Historic site or Heritage site is an official location where pieces of political, military, cultural, or social history have been preserved due to their cultural heritage value. Historic sites are usually protected by law, and many have been recognized with the official national historic site status. A historic site may be any building, landscape, site or structure that is of local, regional, or national significance.
Historic sites and heritage sites are often maintained for members of the public to be able to visit. Visitors may come out of a sense of nostalgia for bygone eras, out of wishing to learn about their cultural heritage, or general interest in learning about the historical context of the site. Many sites offer guided tours for visitors, conducted by site staff who have been trained to offer an interpretation of life at the time the site represents. A site may also have a visitor center with more modern architecture and facilities, which serves as a gateway between the outside world and the historic site, and allows visitors to learn some of the historical aspects of the site without excessively exposing locations that may require delicate treatment.
The Banff Park Museum National Historic Site, located in downtown Banff, Alberta, is an exhibition space associated with Banff National Park. The museum was established in 1895 to house an exhibit of taxidermy mounted specimens of animals, plants and minerals associated with the park. The museum building, constructed in 1903 to the design of territorial government engineer John Stocks, is an early example of the rustic style of architecture that was becoming popular in the parks of North America.
In 1896 Norman Bethune Sanson was hired as the museum curator. Serving until 1932, Sanson was responsible for expanding the collection from eight mammals, 259 birds, a turtle and a variety of mineral and botanical specimens to the present collection of 5000 specimens. The building, described as a "railway pagoda", uses exposed log framing and rustic detailing. It is the oldest building maintained by Parks Canada. The museum was declared a National Historic Site of Canada in 1985 and was classified as historic structure the following year.From 1905 to 1937 a small zoo operated on the grounds to the rear of the museum, featuring a small collection of animals, many of which were exotic or non-native. At its peak in 1914 there were 36 birds in an aviary and 50 mammals. The zoo declined in the 1930s, was closed in 1937, and was demolished in 1939. Forty-six animals were donated to the Calgary Zoo at the Banff Zoo's closing, including wolves, lynx, and black, cinnamon and polar bears.Cave and Basin National Historic Site
The Cave and Basin National Historic Site of Canada is located in the town of Banff, Alberta, within the Canadian Rocky Mountains, at the site of natural thermal mineral springs around which Canada's first national park, Banff National Park, was established.Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site
The Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site is a preserved home once rented by American author Edgar Allan Poe, located at 532 N. 7th Street, in the Spring Garden neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Though Poe lived in many houses over several years in Philadelphia (1837 to 1844), it is the only one which still survives. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1962.First Oil Well in Western Canada
The First Oil Well in Western Canada National Historic Site of Canada commemorates the 1902 oil strike in what is now Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta. Drilled in 1902, the well was the first productive oil well in the western Canadian provinces.
The well was drilled by John Lineham, whose Rocky Mountain Development Company had a mineral claim on the land along Oil Creek (now Cameron Creek), a region of natural oil seeps. The area had been drilled unsuccessfully for oil in the early 1890s, without results. Lineham's well was drilled by a wood "Canadian Pole" rig powered by a 35 hp steam engine. The Lineham Discovery Well #1 struck oil at 311 metres (1,020 ft), producing saleable quantities of oil at the rate of 300 barrels per day (48 m3/d). However, the well casing quickly failed, and the bore became jammed with debris and drilling tools. It was cleared in 1904, and a pump was installed. Drill tools again jammed the well and the well was abandoned. The tools remain visible in the bore. Total production was about 8,000 barrels (1,300 m3) of oil.Production had dwindled before the well was blocked. Further explorations in the area yielded nothing useful, but general exploration in more northerly portions of Alberta yielded the Turner Valley field in 1914. The Oil Creek strike is believed to be the result of oil seepage along fault planes in the Lewis Overthrust, in which oil originating in younger Cretaceous rock has moved upwards through older Pre-Cambrian rock that has been forced over the oil-bearing layers. More oil in the Waterton area was eventually discovered at the Pincher Creek oil field in 1948.A small monument, depicting a stylized drill rig, was placed over the well in 1968. The site was designated a site of national significance in 1965.Ford's Theatre
Ford's Theatre is a theater located in Washington, D.C., which opened in August 1863. It is famous for being the site of the assassination of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln on April 14, 1865. After being shot, the fatally wounded 56-year old president was carried across the street to the Petersen House, where he died the next morning.
