Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo, New York

Forest Lawn Cemetery, at 1411 Delaware Avenue in Buffalo, New York, is a Victorian rural cemetery established in 1849. Over 161,000 former residents of the “City of Light” are interred within its 269 acres, including U.S. President Millard Fillmore and the 49 victims of the Colgan Air Flight 3407 crash. True to its name, Forest Lawn is also an important arboretum, with over 3,500 trees spread over its sprawling grounds. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1990.

Blue Sky Mausoleum

Modern architect Frank Lloyd Wright designed this unique mausoleum in 1928, but it wouldn’t be until 76 years later that his apprentice Anthony Puttnam would complete the project. The Blue Sky Mausoleum, called that because its crypts face the sky rather than each other in an enclosed structure, contains 24 burial vaults. It sits on a gentle slope overlooking a small pond.

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South Mountain State Battlefield, Maryland

Idyllic southern Maryland scenery overshadows the carnage that once took place here.

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The Battle of South Mountain was fought on September 14, 1862 between Union forces commanded by Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside and Confederate forces commanded by Maj. Gen. James Longstreet in Frederick and Washington counties, Maryland during the American Civil War. The battle was a Union victory, with the Confederate army withdrawing and General Robert E. Lee considering prematurely ending his invasion of Maryland.

After General Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia destroyed the Union Army of Virginia at the Second Battle of Manassas, Lee saw an opportunity to invade Maryland, threaten Washington, DC, and possibly influence European powers to recognize Confederate independence. Lee divided his army and sent one wing to capture Harper’s Ferry, Virginia and the other into Maryland. A copy of his orders fell into enemy hands, however, and for once Union Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan acted swiftly to catch Lee off guard.

McClellan sent elements of his reconstituted Army of the Potomac to capture three strategic gaps in South Mountain, hoping to sever Lee’s army and destroy it in detail. The mountain passes were known as Turner’s Gap, Fox’s Gap, and Crampton’s Gap. Because of the difficult terrain and distance between them, the Battle of South Mountain was actually three separate engagements, though they all took place in a single day.

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Bohemian National Cemetery in Chicago, Illinois

Bohemian National Cemetery, at 5255 N. Pulaski Road in Chicago, Illinois, was created in 1877 by Chicago’s ethnic Czech community, and has since expanded to 126 acres. Approximately 120,000 of the city’s former residents are buried here, including victims of the SS Eastland shipwreck. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2006.

Bohemian Civil War Memorial

Erected in 1892, this bronze statue of a private in the Union Army holding an American flag is dedicated to the 18 Civil War veterans buried in Bohemian National Cemetery. It was designed by sculptor Joseph Klir and called the Bohemian Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument. Its inscription reads “Pro Novou Vlast”, or “for the new country”. Like many immigrant groups, Czechs fought on both sides, though primarily for the North.


This beautiful neoclassical granite statue of a cloaked woman is a tribute to Vincencie Kropacek (1863-1944) and her husband, Jan Kropacek (1860-1906). The woman stands next to a pedestal with a vase or urn. She appears to be holding reeds or palms in her right hand.

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History Has Deep Roots at First Landing State Park

Traverse a historic Cypress swamp once home to Native Americans, European colonists, and even pirates!

On April 26, 1607, Captain Christopher Newport and his three ships of English colonists made landfall at Cape Henry before moving on to establish the Jamestown Settlement. Their landing site is located in nearby Fort Story, which borders the park. It was for that reason in 1997 the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation changed its name from Seashore State Park to First Landing State Park.

A swamp seems like an unusual addition to the National Register of Historic Places, but for hundreds of years, European explorers, Native Americans, and pirates navigated this ancient Cypress swamp. Bald Cypress trees are known to live for centuries, meaning visitors might see the exact same trees as early colonists. Its Seashore Natural Area was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1965 and the park was added to the Register in 2005.

According to legend, in 1718 the pirate Edward Teach, better known as “Blackbeard”, buried a treasure in the sand dunes along shore before fleeing inland through the Cypress swamp’s labyrinthine waterways. They sailed south to North Carolina, intending to eventually return to retrieve their treasure. Blackbeard was killed on November 22, 1718, however, and this fabled treasure was never found.

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A Trip to Battlefield Heritage Park in Bristow, Virginia

Two battles, thirteen months apart, were fought at or near Bristoe Station during the American Civil War: Kettle Run on August 27, 1862 during the Northern Virginia Campaign and Bristoe Station on October 14, 1863 during the Bristoe Campaign. Bristoe Station was a stop on the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, an important rail line running north-south from Alexandria, Virginia to Gordonsville. It formed the northern half of the only rail link between the Union and Confederate capitals at Washington, D.C. and Richmond. Bristoe Battlefield was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1991.

Bristoe Station Battlefield Heritage Park is the result of a compromise between development and historical preservation. As part of Centex Homes’ application to rezone agricultural land and develop New Bristow Village near the historic site, it promised to dedicate 127 acres as a Heritage Park to the Civil War Preservation Trust and identify and preserve mass graves of Confederate and Union soldiers. The Prince William County Board of Supervisors approved their application in 2002.

Today, you can walk 2.7 miles of trails through woods, wetlands, and wind-swept hills where armies marched, camped, and fought over 150 years ago.

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Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia’s Historic Triangle

Step back in time and explore the former capital of Colonial Virginia, where Founding Fathers like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, and more walked the streets.

Both an actual town and open air museum, Colonial Williamsburg allows visitors to walk the same streets as legendary figures from the past and explore authentic and reconstructed Colonial-Era buildings. You need a ticket to enter the buildings and museums, but you can walk the streets and enter the shops and restaurants for free. Historical and haunted tours are plentiful, including carriage rides!

You can also visit the College of William & Mary, second-oldest college in the United States, and Eastern State Hospital, oldest mental asylum in the U.S. and now an art museum.

In many ways, Colonial Williamsburg reminds me of Tombstone, Arizona, another attempt by a living community to reconstruct history. Like Tombstone, Williamsburg got left behind when its moment in the sun passed. Its historic buildings were modified and fell into disrepair over the decades after Virginia’s capitol was moved to Richmond in 1780.

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Diners Through the Decades: 1950s

The 1950s were both the heyday and twilight of classic American diners. As fast-food began to take off and the population grew, entrepreneurs were less likely to invest in establishments with such limited space and seating. Major diner manufacturers went out of business in the 1950s, including The Jerry O’Mahony Diner Company in 1952, the Worcester Lunch Car Company in 1957, and Mountain View Diners Company in 1957.

Still, when you think of the classic American diner, the 1950s always come to mind, with countertop jukeboxes and waitresses in pink aprons. In the late 1950s, the term “diner-restaurant” began to be used, as restaurateurs built larger, fixed structures retaining familiar diner elements.

Photo by Michael Kleen

Wolfe’s Diner, 625 N. U.S. Route 15 in Dillsburg, Pennsylvania, is a 1952 O’Mahony, one of the last to be produced. Striped, stainless steel exteriors and flat roofs (as opposed to the classic barrel roof) and neon lights are characteristic of diners built in the 1950s. They resemble RVs or mobile homes.

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