Saturday, December 31, 2005

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

The Big Room at Carlsbad Caverns is the largest natural cave in the world.

The Doll's Theater in the Big Room.

The Temple of the Sun in the Big Room.

The Christmas Tree formation in the Slaughter Canyon Cave at Carlsbad Caverns.

The entrance/exit to the Slaughter Canyon Cave at Carlsbad Caverns.

Lechuguilla Cave at Carlsbad Caverns is the nation's deepest limestone cave at 1,567 feet as well as the fourth longest.

Carlsbad Caverns became a National Monument on October 23, 1923; a National Park on May 14, 1930; and a World Heritage Site on December 6, 1995.

Address: Carlsbad Caverns National Park, 3225 National Parks Highway, Carlsbad, New Mexico 88220; 505-785-2232 (visitor information); 505-885-8884 (park headquarters); Fax: 505-785-2302. Web:

Friday, December 30, 2005

New Hampshire Highlights: 1905 to 1915

In 1907, inspired by her husband, composer Edward MacDowell, Marian Nevins MacDowell officially founded the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire. It is the oldest and largest artists' colony in the U.S.

In 1908, Monsignor Pierre Hevey, pastor of St. Mary's church in Manchester, New Hampshire, organized the first credit union in the U.S. to help mill workers save and borrow money.

In 1911, Ernest Harold Baynes founded the Meriden Bird Club in Meriden, New Hampshire, the first bird club in America.

In 1914, Amoskeag Mills of Manchester, New Hampshire manufactured a United States flag that measured 95 feet long by 50 feet high, the largest American flag ever made. At its peak, the Amoskeag Mills was the largest textile mill under one roof in the world.

The first intercollegiate ski meet (1914), the first American slalom race (1925), and the first American downhill race (1926), were all held at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

New Hampshire Highlights: 1890 to 1905

In 1890, Fresh Pond Ice Company in Brookline, New Hampshire consisted of 9 icehouses under one roof that had the combined capacity of storing 60,000 tons of ice. At the time, it was the largest ice house in the world.

Since 1892, the Motor Vessel Sophie C carries on the tradition of the oldest and only floating post office on an inland waterway in the U.S. This boat serves Lake Winnipesaukee's 274 habitable islands every summer.

Mount Washington Cruises, P O Box 5367, Weirs Beach, New Hampshire 03247; 603-366-5531; 888-843-6686. Web:

On February 6, 1901, a group of nine conservationists, including governor Frank West Rollins, founded the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, the first forest conservation advocacy group in the U.S.

Since 1904, America's oldest motorsport event, the Climb to the Clouds, takes place as cars race to the top of Mount Washington in New Hampshire. The fastest times so far are around seven minutes.

Mt. Washington Hillclimb, Mt. Washington Auto Road, P O Box 278, Gorham NH 03581; 603-466-3988. Web:

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

New Hampshire Highlights: 1875 to 1890

In 1876, Edward C. Pickering and friends founded the Appalachian Mountain Club in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to conserve and hike the White Mountains of New Hampshire. AMC is the oldest continuous conservation and mountaineering club in America.

From 1886 to 1897, 300 men quarried and split 350,000 cubic feet of New Hampshire granite to build the Library of Congress, in Washington, D.C., the largest building in the world at the time.

Since 1887, Globe Firefighting Suits of Pittsfield, New Hampshire, is the oldest and largest manufacturer of firefighting suits in the world.
Globe Manufacturing Company, 37 Loudon Road, Pittsfield, New Hampshire 03263; 603-435-8323; Fax: 603-435-6388. Email: Web:

In 1888, Austin Corbin II of Newport, New Hampshire, bought 25,000 acres near Croydon Mountain to establish the largest wild game preserve in America.

Founded in 1888, the Brown Paper Company of Berlin, New Hampshire, pioneered the concept of sustained yield in forestry management, and in 1900 developed one of the first corporate research facilities in the United States. At their pulp and paper training and development center shown above, they developed Kodak paper, Bermico pipe, cellophane, mustard gas, Kream Krisp (shortening), and Nibroc towels.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

New Hampshire Highlights: 1865 to 1875

Built in 1866, the Cornish-Windsor Bridge, a double-span 449.5-foot covered bridge connecting Cornish, New Hampshire, and Windsor, Vermont, is the longest wooden covered bridge in the U.S. and the longest two-span covered bridge in the world. Location: West of N.H. Route 12A, five miles south of Plainfield Village on Cornish Toll Bridge Road. Web:

On August 29, 1866, Sylvester Marsh demonstrated the world's first mountain-climbing cog railway with his steam engine Peppersass, which pushed a flat car over the first 1/4 mile of track up Mt. Washington.

On July 3, 1869, Old Peppersass reached the top of Mt. Washington for the first time.

