Archive for December 2011
Thank you for using the Antiquities Act to proclaim a new national monument at Fort Monroe in Hampton, Virginia! As you know, the Antiquities Act has been used to create monuments at Muir Woods, the Grand Canyon, and the Statute of Liberty. The rich history and natural beauty of Fort Monroe make it a worthy addition to the National Park System.
As an archaeology technician, I’ve traveled to work in a number of our National Historic Parks, i.e., Allegheny Portage Railroad, Hopewell Village Foundry, Fort McHenry National Shrine, Klondike Historic Park, Skagway, Alaska and the William Floyd Manor, a signer of the Declaration of Independence on Long Island where I grew up. I am glad that we have these resources and would encourage further funding for archeology and interpretation. I also work on other sites, and realize the broken laws outlawing slavery up to and during the US Civil War another part of our history that needs further research.
Because of you, Fort Monroe will be preserved for everyone. Citizens will learn how Fort Monroe initiated the decline of the institution of slavery. They will read about the imprisonment of Jefferson Davis, the nursing of the sick by Harriet Tubman, and the lives of other historical figures who spent time at Fort Monroe. Families will walk along its beautiful beaches and bird watchers will enjoy the view.
The Antiquities Act is a critical tool that can be used to ensure that special places like Fort Monroe are honored and protected for all time. I thank you for this wonderful new monument and ask that you look for other opportunities to use the Antiquities Act to protect other special parts of America.
May you and family have a wonderful holiday and as they say, good luck in the new year.
– National Parks Conservation Association Thank you letter
In the article published Sunday 12/18/2011 City history, locked away: The short, unhappy life of New York Unearthed – (New York Daily News) a small museum is described which I once had a small part in at another archaeology firm which also once had an office and worked in NYC archaeology. I drew up a map as I did on other projects, of the changing outline of the island of Manhattan, the “island of hills” that has become flatter due to war, economics and planning. I had at the outset some doubt about the rest of the small museum as it involved other consultants who was working on a use of an elevator as an exhibit place for slides of the past.
I finally did visit the museum at the time working in the transfer of Governors Island to the City of New York, initially offered by then President Clinton for a symbolic payment of $1 if a good use for the facilities could be found. I was working a short week for a consultant to another archaeology firm and a backhoe for a few test trench to further explore questions in the geology and archaeology of the island’s landform. At one time it was discussed that the collections cited in this wonderfully complete article could be stored and exhibited on Governors Island, but alas, some members in Congress wanted $1/2 billion for it and various city agencies have yet to decide its plans, while apparently one would hope its upkeep is not languishing, built as it were from manufacturing no longer operating in the City.
Having therefore beat around the “nutting island” I would like to offer this: the museum was not handicap accessible from what I saw. There was a staircase down to its exhibits and the elevator as another feature instead of its intended use. My “guestimate” therefore is that I would not be surprised that like some of the “deals” made nearby for the World Trade Center, it was not up to code. Given the small space however, one could not have the elevator opening into it, the traffic would not “work”. One would hope someday, given the return of passenger cruise ships perhaps that a space could be finally created on Governors Island or in the historic Seaport district.
The article fails to mention that, way back then, 44 Presidents ago, the President and Vice President could be from different parties and the Constitution amended created, along with the Electoral College, which actually elects the President, the single party rule of the Executive branch. Some states have since changed their "all for one" party candidate Electoral College votes to a more equal distribution of those important votes, as states have rights to. Choose the multiple choice answer for who elects the President "the people" and you’ll get that question wrong on a prior US citizen test. Let’s not forget that Mr. Nader is the oldest candidate to ever seek that office.
New York Times 12/13/2011 “Campaign Stops”
Makes it legal for the former Commandant of West Point Military Academy, Robert E. Lee, to capture and hold John Brown and his outfit for trial I guess. Maybe it wasn’t then. After all Harper’s Ferry was where the Federally authorized arsenal, by President George Washington, was making hundreds of those fancy new percussion cap Harper’s Ferry rifles and he was there, which was reason enough for some to start shooting. Later the arsenal burned and today is covered in the numerous flood sediments of the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers, Harper’s Ferry is where they join. On this day, 220 years ago, in 1791, the US passed the "Bill of Rights" and as long as militias are guaranteed the right to bear arms, we might actually need such an Executive law someday again?
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost
…because sometimes archaeologists are the last to know. He had a house, gardens and warehouse in New Amsterdam (New York City). An ambassador (“The Czech” Augustine Heerman, to the Dutch) he is sometimes attributed the introduction of tobacco to the Dutch. His warehouse location, reputedly between Bridge, and Pearl, Whitehall and Broad streets, was excavated in the 1980s prior to a large building going up.
This may well be the Buttermilk Falls that had exclusive rights to grind wheat into flour, represented by wooden barrels on the official seal of New York. Ground wheat from the Hudson River valley, baked in the city into “hardtack” was known around the world aboard ships. New York flour helped relieve famine in Europe, i.e. Italy and elsewhere, in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. Just below it was one of the proposed locations of a “Great Chain” to stop the large British Navy ships of the line from a “divide and conquer” of the colonies, north and south.
– graphics from a family genealogy blog on-line, info from “The Marine Society of the City of New York 1770-1995 A Concise History”, by Gerald Barry, 1995.