That’s what they told us at Edgar Allan Poe’s house: One Park per person, unless you are Lincoln or Roosevelt.
Many National Park sites are established to remember the contributions of an individual. Some are well known. Some have a memorial in their honor. Some are hardly known at all, and the site helps to teach us about an important piece of our history or our culture. (see the post about memorials here).
Maggie L Walker is believed to be the first female African American Bank President. She should be remembered for much more than that. The bank was started as one of her projects for economic empowerment in her community. She also became the national leader of the Independent Order of St. Luke, and strengthened and grew this benevolent society. She also started a newspaper to help economic opportunity in her community. Later, she was paralyzed and created her own wheel chair and modified her car so she could continue to get around. Her philosophy can be summed up as “there is no reason why any man, woman, or child should stand by idly waiting with folded arms, saying ‘there is nothing more I can do.’ With education, determination and hard work, you can do anything.”
Charles Pinckney was at the other end of the economic spectrum. He was a prominent Charleston lawyer and plantation owner. His life of public service led him to the Constitutional Convention in 1787. He was a signer of the Constitution as a South Carolina delegate. But more than that, he prepared an early draft constitution that presented more than 30 provisions that were included in the final version, including a single chief executive known as president, and a Congress composed of a Senate and a House of Representatives. The historic site also presents information about the life of the slaves that helped the cotton industry thrive in the South. This will be discussed in another post.
Edgar Allan Poe lived in five houses during his six years in Philadelphia. This is the only one that survived. He also lived in Baltimore, MD, Boston, MA, Richmond, VA, and New York. Poe’s most successful years and the period of his most famous publications is the time that he lived in Philadelphia. Since there is no information about how the house was furnished when Poe lived there, the rooms are empty, presenting a strange, stark image. This site is more of a monument to Poe than a view of into his life and times. The site itself serves as the tangible link with Poe.
One more thing about the title to this blog – it’s not really true. First of all, the exception applies to both Roosevelts. FDR has his home in NY and a memorial in Washington. Teddy has a whole bunch of sites. The Wright brothers have two sites – in Kitty Hawk and Ohio – but there are two of them, so it still averages one per person. I wrote about Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller NHS in Vermont, and John D Rockefeller has a Memorial Parkway in Wyoming, so that is 1 1/3 for him. I also visited two sites in California that honor John Muir.
For the question of the week, can you think of two others that have a memorial in Washington plus another site? I’d give you their initials, but that would give it away.
Maggie L Walker NHS was site 75. Charles Pinckney NHS was site 82. Both of these were part of the Southern tour. Edgar Allan Poe NHS was site 99. Only one to go.