The theater was later used as a warehouse and office building, and in 1893 part of it collapsed, causing 22 deaths. It was renovated and re-opened as a theater in 1968. During the 2000s, it was renovated again, opening on February 12, 2009, in commemoration of the bicentennial of Lincoln's birth. A related Center for Education and Leadership museum experience opened February 12, 2012 next to Petersen House.
The Petersen House and the theater are preserved together as Ford's Theatre National Historic Site, administered by the National Park Service; programming within the theater and the Center for Education is overseen separately by the Ford's Theatre Society.Fort Langley National Historic Site
Fort Langley National Historic Site, commonly shortened to Fort Langley, is a former trading post of the Hudson's Bay Company, now located in the community of Fort Langley opposite McMillan Island. Commonly referred to as "the birthplace of British Columbia", it is designated a National Historic Site and is administered by Parks Canada.Gitwangak Battle Hill National Historic Site
Gitwangak Battle Hill National Historic Site, formerly known as Kitwanga Fort National Historic Site is a National Historic Site of Canada located at Kitwanga, British Columbia in the Skeena Country of Northwestern British Columbia, Canada. The reserve now called 'Gitwangax'. This is to distinguish it from the adjacent lumber milling town, Kitwanga. 'Battle Hill' was an 18th-century earthwork fortress, located in Kitwanga. The site includes a trail with interpretive signs. The park was developed by George Macdonald, whose archaeological study was of the site, and who was the Director of the National Museum of Civilization until the opening of its current building.
The nearby Gitwangax Village features several wooden totem poles that were originally erected by several 'clans' ('Wilp' in the Gitksan language; 'house' in contemporary use) along the shore of, and facing the Skeena River. After the flood of ca. 1934, they were moved to higher ground, but (in contrast to traditional practice) to face the village.Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site
The Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site preserves the Springwood estate in Hyde Park, New York. Springwood was the birthplace, lifelong home, and burial place of the 32nd President of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt. The National Historic Site was established in 1945.Jasper Park Information Centre
The Jasper Park Information Centre National Historic Site, located in Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada, is the primary visitor contact centre for visitors to the park. Sited in the Jasper townsite, it was built as the park administration building in 1913-1914, and became the visitor contact centre in 1972. It is located in Athabasca Park, which is not included in the National Historic Site designation.
The Information Centre was one of the first rustic style buildings to be built in a Canadian national park. Conceived by park superintendent Lt. Colonel Maynard Rogers and designed by Edmonton architect A.M. Calderon, it incorporates local materials and construction techniques. The design is unique. No two windows or doors are the same, and the different peaks of the roof were meant to remind a visitor of the surrounding mountains.
As built, it was a multi-purpose building. The ground floor was the park superintendent's residence and the park's administrative office. Upstairs, there was a library, a small museum and a drafting room. The basement included a fish hatchery. The building served as a landmark for arriving train passengers on the Canadian National railway line that runs through the park. The administration building was the prototype for future construction in the Jasper townsite, and influenced building designs throughout the Canadian park system.In 1936 a separate residence was built for the superintendent. The fish hatchery moved out in 1941 to a site near the confluence Athabasca and Maligne rivers. The first park information centre was built in 1949 near the Canadian National line in front of the main building. In 1972 the information centre moved into the old headquarters. In 1988, the Jasper Park Information Centre was designated a Classified Federal Heritage Building and in 1992 it was designated a National Historic Site of Canada. The upper floor is used as office space.Lincoln Home National Historic Site
Lincoln Home National Historic Site preserves the Springfield, Illinois home and a historic district where Abraham Lincoln lived from 1844 to 1861, before becoming the 16th President of the United States. The presidential memorial includes the four blocks surrounding the home and a visitor center.List of areas in the United States National Park System
The National Park System of the United States is the collection of physical properties owned or administered by the National Park Service. The collection includes all national parks and most national monuments, as well as several other types of protected areas of the United States.
As of March 2019, there are 421 units of the National Park System. However, this number is somewhat misleading. For example, Denali National Park and Preserve is counted as two units, since the same name applies to a national park and an adjacent national preserve. Yet Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve is counted as one unit, despite its double designation. Counting methodology is rooted in the language of a park's enabling legislation.
In addition to areas of the National Park System, the National Park Service also provides technical and financial assistance to several affiliated areas authorized by Congress. Affiliated areas are marked on the lists below.