Mt. Washington Cog Railway, Base Road, Mount Washington, New Hampshire 03589; 603-278-5404; 800-922-8825; Fax: 603-278-5830. Web:

In 1872, a group of Scandinavians from Berlin, New Hampshire, formed the Nansen Ski Club, the oldest ski club in the U.S. Berlin is known as the Cradle of Nordic Skiing in America.

On June 20, 1873, in the Grand Opening Regatta for the opening of the Oceanic Hotel, 50 yachts sailed a race from the Isles of Shoals to Boon Island and back, a race won by General Butler and his yacht America. Thus began the America's Cup races.

The first transAtlantic telecommunications cable between Europe and America stretched 3,100 nautical miles from Balinskelligs Bay, Ireland, to Straw's Point, Rye Beach, New Hampshire, completed June 27, 1874.

Monday, December 26, 2005

New Hampshire Highlights: 1835 to 1865

In 1837, the Enfield Shakers built the Great Stone Dwelling. Made entirely of New Hampshire granite, the communal dwelling is 62 feet high with 860 built-in drawers and is the largest Shaker dwelling ever constructed.

In 1845, the shop of Nashua machinist John H. Gage, housed in Nashua Manufacturing Company, was considered the first shop devoted to the manufacture of machinists' tools.

On October 12, 1853, Amos Tuck called a meeting in Exeter, New Hampshire, of four political parties opposed to the Democratic Party and proposed the name Republican. It was the first meeting of the Republican Party.

Opened in 1861, the Mt. Washington Auto Road is America's oldest manmade tourist attraction.

Mount Washington Auto Road, P O Box 278,
Gorham, New Hampshire 03581; 603-466-3988.

In 1863, President Lincoln established the first national Thanksgiving Day, inspired by letters from Sarah Josepha Hale of Newport, New Hampshire.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

New Hampshire Highlights: 1826 to 1835

In 1827, Lewis Downing and J. Stephens Abbot built the first Concord Coach in Concord, New Hampshire, celebrated world-wide for its leather belt suspension.

In 1828, women mill workers at the Cocheco Mills in Dover, New Hampshire, went on strike to protest new mill regulations, in what became known as the Factory Girls Strike. It was the first women's strike in the U.S.

Built in 1829, the 278-foot-long Haverhill-Bath Covered Bridge in Woodsville, New Hampshire is thought to be the oldest covered bridge still standing in the United States. Location: Quarter mile north of U.S. Route 302 in Woodsville Village on N.H. Route 135 over the Ammonoosuc River.


As editor of Ladies Magazine (1828-36) and Godey's Lady's Book <1837-77), Sarah Josepha Hale of Newport, New Hampshire, elevated the status of women and the importance of American literature. She was the first women's magazine editor in America.

The Peterborough Town Library, established in 1833, was the first library supported by public taxation.

Peterborough Library, Peterborough Chamber of Commerce, P O Box 401, Peterborough, New Hampshire 03458; 603-924-7234; Fax: 603-924-7235. Web:

Saturday, December 24, 2005

New Hampshire Highlights: 1800 to 1825

First opened in 1803, the Ruggles Mine is the “oldest, most spectacular mica, feldspar, and beryl mine in the nation.”

Ruggles Mine, Route 4, Grafton NH 03240; 603-523-4275. Web:

The 400 members of the New Hampshire House of Representatives still meet in their original chambers at the New Hampshire State House, built in 1816 in Concord, New Hampshire. It is the largest state legislature in the U.S. and meets in the oldest representative's hall in the U.S.

The Dublin Juvenile Library, established in 1822, was the first free public library.

Built in 1823, the Belknap Mill is the oldest unaltered brick textile mill in the U.S. as well as the only industrial knitting museum in the U.s. It is the Official Meetinghouse of New Hampshire.

Belknap Mill Society, The Mill Plaza, 25 Beacon Street, Laconia, New Hampshire 03246; 603-524-8813. Web:

Friday, December 23, 2005

New Hampshire Highlights: 1775 to 1800

In 1775, the Old Meeting House, one of the finest examples of original colonial architecture in the United States, was completed in Danville, New Hampshire. It is the oldest unrestored meeting house in the U.S.

Town of Danville, P O Box 11, Danville, New Hampshire; 603-382- 8253; Fax: 603-382-3363. Web:

On January 5, 1776, the Provincial Congress of New Hampshire ratified the first-in-the-nation state constitution in Exeter, New Hampshire.

In 1778, New Hampshire was the first state to hold a constitutional convention.

In 1783, New Hampshire became the first state to require that its constitution be referred to the people for approval.

Purchased from William and Sarah Dennett on June 12, 1800, Fernald's Island in the Piscatagua River became the first government-sanctioned U.S. Navy shipyard in the United States.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

New Hampshire Highlights: 1690 to 1774

In 1690, the British Government contracted local ship builders in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to construct the HMS Falkland, a 637-ton, 54-gun frigate, which was added to the Royal Navy, March 2, 1695. It was the first warship build in America.

