What do a covered bridge in Vermont, a golf course in New Jersey, and the oldest operating streetcar system in the U.S. have in common?
Along with six other sites, they've all been added to the roster of national historic landmarks as places that possess exceptional value and quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States.
“These nine sites add to a nationwide network of unique, historic places that represent the complex journey that we have taken as a nation,” said Secretary Jewell. “By designating these new national landmarks we ensure that America’s history of innovation, vision and diversity are celebrated today and for future generations.”
“From artists and architecture, to the accomplishments of explorers and entrepreneurs, these sites highlight the mosaic of our nation’s historic past,” Jarvis said. “These new national historic landmarks can educate and inspire Americans with their country’s rich history, as well as drive tourism and boost local economies.”
The nine national historic landmarks announced today include:
- Baltusrol Golf Club, Springfield, New Jersey
Founded in 1895, Baltusrol Golf Club comprises arguably the most important and influential design of leading early-20th-century golf course architect Albert W. Tillinghast (1874 – 1942), one of the first American golf architects to integrate a golf course into nature. Baltsurol has hosted at least one major national championships in every decade of the 20th and 21st centuries, including five U.S. Opens, two U.S. Women’s Opens, and one PGA championship. Baltsurol will also host the 2016 PGA championship.
- Brown Bridge, Rutland County, Vermont
Constructed in 1880, the Brown Bridge is one of the most outstanding surviving examples of a Town lattice truss, a widely popular construction method throughout the 19th century that could be erected inexpensively by local builders using machine-fabricated woodwork. Brown Bridge was erected by Nichols M. Powers, who built more than 20 substantial covered bridges throughout New England.
- Duck Creek Aqueduct, Metamora, Franklin County, Indiana
Constructed around 1846, the Duck Creek Aqueduct is an exceptional example of 19th-century covered bridge construction and is the only surviving historic covered wood aqueduct in the United States. Built as a component of the Whitewater Canal in southeastern Indiana, the bridge represents a rare surviving component of an American canal system that was a significant mode of transportation in the first half of the 19th century.
- Eagle Island (Admiral Robert E. Peary Summer Home), Harpswell, Maine
Eagle Island is the longtime residence of arctic explorer Robert E. Peary, whose multiple expeditions to the North Pole brought international recognition to the United States at the turn of the 20th century and made him one of the most admired men in America. Peary acquired Eagle Island in 1881 and built his house in 1904 on a prominent ledge facing north, towards the open sea. The rustic simplicity of the house and its island setting reflect the life and work of a man who spent 23 years exploring the North Pole and the coast of Greenland.
- General Motors Technical Center, Warren, Michigan
The General Motors Technical Center (commonly known as the “GM Tech Center”) is one of the most significant works of architect Eero Saarinen, who was among the most important modernist designers of the post-World War II period in the United States. The GM Tech Center marked Saarinen’s emergence onto the national stage and was the first of his four influential suburban corporate campuses that represented a sea change in American business facilities. The GM campus represents Saarinen’s work not just as a creator of buildings but also as the planner/designer of total environments.
- Frances Perkins Homestead, Newcastle, Maine
As Secretary of Labor from 1933-1945, Frances Perkins was the first woman to serve in a presidential cabinet. The homestead is her ancestral home and lifelong summer residence, which she owned and maintained from 1927 until her death in 1965. As Secretary of Labor from 1933-1945, Perkins was a figure of undisputed national significance and the driving force behind New Deal programs such as Social Security, unemployment insurance, and minimum wage that still provide financial security for all Americans to this day.
- Lydia Pinkham House, Lynn, Massachusetts
Lydia Pinkham was the creator and marketer of Lydia Pinkhams’ Vegetable Compound, one of the most widely-marketed patent medicines of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and one of the most well-known businesswomen of her era. The Pinkham Vegetable Compound served, in part, as an impetus for reform of the manufacture and sale of medications as it was routinely cited in the many exposés detailing the excesses and dangers of patent medicines. The 1906 Food and Drug Act, which was passed in the wake of these exposés, resulted in one of the most dramatic shifts in terms of patient expectations and treatment of illnesses during the 19th and 20th centuries.
- The Research Studio (Maitland Art Center), Maitland, Florida
Founded in 1937 as an artist colony by architect and artist J. Andre Smith, The Research Studio is a nationally significant example of Art Deco-Mayan Revival architecture and decoration and is one of the most distinctively rendered sites of this style in the United States. More than 200 reliefs, carvings, and sculptures—incorporating hundreds of separate pieces—are integrated into the artists’ campus and surrounding tropical landscape. Smith’s architectural and decorative interpretations of Mayan culture are an exceptional example of Art Deco fantasy and Mayan Revival art and architecture in the United States.
- The St. Charles Line, New Orleans, Louisiana
The St. Charles Line is the nation’s oldest operational street railway, a transportation method that at its peak carried nearly 16 billion passengers nationwide each year, and is the only streetcar system dating from that period to remain in operation. The St. Charles Line is also significant for its 35 arch-roofed, steel-bodied Perley Thomas streetcars, which represent an evolution in the engineering of street railway technology. The cars have continuously operated on the line’s tracks since 1923-24. Of the tens of thousands originally manufactured, the St. Charles Line’s cars are the only conventional streetcars to have remained in operation within their original system.
The National Historic Landmarks Program was established in 1935. The National Park Service on behalf of the Secretary of the Interior. The agency works with preservation officials, private property owners, and other partners interested in nominating properties for National Historic Landmark designation. Completed nominations are reviewed by the National Park System Advisory Board, which makes recommendations for designation to the Secretary of the Interior.
If selected, property ownership remains the same but each site receives a designation letter, and is eligible for technical preservation advice. The National Historic Landmarks Program is one of more than a dozen programs administered by the National Park Service that provide states and local communities technical assistance, recognition, and funding to help preserve our nation’s shared history and create close-to-home recreation opportunities.