The National Register of Historic Places (NRHP), which contains nearly 79,000 entries, is administered by the National Park Service. All historically significant park units are automatically included on the NRHP—i.e., all national historical parks and historic sites, national battlefields and military parks, and national memorials, as well as some national monuments.
National Park System units are found in all 50 states, in Washington, D.C., and in the U.S. territories of Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.
Nearly all units managed by the National Park Service participate in the National Park Passport Stamps program.Manzanar
Manzanar is most widely known as the site of one of ten American concentration camps where over 110,000 Japanese Americans were incarcerated during World War II from December 1942 to 1945. Located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada in California's Owens Valley between the towns of Lone Pine to the south and Independence to the north, it is approximately 230 miles (370 km) north of Los Angeles. Manzanar (which means "apple orchard" in Spanish) was identified by the United States National Park Service as the best-preserved of the former camp sites, and is now the Manzanar National Historic Site, which preserves and interprets the legacy of Japanese American incarceration in the United States.Long before the first incarcerees arrived in March 1942, Manzanar was home to Native Americans, who lived mostly in villages near several creeks in the area. Ranchers and miners formally established the town of Manzanar in 1910, but abandoned the town by 1929 after the City of Los Angeles purchased the water rights to virtually the entire area. As different as these groups were, their histories displayed a common thread of forced relocation.
Since the last incarcerees left in 1945, former incarcerees and others have worked to protect Manzanar and to establish it as a National Historic Site to ensure that the history of the site, along with the stories of those who were unjustly incarcerated there, are remembered by current and future generations. The primary focus is the Japanese American incarceration era, as specified in the legislation that created the Manzanar National Historic Site. The site also interprets the former town of Manzanar, the ranch days, the settlement by the Owens Valley Paiute, and the role that water played in shaping the history of the Owens Valley.Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park
The Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park consists of several buildings in Atlanta, Georgia, including Martin Luther King Jr.'s boyhood home and the original Ebenezer Baptist Church, the church where King was baptized and both his father Martin Luther King Sr. and he were pastors. These places, critical to the interpretation of the life of Martin Luther King Jr. and his legacy as a leader of the American Civil Rights Movement, were included in the park when it was established on October 10, 1980. Formerly a National Historic Site, the unit was redesignated as a National Historical Park on January 8, 2018 by U.S. President Donald Trump.In total, the buildings included in the site make up 35 acres (0.14 km²). The visitor center contains a museum that chronicles the American Civil Rights Movement and the path of Martin Luther King Jr. An 1894 firehouse (Fire Station No. 6) served the Sweet Auburn community until 1991, and now contains a gift shop and an exhibit on desegregation in the Atlanta Fire Department. The "I Have a Dream" International World Peace Rose Garden, and a memorial tribute to Mohandas K. Gandhi are part of the site, as is the "International Civil Rights Walk of Fame" which commemorates some of the courageous pioneers who worked for social justice.
Annual events celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day in January typically draw large crowds. Speakers have included Presidents of the United States, national and local politicians, and civil rights leaders. Remembrances are also held during Black History Month (February), and on the anniversary of King's April 4, 1968, assassination in Memphis, Tennessee.Michigan State Historic Preservation Office
The Michigan State Historic Preservation Office is one of 59 state historic preservation offices established according to the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 that plays a role in implementing federal historic preservation policy in the United States. The purposes of a SHPO include surveying and recognizing historic properties, reviewing nominations for properties to be included in the National Register of Historic Places, reviewing federal and state undertakings for their impact on historic resources, and supporting federal organizations, state and local governments, and private sector in historic preservation matters.The organization was formerly involved in the listing of state historic sites and operating the state's historical marker program; that function is now performed by the Michigan History Center and Eastern Michigan University.National Historic Site (United States)
National Historic Site (NHS) is a designation for an officially recognized area of national historic significance in the United States. An NHS usually contains a single historical feature directly associated with its subject. A related but separate designation, the National Historical Park (NHP), is an area that generally extends beyond single properties or buildings, and its resources include a mix of historic and sometimes significant natural features.
