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American Revolutionary War Sites

Monday, Jul 1 2024 by

Independence Day is just around the corner, with fireworks and parades and celebrations in every town and city across the United States.

Amid all the hot dogs and hamburgers and apple pie, it’s important to remember why we can celebrate the Fourth of July.

Here are some sights from America’s fight for independence to remind us that Independence Day is about more than food and family and fireworks–it’s about freedom.

Boston, Massachusetts

Much of the early actions of the American Revolution began in Boston, including the riot of the Boston Tea Party and other uprisings that stirred the hearts of freedom lovers across the colonies.

Faneuil Hall was an indoor market in Boston that was also used as a location for meetings in the lead up to the Revolution. It was here that the plan for the Boston Tea Party was hatched, and where several revolutionary leaders gave rousing speeches to unite the city against the British.

Faneuil Hall (StreetView)
Faneuil Hall

The Battle of Bunker Hill, fought in 1775, was one of the early battles of the war, and while it’s outcome was largely considered a British victory, it was important for the Americans to see they were capable of standing up to the British in battle.

Bunker Hill Monument (Birds Eye)
Bunker Hill Monument

There’s even a museum for visitors walking the Freedom Trail through the city.

Bunker Hill Museum (StreetView)
Bunker Hill Museum

Every kid learns in history about Paul Revere’s night ride and the code “one if by land and two if by sea” to alert the towns around Boston of the British troop movements. It was at the Old North Church that the signal was sent starting Revere on his midnight ride.

Old North Church Boston (Google Maps)
Old North Church Boston

Philadelphia

Philadelphia was the nation’s first capital, and home of the Continental Congresses that directed much of the politics of the war as well as maintained support among the citizens of the colonies for the war.

Independence Hall is where the Continental Congresses met, and where both the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were drafted. It is one of the most important buildings in America’s history, and is an awesome place to visit to learn more of how our country was established.

Independence Hall (StreetView)
Independence Hall

The Liberty Bell has a great sentimental meaning to Americans as a symbol of freedom and announcing the signing of the Declaration of Independence. It is still on display and draws a great deal of attention from visitors to the city.

Liberty Bell Center (Birds Eye)
Liberty Bell Center

Betsy Ross has become an icon in American history for designing and making the first American flags. While she did indeed convince George Washington to modify the design and sewed many flags for Pennsylvania, it cannot be proved that she made the very first flag. Nonetheless, her story is important to highlight the role of women and show how the entire community was involved in the Revolution.

Betsy Ross House (StreetView)
Betsy Ross House

Just outside Philadelphia lies Valley Forge, one of the most important and memorable encampments, where the soldiers suffered as they regrouped and trained during the winter and while waiting for decisions on where to move to next. The memory of the suffering and struggle of the soldiers at Valley Forge help us better appreciate our freedoms as Americans today.

Valley Forge (Google Maps)
Valley Forge

Washington, D.C.

While Washington, D.C. is now the nation’s capital, it wasn’t founded until after the Revolution. But those interested in Revolutionary War history will not be disappointed if they make a stop here. The Declaration of Independence and Constitution, as well as other important founding documents, are on display in the National Archives in downtown Washington, D.C.

National Archives (Google Maps)
National Archives

Just a few hours south of Washington, D.C. is the most important battle site of the war: Yorktown. It was here in southern Virginia where General George Washington accepted the surrender of Lieutenant General Charles Cornwallis and his troops, effectively ending the war and leading to the founding of the United States.

Yorktown Surrender Field (Google Maps)
Yorktown Surrender Field

There are battlefields, encampments and other important sites from the Revolutionary War up and down the East Coast. Visiting them can be an educational and interesting experience even if history is not your thing, so make sure you take a look if you find yourself nearby!

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Battle of Little Bighorn June 25

Tuesday, Jun 25 2024 by

On the afternoon of June 25, 1876, General George Armstrong Custer, along with more than 200 of his men, was killed at a battle later called Little Bighorn, after the river that flowed near the bloody site. While it was a temporary victory for the Lakota, Cheyenne, and other Native people fighting for the preservation of their way of life and land, in the end, it hastened the end of the nomadic lifestyle available to the Native people of the plains and mountains of the United States.

Let’s take a look at the battle where Custer made his “last stand” and see some of the memorials, monuments, and important sites associated with the battle.

Military Academy at West Point, New York

George Armstrong Custer, somewhat on a whim, ended up at the US’s premier military academy, known as West Point. He graduated in 1861, 34th of 34 students in his class. He went on to serve in the Union Army in the Civil War, even witnessing Lee’s surrender to Grant, which effectively ended the war.

