River Raisin National Battlefield Park

Our Nation's Newest National Parks

January 12, 2011, 4:25 pm

Each New Year ushers in new beginnings, and what better way to celebrate the start of 2011 than by visiting one of the National Park Service’s newest members? This year three new parks offer a chance to explore and learn more about our country’s diverse and important past, present and future.

River Raisin National Battlefield, Michigan
River Raisin National Battlefield commemorates an important battle in the often forgotten War of 1812. The battle pitted two rivals the Americans and the British against one another, fighting for control of all of Michigan and the Lower Great Lakes.

Fought along the north bank of the River Raisin from January 18 to January 23, 1813 in present-day Monroe, Michigan, the battle saw American forces suffer one of their worst defeats of the war. When the battle ended, Indian allies of the British killed wounded American prisoners, so enraging Americans, the phrase ‘Remember the Raisin’ became a rallying cry for troops throughout the war. It would take months before American troops were finally able recapture territory lost in the battle.

Today the park visitor center is open from June through October, Friday through Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The visitor center is closed on Wednesday and Thursday. Although the visitor center may be closed when you visit, the park grounds are open year-round.

Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial, California
Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial remembers the courage and commitment of the sailors, marines, coast guardsmen, merchant marines and civilians killed and injured in the largest homeland disaster during World War II.

On July 17, 1944, 320 men were instantly killed when a loaded munitions ship blew up during loading operations. Of the 320 dead, 202 were African Americans. The explosion highlighted the issues faced by African American servicemen in a then segregated navy as African Americans could only work in kitchens or as stevedores loading and unloading ships. After the explosion several soldiers refused to continue their work without safety training and the U.S. Navy charged 50 of these men with ‘conspiring to make mutiny.’

Today Port Chicago Naval Magazine not only remembers those who lost their lives, but those who fought to end segregation in throughout the military. Throughout the coming year, five acres around the sight of the 1944 explosion will be transferred to the National Park Service. Those who wish to visit the site must make reservations by calling (925) 228- 8860, as the area surrounding the memorial is still an active base. Military clearance is required in addition to reservations.

President William Jefferson Clinton Birthplace Home National Historic Site, Arkansas
President William Jefferson Clinton Birthplace Home National Historic Site preserves the home where President Clinton lived for the first four years of his life. In this two-story home, a young Clinton lived with his widowed mother and maternal grandparents. It was his early childhood in Hope, Arkansas that Clinton credits with shaping his understand of the world and influencing his development.

Today the Clinton Birthplace Home National Historic Site becomes one of the nearly 20 presidential homes that the National Park Service manages. The home is open for public tours Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.