A great way to learn the history of the United States is by visiting Washington D.C. The Smithsonian, Monticello, the Lincoln Memorial and of course the White House all provide tremendous history lessons to those who visit. But, scattered across our land are many other important places that were instrumental in making America the great country it is. So in this month of July during which we celebrate our independence and our country, why not take a trip and visit some of these important places?
Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park, Coloma, California
More than 300,000 people from all over the world came to California during the California Gold Rush and the mining boom that ensued helped usher California into statehood. In 1848, gold was discovered by James Marshall while he was overseeing the construction of a saw mill near the American River. Although everyone pretty much knew there was gold in California (“there’s gold in them thar hills”), it was when Marshall saw something glistening in Sutter Creek that it became a reality. People flocked to California to make their fortune in gold – some succeeded and some didn’t – and that’s where the term “49er” comes from. It was the name given to the masses that came to Coloma and the surrounding area to mine for gold. The Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park features a museum and visitors can even pan for gold. Visit marshallgold.com for more information.
Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park is just a few minutes away from Ponderosa RV Resort.
Fort Clatsop, Astoria, Oregon
This was the last stop on the road, so to speak, for Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery before heading back to St. Louis after their trek to the Pacific Northwest. The team had been traveling for almost two years at the request of President Thomas Jefferson to explore the recently acquired lands of the Louisiana Purchase and to find a navigable passage west. With winter coming, the team decided to spend the winter in Oregon and head back east once spring arrived. What visitors can see now is a re-creation of the fort as well as a museum. Historical demonstrations and guided trail walks are available. Bronze figures depict Lewis and Clark as well as Sacajawea, the daughter of a Shoshone chief who became the team’s guide and interpreter. For information, visit nps.gov/lewi.
Lower East Side Tenement Museum, New York, New York
More than 15,000 called these buildings home from 1863 to 2000 – people who came to America to seek a better life, escape religious persecution and live the American dream. The Tenement Museum takes visitors through restored apartments and retail spaces and provides them insight into the life of an immigrant. Walking tours of the neighborhood, which continue the story of the immigrant’s life, are also available. For information, visit tenement.org.
Thomas Edison National Historic Park, West Orange, New Jersey
This national park incorporated the home and laboratory of arguably America’s most famous inventor, Thomas Alva Edison. The Laboratory Complex features an orientation film as well as the opportunity to visit three floors of the laboratory. Visitors can also tour Edison’s mansion and the grounds and outbuildings of his Glenmont estate. Visit www.nps.gov/edi for hours and more information.
Thomas Edison National Historic Park in West Orange, NJ, is about an hour and a half from Scotrun RV Resort.