The Steamboat Bertrand was bound for Montana gold mining territory when it sank in the Missouri River in 1865. All the passengers survived. A little more than 100 years later, the Bertrand was discovered and excavated. Watch a video “Sunken Treasure: The Steamboat Bertrand” here.
Peter Whaley and his wife, Hannah, moved to the Bitterroot Valley of western Montana in 1877. By 1885, they had completed a two-story house of square-hewn logs. The house still stands at Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge as a lasting example of craftsmanship of the late 19th century. Two of Whaley’s children enlarged the farm to 400 acres. The Whaley family raised livestock and operated a meat market, hotel and sawmill. Get the full story here.
In 1805 and 1806, explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark visited Cathlapotle, one of the largest Chinook villages along the Columbia River in Washington state. They saw plankhouses that served as people’s homes. A replica is now part of Ridgefield Refuge, where refuge staff and Friends of Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge use it for frequent educational and cultural activities. More here.
The 3rd Infantry of California Volunteers built Fort Ruby in Nevada in 1862 to protect the Overland Stage and Pony Express routes. The fort included officers’ houses, hospital, barracks, a blacksmith shop, a brig and a stable. Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge acquired a ranch on the site in 2002. Volunteers helped uncover foundations and artifacts. The Fort Ruby Interpretive Trail opened in 2015. Here's the timeline.
Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge is the largest remnant of a million-acre swamp that once covered southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina. For 200 years, the swamp was home to maroons, escaped slaves whose story is told in the refuge’s Underground Railroad Education Pavilion, in this brochure and in the new National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC.
When the lifesaving station was built on Plum Island in 1896, such facilities were common on the Great Lakes. Today, this may be the only one left. Little wonder then that a group of people formed the Friends of Plum and Pilot Islands in 2007 to help restore, preserve and manage the islands’ historic and cultural resources. A year later, Plum and Pilot Islands were added to Green Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin.
In late 19th and early 20th century Nevada, Jack Longstreet settled “arguments with a gun and championed those who could not protect themselves.” In 1896 he built his cabin into the side of a mound, giving him private access to an underground spring and food storage area. The stone cabin was restored and opened to the public in 2005. Take a video walk along the boardwalk from the Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge visitor center to the cabin, which is now open to the public for interpretive programs.
At the height of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), 64 CCC camps employed 13,000 men in Arkansas – some of them at Dale Bumpers White River National Wildlife Refuge, which had just been established in 1935. The refuge housed the nation’s only floating quarter boats as living quarters for CCC crews. Several CCC-era buildings still stand at the refuge.
The Battle of Attu, fought in 1943 on land that is now part of Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, was the only World War II land battle fought in what are now the United States. This B24D Liberator bomber played a significant role in the battle before the plane crash-landed on Atka where it remains in federally designated wilderness. The Aleutian islands of Attu, Kiska and Atka are now part of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, established in 2008. The 70th anniversary of the Battle of Attu was commemorated in 2013.