.

We then did our 3:40 reservation for a 20-minute self-guided tour through the newly renovated South Wing of Arlington House.

After walking through the Conservatory, the first room was Robert E. Lee’s office.

Morning Room

White Parlor

Dining Room and Family Parlor

Center Hall

Kitchen Garden – Museum in background


Arlington Cemetery – 2,111 Civil War Unknowns are buried under this monument