The War Between the States is over, and rebuilding has begun. Along with a nation rebuilding, we had a nation inventing. See the treasures of the Gilded Age and the inventions of the Industrial Revolution:
56. Meramec Caverns – Stanton, Missouri – Originally used by Osage Indians as a refuge from extreme weather, the caverns were introduced to French explorer Philipp Renault in 1720. He had been lured by claims of veins of glittering yellow metal along the walls, and was surprised to find the cave was a source of saltpeter, not gold. Saltpeter, or potassium nitrate, was a key ingredient for manufacturing gun powder, and the caves were eventually mined during the Civil War by the Union army. In the 1940s, evidence was found in the cave that suggested Jesse James once used it for a hideout. Today, the area surrounding Meramec Caverns is an attraction with zip lining, riverboat rides, canoeing, and lantern tours of the caverns.
57. Cape Hatteras National Seashore – Hatteras, North Carolina – This seashore park houses the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse(Built in 1870), the tallest lighthouse in the United States and stands at the farthest protruding southeast point of the Atlantic coast. The waters off of Hatteras are known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic due to the number of ships lost at sea along this coast. Today, you can camp along the shore, hike, climb the lighthouse, and enjoy the NC Outer Bank Islands.
58. Dodge City, Kansas – Named after the nearby Fort Dodge, Dodge City is known for its history as a wild frontier town. The first settlement in the area was Fort Mann, built in 1847. The fort collapsed the next year, and several forts were established but didn’t do well until after the Civil War. The town began in 1871 when a local rancher built a sod house west of Fort Dodge and it quickly became a stopping point for travelers. When the railroad arrived, the town was ready for business. You can see the style and history of the city and visits sites such as Fort Dodge, Fort Larned, and Fort Hays.
59. Yellowstone National Park – Straddling the borders of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho – The first US National Park, and widely held to be the first national park in the world, Yellowstone is know for its wildlife and its many geothermal features. The home of many Native Americans through history, the park was signed into law on March 1, 1872. The park is now a recreation and nature location, and camping, hiking, biking, and more can be enjoyed in the park.
60. The Statue of Liberty – Liberty Island, Manhattan, New York – A gift to the United States from the people of France, the statue was dedicated on October 28, 1886. The statue is an icon of freedom and was a welcoming sight to immigrants arriving to New York Harbor. Today, you can visit the statue and climb to the top to look out of the windows in the crown. Check the park website for more info, as you will need tickets to ascend the statue. While you are in New York, you can also visit Ellis Island, America’s largest and most active immigration station from 1892 to 1924, and Gateway National Recreation Area where you can see several historic aspects of the New York Harbor area, including the Sandy Hook Lighthouse – America’s oldest operating lighthouse.
61. Maymont, An American Estate – Richmond, Virginia – An example of the Gilded Age luxury and opulence, the 100-acre Victorian country estate is a day trip all on its own. Maymont’s current grounds include the mansion, several gardens, a Children’s Farm and wildlife exhibits, a carriage house, and a nature and visitor center.
62. George Washington Carver National Monument – Diamond, Missouri – The boyhood home of scientist George Washington Carver hosts activities related to Carver’s work and interests. The park has a visitor center, trails, and an area that shows his home.
63. 1000 Islands – On the US/Canada border at the northeast corner of Lake Ontario – In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the area was a summer resort for many wealthy residents of New York and the surrounding estates. Some of the masonry “castles” still remain. Many of the islands can still be visited and the area makes for a beautiful summer trip.
64. Biltmore Estate – Asheville, North Carolina – The largest privately owned house in the US, the Biltmore House was built between 1889 and 1895. It is one of the most prominent examples of the Gilded Age, and was built as the summer estate of George Washington Vanderbilt. The home’s design was modeled after several French castles. The grounds of the estate include many gardens, a vineyard, a winery, a lodge, and some shops. Outside the gates of the estate is “The Most Beautiful McDonald’s in the World” and many other little shops in Biltmore Village. Biltmore is also only about 30 miles from Chimney Rock and Lake Lure, North Carolina.
65. Laura Ingalls Wilder Home – Mansfield, Missouri – The last home of the iconic author was named Rocky Ridge Farm and is located in the south of Missouri. You can tour the home she shared with her husband Almanzo, and the location where she wrote the books at the age of 65. There is also a museum and bookstore on site.
66. Thomas Edison National Historical Park – West Orange, New Jersey – The home and laboratory of America’s greatest inventor. Visit the laboratory complex, the estate of Glenmont, and the museum at Menlo Park. If you are in Florida, you can learn more about Thomas Edison by visiting his (and Henry Ford’s) winter homes in Fort Myers.
67. Wright Brothers National Memorial – Kitty Hawk, North Carolina – on December 17, 1903 the Wright Brothers achieved the first successful airplane flights after four years of scientific experimentation. Today, you can visit the site of the first flights, and visit the Visitor’s Center to see a reproduction of the 1903 flyer.
68. The Henry Ford – Dearborn, Michigan – Born out of Henry Ford’s desire to preserve the items of the Industrial Revolution, the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village is an indoor and outdoor history museum complex and National Historic Landmark. The complex contains everything from the presidential limousine of John F Kennedy and the Rosa Parks bus, to a Stradivarius violin and President Lincoln’s rocking chair from Ford’s Theatre.
69. Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary – Alcatraz Island, San Francisco Bay, California – The main prison was built on the island in the middle of San Francisco Bay in the 1910-1912 to serve as a US Army prison. There had been a citadel on the site cince the 1860s. The prison was acquired by the US Department of Justice in 1933, and became a top notch security prison to hold prisoners that routinely caused problems at other prisons. It remained in operation until March of 1963 when it closed due to high maintenance costs and poor public perception. Today it is a historical tourist attraction.
70. Taliesin – Spring Green, Wisconsin – Built in 1911, Taliesin was the home and estate of Architect Frank Lloyd Wright. It is now part of a non profit organization to preserve the home, and operates mostly as a museum.
71. Wrigley Field – Chicago, Illinois and Fenway Park – Boston, Massachusetts – The love of baseball, America’s Favorite Sport, is seen in these two iconic stadiums. Fenway opened in September 1922, and Wrigley opened in April 1914. You can visit both to take in a game, or you can learn more about the history of baseball at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
72. The Greenbrier – White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia – The hotel, built in 1911, took advantage of the popularity of the nearby sulphur springs to become a popular destination for many of the elite of society. While rich in history, the most interesting feature was the bunker system built deep under the hotel to serve as a secret emergency relocation center for Congress in the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust. The bunkers are now open for tours, along with the hotel.
73. Navy Pier – Chicago, Illinois – Opened to the public in 1916, the pier was originally a dock for freights, passenger traffic, and recreation. It was renamed Navy Pier in 1927 to honor the naval veterans of the first world war. Later, it was used during the second world war as a training center for the navy. The pier was restored in the late 90s and is in use today for events, shops, tourist attractions, and boat tours.
As the Industrial Revolution reached its peak, unrest broke out around the world. The early decades of the twentieth century were full of wars abroad, a Great Depression at home, but also some amazing advances in architecture and sciences:
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