By Lowell and Kaye Christie, F47246
Last month we checked out some of the national historic landmarks located east of the Appalachians — this month we’ll move westward. You’ll notice a considerable difference between the subjects this month. Nobody said the two sides of the country are alike. The sites are listed as they became historically significant.
1. Pictograph Cave State Park, Billings, Montana
Back in the 1930s, archaeologists discovered more than 100 black, red, and white figures on the walls of Pictograph Cave, some of which are estimated to be 1,500 years old. American Indians painted pictures on rock walls using colors gleaned from the earth. The subjects of these paintings range from stories about daily life to spiritual beliefs.
2. Taos Pueblo, Taos, New Mexico
“Pueblo” is a Spanish word meaning village. The Taos Indians built their pueblo six centuries ago, using two of the most plentiful materials, mud and straw, to produce the widely used adobe. Descendants of the families who built this pueblo live nearby. Stair-ladders provide access to the many levels of the pueblo version of an apartment house. Don’t miss it if you’re in the area.
3. Rafael Gonzalez House, Santa Barbara, California
Constructed in approximately 1825, this house resembles those built in Spain using adobe brick covered with stucco, and topped with a red clay-tile roof. The walls are 2 feet thick, providing effective summer cooling. Considering that the house has a coastal location, it’s presumed that those bricks were intended to strip away the extreme temperatures. Typical of residences in California’s moderate climate, the house follows the tradition of having a veranda and a patio.
4. Upper Green River Rendezvous Site, Daniel, Wyoming
After the Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1804, other Americans ventured into the mountains west of the Missouri River. Kit Carson, Jim Bridger, and Jedediah Smith were among those who worked with local Indian tribes developing a fur trapping and trading business. A “rendezvous” was a bustling camp set up at a special place — this one was at the junction of Horse Creek and Green River. Beginning about 1824, Indians and mountain men met for a few days each year to exchange their furs for “fancy goods” such as factory-made cloth and metal pots, pans, and utensils brought from St. Louis in great caravans.
5. Independence Rock, Casper, Wyoming
This huge granite outcropping marks the halfway point on the 2,000-mile trek from the Missouri River to the West Coast. Within a couple of decades, more than 3,000 names were carved on this huge rock by mountain men, fur trappers, and wagon train and handcart emigrants. Independence Rock is located 47 miles south of Casper, on State Route 220.
6. Berea College, Berea, Kentucky
Founded in 1855, Berea College was the first school in the South established specifically to teach black and white students together. Part of the school’s philosophy has always been that “mental and manual labor” should go hand in hand to make responsible adults. In 1904, a Kentucky law forced Berea College to segregate black and white students. The law was changed again in 1950, enabling students of all races to study and work together again.
7. Balclutha (sailing ship), San Francisco, California
Built in 1886, Balclutha is one of only two American-owned square-rigged sailing ships still afloat on the Pacific Ocean. After the Civil War, ships such as Balclutha facilitated commercial trading between American communities as well as with Europe. She carried grain grown in California, and played a role in the Pacific Coast lumber trade and Alaskan salmon trade. The ship is now permanently docked in San Francisco and open to visitors.
8. Cleveland Arcade, Cleveland, Ohio
Completed in 1890, the Cleveland Arcade is made up of two 9-story towers connected by an enormous iron and glass skylight. The dramatic shopping arcade may remind you of today’s suburban shopping malls. But this building is much different. It was built long before we were born; it’s located in the heart of a major city; and it has five levels inside. Recently the Hyatt Corporation redeveloped the Arcade into Cleveland’s first Hyatt Regency Hotel. The two lower floors of the atrium area remain open to the public and contain retail stores and a food court.
9. Little Tokyo Historic District, Los Angeles, California
Many Japanese immigrants arrived in California in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Legally banned from owning land, they settled in the cities, especially Los Angeles. Soon Little Tokyo became the center of the cut-flower and retail produce industries in that city. The Japanese community thrived until World War II, when many Japanese-Americans were put into internment camps until the war was over. In 1988 the United States government publicly apologized for this wartime action.
10. Bank of Italy (Bank of America), San Francisco, California
You may not know of the Bank of Italy, but you’ve probably heard of the Bank of America, which grew out of it. Amadeo Peter Giannini founded the Bank of Italy in San Francisco in 1904 and made it one of the largest commercial banks in the world. Giannini’s success was based on serving people of moderate incomes. Other banks preferred serving wealthy individuals and large companies. The Bank of Italy has been known as the Bank of America since 1930.
11. Highland Park Ford Plant, Detroit, Michigan
In 1910 the Ford Motor Company moved to its new plant in Highland Park, Michigan. There, Henry Ford and his engineers increased their auto output by using a motor-driven conveyer belt and having each worker assemble specific parts. That way, a crew could build a car in 1-1/2 hours instead of 12-1/2 hours. The first Model T Ford produced on the assembly line came out of the Highland Park plant in 1914. By 1921, more than 5 million of these cars were on the road.
12. Mutual Musician’s Association Building, Kansas City, Missouri
The Negro Musician’s Foundation was formed in 1929 by a group of professional musicians needing rehearsal space. Their rehearsal building also housed Local 627 of the American Federation of Musicians. During the 1930s and 1940s, the Kansas City jazz scene was as prominent as those in New York, New Orleans, and Chicago. Several jazz greats were active members of the Mutual Musician’s Association — Count Basie, Oran “Hot Lips” Page, Lester Young, and Charlie “Bird” Parker, to name a few.
13. Paramount Theatre, Oakland, California
It’s hard to imagine that in 1900 there were no movie theaters at all. But in less than three decades, America moved from nickelodeons to silent films and finally to motion pictures with sound. Thousands of movie theaters were built across the country; some were “movie palaces,” elaborate structures with ornate decoration inside and out. The Paramount Theatre, completed in 1931, was one of these. Many theaters failed during the hard Depression years, but the Paramount remained open. After its initial brief blaze of glory in the 1930s, this remarkable auditorium suffered three decades of neglect and decline until its rescue by the Oakland Symphony, the City of Oakland, and numerous private donors. A painstaking and authentic restoration was completed in 1973, when it was entered in the National Register of Historic Places.