Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine, Florida

Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine, Florida

Florida boasts unique history.  And Saint Augustine’s Castillo de San Marcos reflects much of the originally Spanish colony’s uniqueness.  It is the oldest masonry fort in the continental United States.  It has witnessed centuries of political and cultural conflict.  And it was built with a rare seashell-limestone that can alternately absorb and deflect cannonballs. Founded…

Old Fort Niagara — honoring 3 centuries of history in Youngstown, New York

Old Fort Niagara — honoring 3 centuries of history in Youngstown, New York

Four months after the War of 1812 began, British troops at Fort George, located on the west bank of the Niagara River, opened cannon fire on U.S.-held Fort Niagara, on the east bank in New York. The Americans fired back with hot-shot–cannonballs heated until they glowed red, intended to set fire to the British buildings. …

Joseph Smith Family Farm in upstate New York

Joseph Smith Family Farm in upstate New York

The Second Great Awakening was a religious revival movement that swept through parts of the American frontier region in the early 19th century. Against this backdrop, Joseph Smith, Sr., moved his wife Lucy and their nine surviving children from Vermont to western New York in 1816.  Joseph was born in Massachusetts and had tried a…

Fort Ontario State Historic Site — unique history in picturesque Oswego, New York

Fort Ontario State Historic Site — unique history in picturesque Oswego, New York

The fourth Fort Ontario in Oswego, New York, sits at a spectacular spot on the shore of the Great Lake that shares its name. Today visitors can explore life at the Fort as it was in 1868, when it was home to Company F, 42nd Infantry, of the U.S. Army. In the mess room at…

Saratoga National Historical Park — exploring Revolutionary history in New York

Saratoga National Historical Park — exploring Revolutionary history in New York

You don’t often see monuments to Benedict Arnold. But Saratoga National Historical Park is one place where such a thing makes sense. The Battle (or Battles) of Saratoga in 1777 comprised two primary confrontations:  the (First) Battle of Freeman’s Farm on September 19 and the Battle of Bemis Heights (also known as the Second Battle…

Magnolia Plantation & Gardens in South Carolina

Magnolia Plantation & Gardens in South Carolina

Magnolia Plantation in South Carolina boasts the last intact large-scale romantic gardens in the United States. This post contains affiliate links.  For more information, click here. But Magnolia’s history and her gardens go back a century before there was a United States, when Ann and Thomas Drayton established the rice plantation in 1676 along the Ashley…

Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon in Charleston

Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon in Charleston

The Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon is a quirky museum in Charleston, South Carolina, and a backdrop to some of the defining events in American history.  It ranks near Boston’s Faneuil Hall and Philadelphia’s Independence Hall among the most significant still-standing buildings from the Revolutionary era. Finished in 1771, the two-storey, Palladian-style, stone Exchange and…