In order to attend West Point, a student must be nominated by their member of Congress, and attend the university to receive a well-rounded and well-regarded education. It has turned out several well-regarded individuals, including both Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee, Douglas MacArthur, George S. Patton, and David Petraeus.

United States Military Academy - West Point (Google Maps)
United States Military Academy - West Point

General Custer’s remains were interred here in 1877.

Gen. George Armstrong Custer's Grave (StreetView)
Gen. George Armstrong Custer's Grave

Fort Abraham Lincoln, North Dakota

General Custer was a military man through and through, and continued in service after the Civil War. He was stationed in the western territories to fight what was known as the “Indian Wars” where US troops fought against Native warriors, eventually pushing the Native people onto reservations or to less desirable land.

In 1876, Custer was stationed at Fort Abraham Lincoln in present-day North Dakota. He and his wife lived in a house here, where he served as Commander of the fort.  It was from this fort that Custer and his troops left on May 17, and his wife repeatedly remarked that a mirage appeared and covered half of the departing soldiers from view. Six weeks later, her mirage became a sad reality.

The fort has since been dissolved and turned into Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park. Several important sites from the times of the Indian Wars, as well as of Native heritage, are preserved in the park.

Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park (Google Maps)
Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park

Battle of Little Bighorn

With the help of Native scouts, Custer and two groups converged on a large gathering of Native people, including men, women, and children, gathering at the Little Bighorn River in present-day Montana.

Coming close to the encampment, Custer was convinced he needed to attack quickly on June 25, rather than wait a day for reinforcements and additional supplies. Therefore, he ordered his subordinates to attack from different angles.

Miscalculations about the size of the encampment and who was at the camp led to a rout, where the American soldiers were quickly outnumbered and overwhelmed.

While other divisions suffered significant losses but were able to eventually retreat, Custer and the men with him became surrounded on their bluff, and slaughtered. Not one of the 210 or so men survived.

Little Big Horn - Custer's Last Stand (Google Maps)
Little Big Horn - Custer's Last Stand

Little Bighorn National Monument

The battle, where about 300 US troops and 60 Native warriors were killed, quickly became a rallying cry in the states to finish the job of containing the “savage” nomadic people. While today people understand the atrocities inflicted upon the Native American people, both as a people and as individuals, that was not the case in 1876.

The site of the battle became first an informal memorial and then eventually a national monument. The monument also includes locations where other battles that day were fought, to better tell the entire story.

Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument (Google Maps)
Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument

Sitting Bull’s Grave

One of the Native Lakota warrior leaders, Sitting Bull, was at the battle, and helped lead his people to victory that day. Sitting Bull had a well-deserved reputation as an incredibly brave warrior, but also as a man with visionary powers. In fact, legend says he foretold the battle of Little Bighorn.

Sadly, US military leaders saw Sitting Bull as a direct threat to taking the territory of the Native people, and eventually he was taken prisoner, forced to live on reservations, and prevented from participating in his traditional nomadic lifestyle.

He was killed in an intentional and tragic gunfight in 1890. His remains were taken to Fort Yates in North Dakota. However, tradition holds that his remains were later secretly dug up, and he was reinterred in South Dakota. A memorial now marks the spot where his body is said to have been buried.

Sitting Bulls grave (StreetView)
Sitting Bulls grave

Crazy Horse Memorial

Another brave fighter at the battle that day was Crazy Horse, a Lakota warrior known for his bravery, confidence, and desire to live in the traditional ways of his people. According to accounts of the battle, he and his soldiers fought and slaughtered Custer and his men. Crazy Horse was killed at Fort Robinson in Nebraska. The manner of his death was intentional and intentionally lacking in dignity for a Lakota warrior, but his stoicism in death impressed, and somewhat frightened, the soldiers who executed him.

His final resting place is unknown. However, in 1948, a massive memorial to him was undertaken in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The area is considered holy to the Lakota. The statue of his face and shoulders will be the largest face, and largest statue, in the world, much larger than the faces of the four presidents at nearby Mount Rushmore. However, work is slow as all funds for the project are raised privately.

Crazy Horse Memorial up close (StreetView)
Crazy Horse Memorial up close

While the battle Little Bighorn and Custer’s Last Stand were a victory for the Native people, the success was short-lived. It convinced the US people that the territory must be taken and settled, and the original inhabitants moved out of the way. It was really the beginning of the end for these people, and the tragedy of that day cannot be overstated. So, on this day, take a moment to reflect on the loss of life, and the loss of the way of life, of the original settlers of the land we call the United States.

