Monday, April 28, 2014

AMERICA - It's National Park Week!

"Meet America’s newest historic landmarks" PBS NewsHour 4/27/2014

ALISON STEWART:  It’s one of those stories that comes and goes with little attention paid.

We’re talking about “National Park Week.”

It’s around this time every year that the Department of Interior designates new national historic landmarks.  There are roughly 2500 of them on the list:  buildings, properties, even objects that represent important aspects of American history.  This past week, four more were added to the list.

In Detroit, iconic murals by the legendary Mexican artist Diego Rivera, considered some of his finest work.  They’re called Detroit Industry, and cover four walls of the Detroit Institute of Arts.  The murals were commissioned to celebrate Detroit’s history of manufacturing, especially the automobile industry.

Then there’s the 44-acre farm of politician and diplomat Adlai Stevenson II, located about 35 miles north of Chicago.  A former Illinois governor and ambassador to the UN, Stevenson also ran twice for president unsuccessfully against Dwight Eisenhower.  Stevenson lived on the farm for most of his adult life.

Another new landmark, north of Philadelphia:  the home and studio complex of renowned woodworker George Nakashima.  He was a major figure in the American craft movement.  Many of his pieces featured large slabs of wood with raw edges and imperfections like cracks and knots.

And on a more somber note, the site of a 1956 plane crash in Arizona.  Two planes collided mid-air over a remote part of the Grand Canyon, killing all 128 aboard.

At the time it was the deadliest accident in commercial aviation history, and the Federal Aviation Administration was created just a few years later to increase safety.  But in a curious twist, the site’s exact location is secret, officially closed for years.  The Park Service told NewsHour that’s the policy for sensitive sites.

So unlike the other three new national landmarks – it’s unlikely the public will ever get to visit this one.

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