national historic landmarks, the West, César Chávez, Denver

New National Landmarks in the West Selected by Interior Secretary

Sunday, October 28 2012 14:47   Preservation
Following a goal to preserve America's history, cultural and natural heritage, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has designated 13 sites in the West as national historic landmarks and one additional site as a national natural landmark.

The 14 locations in the West, announced Oct. 17, 2012, were part of a total designation of 27 national landmarks across the country as places that possess exceptional value and quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the nation.

"Each of these landmarks represents a thread in the great tapestry that tells the story of our beautiful land, our diverse culture and our nation's rich heritage," said Salazar.

"By designating these sites as national landmarks, we help meet the goals of America's Great Outdoors Initiative to establish a conservation ethic for the 21st century and reconnect people, especially young people, to our nation's historic, cultural, and natural heritage," he added.

The national historic landmarks in the West (alphabetically listed by landmark) that were announced include:

Black Jack Battlefield, Douglas County, Kansas
The three-hour Battle of Black Jack, fought on June 2, 1856, marked a culmination of escalating violence in "Bleeding Kansas" and the beginning of John Brown's war on slavery, which would culminate in his raid on Harpers Ferry three years later.

chavez_centerCésar E. Chávez National Monument at Nuestra Señora Reina de la Paz in Keene, California
La Paz became headquarters to the United Farm Workers of America in the early 1970s when César Chávez and other leaders of the UFW orchestrated unprecedented successes for hundreds of thousands of farm workers, including passage of the first U.S. law that recognized farm workers' collective bargaining rights. On Oct. 8, 2012, President Obama declared the site a national monument. In addition to that action, today the secretary announced the site has also been designated a national historic landmark. (See our story by clicking here.)

Davis Oriole Earthlodge Site, Mills County, Iowa
The Davis Oriole Earthlodge Site outstandingly illustrates the physical features of lodge habitations that commonly recur across the Plains and is exceptionally valuable for the study of this predominant Plains Village pattern habitation type.

Denver & Rio Grande Railroad San Juan Extension (Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad), Conejos and Archuleta Counties, Colorado and Rio Arriba County, New Mexico
In terms of length, scale of operations, completeness, extensiveness of its steam operations, and state of preservation, the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad San Juan Extension is one of the country's best surviving examples of a narrow gauge system from the peak of American railroading, roughly 1870 to 1930.

Denver Civic Center, Denver, Colorado
Heralded as "one of the most complete and intact City Beautiful civic centers in the country," the Denver Civic Center represents that movement's widespread impact on American cities through the creation of planned civic centers in the early 20th century.

The Drakes Bay Historic and Archeological District, Point Reyes Station, California
The site is directly associated with the earliest documented cross-cultural encounter between California Indians and Europeans, leaving the most complete material record on the West Coast. In addition, the site contains the earliest recorded shipwreck on the West Coast of the United States, the Spanish San Agustín.

Knight's Ferry Bridge, Stanislaus County, California
Constructed in 1862-1863, Knight's Ferry Bridge is an exceptionally fine example of 19th-century covered bridge construction using the William Howe patented truss, one of the most successful and widely-used American timber bridge truss types.

McKeen Motor Car #70 (Virginia & Truckee Railway Motor Car #22), Carson City, Nevada
This is the best surviving example of the first commercially viable application of internal combustion power in a self-propelled railroad car.

Murray Springs Clovis Site, Cochise County, Arizona
The Murray Springs Clovis Site is among the richest early Paleoindian sites in North America with a mammoth-kill site, a bison-kill site, and a Clovis camp site. Sites associated with the Clovis culture are extremely rare.

Poston Elementary School Unit 1, Colorado River Relocation Center, La Paz County, Arizona
The second of 10 relocation centers established for the confinement of Japanese Americans during World War II, Poston is the only relocation center that retains an above-ground complex of elementary school buildings.

sanjosejemezgiusewa_01San José de los Jémez Mission and Gíusewa Pueblo Site, New Mexico
San José de los Jémez Mission and Gíusewa Pueblo Site is associated with the spread of Spanish control northward in New Spain into the present-day American Southwest from 1598 to about 1639 and is an early representation of the intersection of European and native cultures.

The United States Post Office and Court House (the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California), Los Angeles, California
Between 1945 and 1946, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California became an exceptionally important site in the annals of postwar American school desegregation efforts and the civil rights history of Mexican and Mexican-American people in the Southwest. This was the site of the 1946 Mendez v. Westminster School District lawsuit filed by five Latino families whose children were denied admission to public schools in Southern California. The decision by this federal court forbade segregation on the grounds that separate was not equal; it was the first court to declare that the doctrine of "separate but equal" ran counter to the United States Constitution.

browning_courthouseThe United States Post Office and Courthouse (James R. Browning U.S. Court of Appeals), San Francisco, California
Constructed between 1897 and 1905, the U.S. Post Office and Courthouse in San Francisco is a superlative Beaux-Arts public building exhibiting a complex merger of a number of artistic disciplines: architecture, sculpture, painting, stained-glass and decorative arts.

Big Spring Creek in Saguache County, Colorado
Salazar also designated this site as a national natural landmark. This feature is unique in the region as a spring-fed, gaining stream formed by groundwater discharging from an unconfined aquifer. Emergent wetlands along the creek support a diversity of rare species and plant communities in an otherwise arid landscape.

Currently there are 2,527 designated national historic landmarks and 592 national natural landmark sites across the country that bear this national distinction.

The National Historic Landmarks Program, established in 1935, is administered by the National Park Service on behalf of the Secretary of the Interior. The agency works with preservation officials and other partners interested in nominating a landmark.

Completed applications are reviewed by the National Park System Advisory Board, which makes recommendations for designation to the Secretary of the Interior. If selected, property ownership remains intact but each site receives a designation letter, a plaque, and technical preservation advice.


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