In light of current politics, there has been a lot of discussion around National Monuments. What is a National Monument? It is a piece of land, or historic site, that has been given protection by Congress or a President (see: Antiquities Act). This might include a wilderness area, ruins, or even buildings. One of the most well-known examples is the Grand Canyon. There are, at this time, 129 National Monuments, the majority of which are managed by one of the following federal agencies:
- National Park Service (NPS)
- Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
- United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)
- United States Forest Service (USFS)
While all 129 Monuments have their own story, beauty, and rich history, I’m going to share the SIX that are found in the state of New York. I wanted to share these because I think a lot of people are actually unaware of National Monuments and what they represent.
New York National Monuments
#1: Statue of Liberty
source: Chris Parker\\flickr
Perhaps one of the most well known tourist spots in the world, the Statue of Liberty is a must for visitors to NYC. The statue itself was constructed in France around 1886 and shipped overseas. It was to celebrate the relationship between France and the United States during the American Revolution. The Statue of Liberty became a National Monument in 1924 and has been maintained by the NPS since 1933.
#2: Governors Island
source: New York Times
Governors Island is another monument you can visit during your stay in NYC. It is a 172 acre island off the New York harbor established in 2001. It’s the perfect escape from the chaos of the city without needing to rent car or take a train. There are always activities going on such as live music and festivals. They run a lot of special events, including Civil War Weekend for history enthusiasts. Tickets for the ferry to the island are only $2.
Another National Monument is located in New York City. Stonewall is located in Greenwich Village, a neighborhood in lower Manhattan. At over 7 acres, it is located at the site of Stonewall Riots in 1969. This National Monument represents LGBT rights and was only established as a National Monument in 2016. The protected area includes the Stonewall Inn and nearby Christopher Street Park.
#4: African Burial Ground
This National Monument is a a bit newer, beginning less than 30 years ago in 1991. The African Burial Ground only became a National Monument in 2006.During a construction project, the workers started discovering skeletal remains. The remains included more than 400 bodies, dated to the 17th and 18th centuries. Are you surprised to hear that this burial ground is actually located in lower Manhattan?
#5: Castle Clinton
Castle Clinton can be found without even leaving New York City: located at the southern tip of Manhattan. It was built from 1808-1811 as a fort to keep out a British invasion. It was also the first place immigrants would come through (before Ellis Island) from 1855 to 1890. Now, restored in 1975 as a National Monument, it is open to the public for people from all over the world to visit and learn it’s history. Noted immigrants that came through include Harry Houdini and Joseph Pulitzer.
#6: Fort Stanwix
source: Slabcity Gang//flickr
Fort Stanwix was built from 1758 to 1762 near what is now Rome, New York, just east of Syracruse. Back then, the Oneida Carry was part of the trade route from the Atlantic to the Great Lakes. In Rome, cargo would be portaged and thus Fort Stanwix was built for protection. It was, however, abandoned in 1768. What you can find today at this site is a reconstructed fort built by the NPS, where you can get guided tours of the fort and learn about the history.
What’s your favorite National Monument?
Please share your comments NOW if you have opinions about preserving the National Monuments currently under review. Comments must be submitted by July 10, 2017.
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