The deep historical significance of the designations are less obvious than other major landmarks and highlight the country’s complex past rather than point out the next big tourist destination.
A Kansas battlefield where forces faced off over slavery several years before the Civil War, two New England churches, and several sites associated with indigenous North American cultures are among 27 places designated new National Historic Landmarks by the U.S. Department of Interior.
Other sites include homes of the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous and examples of Beaux Arts, modern and City Beautiful movements and architecture.
“Each of these landmarks represents a thread in the great tapestry that tells the story of our beautiful land, our diverse culture and our nation’s rich heritage,” said Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar in announcing the list Wednesday.
The new sites according to information from the U.S. Department of Interior are:
- Admiral David Glasgow Farragut Gravesite, New York City. Farragut was an important Civil War naval commander.
- Black Jack Battlefield, Douglas County, Kansas. A June 2, 1856 conflict took place here between abolitionist John Brown’s forces and a pro-slavery contingent led by Henry Clay Pate, predating the Civil War.
- Camp Evans, Wall Township, N.J. This World War II-era U.S. Army Signal Corps facility was a principal U.S. site for development of radar.
- Central Branch, National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers/Dayton Veterans Administration Home, Dayton, Ohio. The home represents a “shift in federal care for veterans” from World War I through creation of the Veterans Administration in 1930.
- Two New England churches, Central Congregational Church, Boston, noted for its intact Tiffany-designed ecclesiastical interior, and United Congregational Church, Newport, R.I., noted for its 1880-81 murals and opalescent and stained glass windows by artist John LaFarge.
- Cesar E. Chavez National Monument at Nuestra Senora Reina de la Paz in Keene, Calif. La Paz was headquarters to the United Farm Workers of America in the early 1970s when Chavez and others won passage of a law recognizing farm workers’ collective bargaining rights. (The site was previously declared a national monument and is now a landmark.)
- Two sites associated with indigenous North American culture predating contact with Europeans, the Davis Oriole Earthlodge Site, Mills County, Iowa, an example of lodge habitations on the Plains, and Murray Springs Clovis Site, Cochise County, Ariz., with a mammoth-kill site, bison-kill site, and camp site.
- Denver & Rio Grande Railroad San Juan Extension (Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad), Conejos and Archuleta Counties, Colo., and Rio Arriba County, N.M. The railroad is “one of the country’s best surviving examples of a narrow gauge system from the peak of American railroading, roughly 1870 to 1930.”
- Denver Civic Center, Denver. The center is one of America’s “most complete and intact” civic centers from the early 20th century City Beautiful movement.
- Two sites associated with founders and leaders of Alcoholics Anonymous, Dr. Bob’s Home (Dr. Robert and Anne Smith House), Akron, Ohio, and Stepping Stones (Bill and Lois Wilson House), Katonah, N.Y.
- The Drakes Bay Historic and Archaeological District, Point Reyes Station, Calif. The site is associated with the “earliest documented cross-cultural encounter between California Indians and Europeans.”
- Greendale Historic District, Village of Greendale, Wis. Greendale was built during the Great Depression as a government-sponsored “greenbelt” community.
- The Hispanic Society of America Complex, New York City. The institution founded in 1904 promoted Hispanic culture as inclusive of Spanish and South American heritage, representing a shift in perceptions in the U.S.
- Historic Moravian Bethlehem Historic District, Bethlehem, Pa. The district, notable for architecture and planning, was created as an 18th century religious community.
- Two mid-19th century covered bridges with significant examples of certain types of truss construction, Humpback Bridge, Alleghany County, Va., and Knight’s Ferry Bridge, Stanislaus County, Calif.
- McKeen Motor Car No. 70 (Virginia & Truckee Railway Motor Car No. 22), Carson City, Nev. The car is considered the best surviving example of the first commercially viable application of internal combustion power in a self-propelled railroad car.
- Poston Elementary School Unit 1, Colorado River Relocation Center, La Paz County, Ariz. This is the only relocation center for Japanese Americans confined during World War II that retains an above-ground complex of elementary school buildings.
- The Republic, Columbus, Ind. The one-story flat-roof glass and white aluminum building designed by renowned architect Myron Goldsmith is considered an exceptional example of modern architecture.
- San Jose de los Jemez Mission and Giusewa Pueblo Site, N.M. The site is associated with the spread of Spanish colonial control and interaction with indigenous North American cultures between 1598 and 1639.
- U.S. Post Office and Court House (Central District court for California), Los Angeles. The court was important in 1945 and 1946 in postwar school desegregation efforts and Mexican-American civil rights cases, declaring “separate but equal” to be unconstitutional.
- Two buildings notable for Beaux-Arts designs, the U.S. Post Office and Courthouse (U.S. Court of Appeals), San Francisco, built between 1897 and 1905, and University Heights Campus (Bronx Community College of The City University of New York), Bronx, N.Y., built by renowned architect Stanford White, partner in McKim, Mead & White.
- Big Spring Creek in Saguache County, Colo. The creek was designated a national natural landmark as a unique spring-fed stream formed by groundwater with wetlands and diverse plant and wildlife in an otherwise arid landscape.