 

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Let's All Go to the Movies!

Monday, Jun 24 2024 by

It’s the middle of summer, and  this year, there are several sequels to highly successful franchises coming to theaters.  Blockbusters are the perfect cure to a hot or boring afternoon, so let’s take a look at some of the really cool movies we can see this summer.

Deadpool and Wolverine comes out this July, and it will be a guaranteed success, merging two hit franchises known for their powerhouse main stars and action-packed plot lines.

Hugh Jackman, NYC Apartment

Bringing the Wolverine to the movie, few people in Hollywood have made being a superhero more successful than Hugh Jackman. The character was his breakout role way back, and has helped him develop a net worth of more than $150 million.

However, a year after separating from his wife of 27 years, Hugh Jackman’s private life has been a little up in the air. Way back in 2008, the couple bought this amazing West Village property for $21 million. It is situated across three floors, and has more than 11,000 square feet.

Just a few months before they filed for divorce, the couple bought a new penthouse in Chelsea, and put this triplex apartment on the market. It hasn’t sold in over a year, so maybe Hugh is using the place while he figures out where he’s going to live going forward.

Hugh Jackman's Apartment (StreetView)
Hugh Jackman's Apartment

Ryan Reynolds, Pound Ridge Estate

Ryan Reynolds has a smile that can take your breath away, but when you learn he’s parlayed his acting career into a net worth exceeding $350 million, you’ll really be speechless. And much of that financial success comes from the Deadpool franchise. Each of the previous films have broken all the records, and brought in nearly a billion dollars each!

When not portraying a sarcastic and feisty antihero on screen, Ryan likes to spend time with his wife Blake Lively and their four girls. They love to be away from Hollywood, and enjoy their Pound Ridge, New York home.

They paid $5.7 million for this property more than a decade ago. With nearly 9,000 square feet, the six of them can really stretch out; and if that’s not enough, they can really get comfortable running around the 11.5 acres the house is set on.

Ryan Reynolds & Blake Lively's House (Google Maps)
Ryan Reynolds & Blake Lively's House

Bad Boys: Ride or Die has been out a few weeks and already netted about $150 million! The fourth installment in the 20-year franchise proves why people love Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, and can’t get enough when the two work together.

Will Smith’s Pad in Calabasas

The Fresh Prince has reigned over Hollywood for decades, outlasting all sorts of challenges and scandals, even those that were self-inflicted. He and his longtime wife Jada Pinkett Smith own an estate in Calabasas that’s so big, words like huge and enormous don’t do it justice.

The 150-acre compound in the highly sought-after area of Calabasas has a 25,000 square foot main house, and several other houses and structures on the property. It has an 11,000 square foot gym, and even an artificial lake!

Will’s net worth is pushing half a billion dollars, and this summer hit will bring him even closer, with rumors that he earned $25 million to reprise his Miami detective role.

Will Smith's House (Google Maps)
Will Smith's House

Despicable Me 4 comes out the day before the Fourth of July, and it’s sure to be a hit. The previous three films each made more than $3 billion dollars! Seeing evil Gru and the mischievous minions is practically a summer tradition at this point, so seeing the next movie is a must!

Steve Carell’s Mansion in Toluca Lake

Steve is known for being a hapless if not lovable character, even as an evil animated villain. But in real life, he’s a laid-back family man. This home in Toluca Lake was bought in 2010, only to be torn down and have a totally new mansion built in its place. The custom design has more than 7,000 square feet on the first floor alone, and rooms designed for his two kids, showing he’s a big softie at heart.

Steve Carell's House (Birds Eye)
Steve Carell's House

Pharrell Williams’ Florida Pad

Pharrell brought the original Despicable Me to life with his rendition of Happy and he’s back at it again for the newest film. Since the last film, he’s packed up from his estate in California and relocated to a 17,000 square foot estate in Coral Gables, Florida.

The stylish home was designed by a renowned architect, and has a sleek, minimalist design that helps it feel like part of the landscape, rather than apart from it. Inside, the home is very modern, and includes a massive video wall in the main bedroom!

The $30 million property also has a guest house with movie theater, infinity pool, an outdoor movie area, and a skate park!

Pharrell Williams' House (Google Maps)
Pharrell Williams' House

This summer, it’s obvious these celebs will be staying cool in their massive, gorgeous estates. But you can beat the heat too, just by going to the movies and enjoying an afternoon or evening of fun and entertainment. Don’t forget the popcorn!

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Sunday, July 21, 2024

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