As of 2018, there are 52 NHPs and 89 NHSs. Most NHPs and NHSs are managed by the National Park Service (NPS). Some federally designated sites are owned by local authorities or privately owned, but are authorized to request assistance from the NPS as affiliated areas. One property, Grey Towers National Historic Site, is managed by the U.S. Forest Service.As of October 15, 1966, all historic areas, including NHPs and NHSs, in the NPS are automatically listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). There are also about 90,000 NRHP sites, the large majority of which are neither owned nor managed by the NPS. Of these, about 2,500 have been designated at the highest status as National Historic Landmark (NHL) sites.National Historic Sites of Canada
National Historic Sites of Canada (French: Lieux historiques nationaux du Canada) are places that have been designated by the federal Minister of the Environment on the advice of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada (HSMBC), as being of national historic significance. Parks Canada, a federal agency, manages the National Historic Sites program. As of October 2018, there are 987 National Historic Sites, 171 of which are administered by Parks Canada; the remainder are administered or owned by other levels of government or private entities. The sites are located across all ten provinces and three territories, with two sites located in France (the Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial and Canadian National Vimy Memorial).There are related federal designations for National Historic Events and National Historic Persons. Sites, Events and Persons are each typically marked by a federal plaque of the same style, but the markers do not indicate which designation a subject has been given. The Rideau Canal is a National Historic Site, while the Welland Canal is a National Historic Event.San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site
The San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site includes the location of the Battle of San Jacinto and the museum ship USS Texas. It is located off the Houston Ship Channel in unincorporated Harris County, Texas near the city of Houston. The site was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1960.A prominent feature of the park is the San Jacinto Monument. Visitors can take an elevator to the monument's observation deck for a view of Houston, the Houston Ship Channel and USS Texas.Skoki Ski Lodge
The Skoki Ski Lodge National Historic Site of Canada was built in 1930-31 in the Skoki Valley of Canada's Banff National Park. Built by local members of the Ski Club of the Canadian Rockies, the lodge was the first commercial building built specifically to serve skiers in Canada, and possibly in North America. Design and construction work was carried out by local outfitter and builder Earl Spencer with help from Spud White and Victor Kutschera. The lodge was progressively expanded through 1936 by outfitter, guide and log home builder Jim Boyce who was also managing the Lodge the time. It has remained unaltered since that time. The Lodge operates throughout the year.The Skoki Ski Lodge is 6.8 miles (10.9 km) from the nearest road. The lodge was conceived by Clifford Whyte and Cyril Paris. The first version of the lodge was a single story log building, 25 feet (7.6 m) by 16 feet (4.9 m). A resting shelter, the Halfway Hut, was built the following year halfway between Skoki and the Lake Louise railway station. A kitchen and two cabins were also built that year. Management was taken over by Clifford Whyte's younger brother Peter and his wife Catharine of whom the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies is named. After the 1932 season, when a guest was killed in an avalanche, Jim Boyce took over management and continued to operate the camp through the 1930s. A major expansion took place in 1935-36. The upper story rooms were added at this time, as well as a bathhouse and more cabins. In 1972 the lease passed from the Ski Club to Locke's Resorts of the Canadian Rockies. The camp was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1992.The first non-native to explore the Skoki Valley was James Foster Porter of Illinois in 1911. Porter and his companions suggested many names for the beautiful place, including the "Skokie Valley" which was later revised to Skoki. Skoki, the new spelling, is a Native word for "swamp" which does not actually reflect the valley. Porter was so impressed with the name that a suburb in Chicago near his home was later renamed Skokie. The lodge was designated as a National Historic Site of Canada in 1992 for its contribution to early tourism in the national parks and as an example of the rustic designs style.During the 2011 royal tour of Canada, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge stayed at the lodge.Sulphur Mountain Cosmic Ray Station
Sulphur Mountain Cosmic Ray Station, a National Historic Site of Canada found atop Sulphur Mountain in Banff National Park, commemorates Canada's participation in the International Geophysical Year, during 1957 to 1958. Canada constructed nine sites to study cosmic rays, but this site in particular was the most important due to its higher elevation. The National Research Council constructed a laboratory at the site in the winter of 1956-57. The building was not visible from the Banff townsite as a condition of its construction.The station was run by Dr. B. G. Wilson with the help of two assistants and was equipped with a standard IGY neutron monitor. The national research council maintained its operation until 1960 when the University of Calgary took over its operations and Dr. Wilson found a permanent position there. An improved NM64 neutron monitor was installed in 1963 but the IGY monitor continued to operate until 1972. The station ceased operations in 1978 and the building was dismantled in 1981. In 1982 it was designated as a National Historic Site. A plaque now marks the spot of the station's location.