Where To Travel To In The USA: Top 20 Historical Sites That Have Shaped America’s Culture 16 – 20
This is the 4th installment of the Top 20 Culturally Significant Historical Sites that are integral in having shaped America’s diverse culture to what it is today. They are listed in no particular order, and I have provided some links and pictures for additional reading. I hope this will inspire you to visit these sites and the plethora of others in the future as they are an important marker on what America has gone through to become who we are as a nation today. I hope you have enjoyed the series and possibly inspired some historical related travel in the near future.
<— Historical Sites (Numbers 11 – 15)
16. Oil Creek State Park – Oil Creek Township, Pennsylvania
Oil Creek State Park in Pennsylvania - Where Seneca Oil Company First Extracted oil Commercially (Courtesy of Shutterstock.com)
During the 1850’s, the Northwest corner of Pennsylvania was a place where the timber industry ruled. However, this all changed on August 27, 1859 when Seneca Oil Company found a way to extract the oil in the ground, forming the first commercialized oil well in the United States. It sparked rapid growth across the area, and the United States would experience its first oil boom becoming the largest producer of the commodity around the world for decades to come. The growth of the oil industry spurred economic development that shaped America into the car loving society it is today.
National Parks Service Site on Oil Region National Heritage Area
Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Page on Oil Creek State Park
17. Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail – Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Washington
Sign for the Lewis and Clark Trail (Courtesy of Shutterstock.com)
In 1804, President Thomas Jefferson commissioned two war veterans, Meriwether Lewis and Lewis Clark, to explore the land beyond the Mississippi river, largely unexplored, in order to find a land route to Asia. At the same time, the pair and their crew were to map out the land and wildlife in order to both claim the territory for the United States and also to see how it could be of value in economic terms. Two years later, the crew reached the coast of the Pacific Northwest having documented and mapped much of the area. Their journey across the western frontier both exemplified the American frontiersman spirit of the time, while also established the border across the plains and Rockies, setting up thousands of future migrants who would make a similar journey a few decades later across routes such as the Oregon Trail, Mormon Trail, California Trail, and Santa Fe Trail.
National Parks Service Site on The Lewis and Clark Trail
The Story of Lewis and Clark
18. Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area – Arizona & California
Railroad bridge over the Colorado River close to the Yuma Crossing (Courtesy of Shutterstock.com)
For thousands of years, the Yuma Crossing area has been an important migration route for thousands of people, starting from pre-Colombian times. The granite columns that formed at the narrowest point of the river provided for the only crossing point for nearly a thousand miles. At the arrival of the 18th and 19th century, thousands of Europeans were using the route to immigrate to the new lands of New Spain (18th century) and California (19th Century for the Gold Rush). Eventually in 1877 a commercial rail line was placed across the river, and soon provided for the land crossing for thousands of Hispanics to the area where the culture dominates to this day.
National Parks Service Site on Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area
More history on the Yuma Crossing
19. Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site – Little Rock, Arkansas
Front View of the Little Rock Central High School where the "Little Rock 9" first integrated in 1957 (Courtesy of Shutterstock.com)
In 1954, the Supreme Court Ruled in the case of Brown v. Board of Education struck down the “separate but equal” laws that allowed for the segregation of white and black schools. However, as 1957 rolled around, many schools in the south were still not integrating their student bodies. 9 courageous black students chose to enter the opulent Central High School in Little Rock in September of 1957. They were met with Arkansas National Guard troops summoned by then government Orval Faubus and not permitted to enter the school. As the issue escalated, the President of The United States, Dwight Eisenhower, ordered a division of the US Army to escort the students to and from their classes amidst threatening mobs of both students and residents. Full integration of the city’s high schools finally came about 2 years later.
National Parks Service Site on Little Rock Central High School
History of the Little Rock 9
20. Canaveral National Seashore – Florida
A shuttle launches off at Cape Canaveral in Florida (Public Domain)
Located on a barrier island 24 miles long, Canaveral National Seashore is home to the longest stretch of undeveloped beach on the east coast of the United States, and more importantly so, to the famous Kennedy Space Center on the extreme southern end of the island. This pristine area is home to one of America’s defining moments when the first man was put on the moon in 1969 in the great race with Soviet Union to be the first to do so. In the process, the United States claimed the upper hand in the middle of the Cold War. Politics aside, it was a time of great accomplishment for the entire human race.
National Parks Service Site on The Cape Canaveral National Seashore
History of Cape Canaveral 1959 – Present
<— Historical Sites (Numbers 11 – 15)
Thank you for checking out Culture Coach’s Top 20 Historical Sites that Have Shaped America’s Culture. Please feel free to share or “like” our page, or to leave us a comment on what you would have added to the list. Who knows, maybe there will be another list coming soon from your suggestions?