In 1719, the first potato was planted in the U.S. at Londonderry Common Field in Derry, New Hampshire.

In 1768, governor John Wentworth built an estate in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire that became the oldest summer resort in America.

Wolfeboro Chamber of Commerce, 32 Central Avenue, P O Box 547, Wolfeboro, New Hampshire 03894; 603-569-2200; 800-516-5324; Fax: 603-569-2275. Web:

In 1774, New Hampshire became the first state to declare itself independent from England.

On December 14, 1774, a band of patriots took over Fort William & Mary (now known as Fort Constitution) and took guns and gunpowder. It was the first aggressive act of the American Revolution.

Fort Constitution Historic Site, New Castle, New Hampshire 03854 (on Route 1B at the U.S. Coast Guard Station); 603-436-1552. Web:

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

America's Stonehenge

Over 4,000 years old, America's Stonehenge is the oldest megalithic or stone-constructed site in North America.  Like Stonehenge in England, America's Stonehenge was built by ancient people well versed in astronomy and stone construction. An accurate astronomical calendar, it was, and still can be, used to determine specific solar and lunar events of the year.

America's Stonehenge, Mystery Hill, Haverhill Road, P O Box 84, North Salem, New Hampshire 03073; 603-893-8300. Email: Web:

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Alaska Highlights

Alaska is the largest state in the United States.

Alaska’s coastline, 6,640 miles, is longer than all the other states’ coastlines combined.

Mount McKinley is the highest mountain in North America.

Alaska has over 3,000,000 lakes! Yes, that's 3 million lakes!

More bald eagles gather along the Chilkat River than at any other place in the world.

Juneau is the sole capital city in the U.S. accessible only by boat or plane. It is also the largest U.S. city in total area, covering 3,108 square miles.

Address: Alaska Division of Tourism, Alaska Travel Industry Association, 2600 Cordova Street #201, Anchorage AK 99503. Web:

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Nebraska Highlights

Kool-Aid was invented in Hastings in 1927.

Nebraska is the birthplace of the Reuben sandwich, chicken pot pie, TV dinners, McDonald's McRibs, and the world's largest hamburger.

Nebraska is the nation's chief beef producer and the largest processor of chicken eggs.

Nebraska is both the largest producer and user of center pivot irrigation.

Nebraska was the first state to begin foreign market development of wheat in Europe and South America (1957).

Nebraska is the only state with a non-partisan unicameral, a one-house legislature.

The world's most famous tractor testing laboratory is at the University of Nebraska College of Agriculture.

The Union Pacific's Bailey Yard at North Platte is the country's largest railroad classification yard.

The world's largest elephant fossil was found in south central Nebraska.

The greatest concentration of sandhill cranes occurs each spring when a half-million birds from several southern states gather for six weeks in a 40 mile stretch of the Platte River before fanning out across Canada.

American Legion Post No. 3 in Lincoln is the world's largest American Legion post.

The 911 emergency system originated in Lincoln, Nebraska.

The largest gathering ever of Native Americans (more than 100,000) was in 1851 at Horse Creek near Morrill.

Nebraska was the first state to complete its segment of the interstate highway system (I-80), which covers 455 miles in the state.

The first Forest Service nursery in the nation was planted at Halsey in the world's largest hand-planted forest (1 million trees).

The strobe light was invented by Dr. Harold Edgerton from Nebraska.

Whittier Jr. High in Lincoln was the first junior high school in the nation.

The vice-grip was invented in DeWitt, Nebraska.

Research and development of air ambulance service first began in Nebraska.

The Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha has the world’s largest indoor rain forest, swamp, desert and aquarium.

The nation's first authorized off-premise banking, with teller machines at grocery store courtesy counters, was developed in Lincoln.

The nation’s first Native American woman doctor was Susanne LeFlesche Picotte (Omaha Tribe).

Address: Nebraska Division of Tourism, P O Box 98907; Lincoln, Nebraska 68509-8907; 877-NEBRASKA. Web:

Monday, December 05, 2005

South Dakota Hall of Fame

The South Dakota Hall of Fame is not just for the rich and famous. Recognition in this state is achieved through character, not through wealth. Inductees include TV host Mary Hart, Senator George McGovern, photographer Terry Redlin, farmer Jim Woster, author L. Frank Baum, and several hundred others from all walks of life.

Address: South Dakota Hall of Fame, 1480 S. Main Street, Chamberlain, South Dakota 57325; 605-734-4216; 800-697-3130. Email: Web:

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Nylon Capital of the World

Seaford, Delaware, the Nylon Capital of the World, was the site of DuPont's first nylon manufacturing plant, established in 1939. It is still in operation today as Invista.

Address: The City of Seaford, 414 High Street, Seaford, Delaware 19973; 302-629-9173. Web: