National Parks, as we talked about in a recent post, celebrate our history as a country. The parks tell a story of our past, adventure, and accomplishment. National parks honor the place, as well as the people, that make our history so important. Below is a list of eight parks that honor our heroes – the people that made our country so proud and strong. View photos of each of these American heroes here.
Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park
America’s 16th president held our nation together during a time of aggressive division. The victory of the Union in the Civil War and the messages of abolition that Abraham Lincoln’s speeches demanded paved the way to the end of slavery in the United States. The country’s first memorial to Lincoln stands in his hometown in rural Kentucky.
Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument
This site honors Colonel Charles Young whose achievements throughout life broke ground in a segregated society. He was one of the first African Americans to graduate from the U.S Military Academy at West Point. His subsequent work as an officer with the Buffalo Soldiers led him to become the first African American superintendent of a national park during a time when the military oversaw some national parks.
George Rogers Clark National Historical Park
George Rogers Clark was a force to be reckoned with during the American Revolution. As the highest ranking American military officer in the northwestern frontier and a man gifted with remarkable military insight, he was able to weaken British influence in the area and win battles during critical points of the war.
George Washington Carver National Monument
George Washington Carver had a lasting impact on American society as a botanist, inventor, educator and humanitarian. He encouraged poor farmers to grow alternative crops as a food source and use agriculture to improve their quality of life. This site contains the birthplace and childhood home of a man who was able to implement change during a time of racial polarization.
Harriet Tubman National Historical Park
Harriet Tubman is the Underground Railroad’s best known conductor. She dedicated her life to the pursuit of freedom for herself and others. Before the Civil War she repeatedly risked her life to guide nearly 70 enslaved people north to new lives of freedom. This park preserves where Harriet Tubman lived and worked from 1861 to her death in 1913.
Lewis and Clark National Historical Park
The Lewis and Clark Expedition was the first government exploration of the western region of the United States. Captain Meriwether Lewis and Second Lieutenant William Clark were sent on a mission by President Thomas Jefferson to find a route to the Pacific Ocean and study the land acquired in the Louisiana Purchase. This site provides insight to their travels, in particular their 1805-1806 winter encampment at Fort Clatsop.
Maggie L Walker National Historic Site
As a bank president, newspaper editor, and fraternal leader, Maggie Lena Walker inspired pride and progress. She devoted her life to civil rights advancement, economic empowerment, and educational opportunities for Jim Crow-era African Americans and women. Today, her home is a tribute to her enduring legacy in American society.
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
When Theodore Roosevelt went to Dakota Territory to hunt bison in 1883, he was a skinny, young, spectacled New Yorker. His adventures in this beautifully remote and unfamiliar landscape forever altered his perspective. The rugged landscape and abundant wildlife he found in North Dakota helped to shape a conservation policy that would one day help lead to the creation of the National Park Service.
Visit the National Park Service website to start planning your visit.