13 Sites Receive National Historic Landmark Designation

The Edmund Pettus Bridge, site of "Bloody Sunday" is among the new sites receiving the designation.Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis announced the designation of 13 new National Historic Landmarks on March 12. The sites bring the total number of historic landmarks to 2,540.

Covering more than two centuries of the United States’ history, the new landmarks help to paint a picture of the contributions to the nation by a diverse collection of people. Sites significant to the Civil Rights Movement, American Indians, Spanish colonialism and literary movements are among the 13 new designations.

The National Historic Landmarks program was instituted in 1935 to honor significant historic sites. In order to be designated, sites must display exceptional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States. The National Park Service administers the program on behalf of the Secretary of the Interior.

The NPS works alongside preservation officials and others interested in nominating landmarks. The National Park System Advisory Board then reviews completed applications and makes recommendations to the Secretary of the Interior of sites they feel deserve recognition. Property ownership is maintained upon selection and honored sites receive a designation letter, plaque and technical preservation advice. 

A list and small explanation of the 13 sites follows:

Camden Amphitheatre and Public Library, Camden, Maine—One of the few public projects done by Fletcher Steele, one of America’s premier practitioners of 20th-century landscape design. The Camden Amphitheatre and Public Library serve as an example of landscape architecture professions, private benefactors, and national associations developing public landscapes in the United States to celebrate natural beauty and cultural history.

Camp Nelson Historic and Archeological District, Jessamine County, Kentucky—The site of one of the nation’s largest training and recruitment centers for African American soldiers during the Civil War. Also served as a refugee camp for wives and children of soldiers seeking to maintain freedom.

Casa Dra. Concha Meléndez Ramírez, San Juan, Puerto Rico—Home and workplace for Dra. Concha Meléndez Ramírez. Ramírez was an important voice to the literary movement that worked to shape 20th Century national cultural identity in Puerto Rico, the Generación del Treinta (Generation of 1930).

Edmund Pettus Bridge, Selma, Alabama—Site of the attack known as “Bloody Sunday.” Law enforcement officials used physical force against civil rights marchers attempting to draw attention to the need for voting rights legislation while walking across the bridge on March 7, 1965. Act contributed to the passing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965—one of the most significant Civil Rights bills passed by Congress.

The Epic of American Civilization Murals, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire—Most important work by José Clemente Orozco, a leading Mexican muralist in the early 20th century. Orozco planned the murals to represent the North American continent characterized by the duality of indigenous and European historical experiences. Highly controversial when they were first painted, the murals challenged traditional thinking of the development of Aztec and Anglo-American civilizations in North America.

George T. Stagg Distillery, Franklin County, Kentucky—Containing resources dating from approximately 1880 to 1953. The distillery is a unique example of an operating distillery before, during and after Prohibition.

Harriet Beecher Stowe House, Hartford, Connecticut—The house in Connecticut was a longtime home to Harriet Beecher Stowe, a well-known antislavery, family and women’s role reformer.

Hinchliffe Stadium, Paterson, New Jersey—An example of a Negro league stadium from segregated America in the 20th Century. The New York Black Yankees and the New York Cubans were among the teams to call Hinchcliffe home. Eleven current members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame played at Hinchliffe Stadium.

Honey Springs Battlefield, McIntosh and Muskogee Counties, Oklahoma—The site of the largest Civil War battle from 1861-1865 in Indian territory. It was also the largest battle in Indian territory to have Indian soldiers fighting for both the Union and Confederates. Indian troops also fought in the Anglo-American formal style of warfare for the first time here.

Old San Juan Historic District, Distrito Histórico del Viejo San Juan, San Juan, Puerto Rico—The largest collection of buildings representing four centuries of Spanish culture, religion, politics and architecture, it is the last remaining representation of an almost 400-year-old Spanish Colonial city in the United States. The oldest city within the United States and its territories, Old San Juan also contains the oldest house, Christian church, executive mansion, convent, and military defenses in the nation.

Pear Valley, Eastville, Virginia—A rare example of the distinctive form of architecture that developed in the Chesapeake Bay region. Pear Valley dates to 1740.

Second Presbyterian Church, Chicago, Illinois—The interior features work by noted architect Howard Van Doren Shaw. It serves as some of the best examples of Arts and Crafts mural painting, sculpture, stained glass and crafting in metals, fabrics, wood and plaster.

Yaddo, Saratoga Springs, New York—One of the nation’s oldest artist retreats, over 6,000 20th-century influential writers, visual artists and composers who shaped and imprinted American culture with a distinct national identity came to Yaddo. Among the most notable were Langston Hughes, Sylvia Plath and Truman Capote.

To learn more about National Historic Landmarks and a complete list of the sites, visit nps.gov/nhl

Image: The Edmund Pettus Bridge is among the 13 new sites receiving designation. Source: Library of Congress; Carol Highsmith.