Wednesday, March 6, 2013

ROADTRIP! National Space Landmarks


Well it's almost warm enough to travel again. Who's already planning Spring Break road trips? I know I am. Last year, I mapped all the Solar System Hikes and Apollo Moon Trees, but this year my adventures will be based on space-related National Landmarks in America!

Do you know how many there are, and where they are located?

National Historic Space Landmarks in America
Space-Related National Historic Landmarks

That's it. Out of 2,495 National Historic Landmarks, or "NHLs" in America, only 35 have to do with space or scientific pursuits. What are the others? It's a pretty amazing list, actually. And I would know because I researched every single one, looking for descriptions! (Maybe you can tell this took me most of the winter...)

Some National Landmarks are immediately recognizable and unique, such as Central Park, Grand Central Station, the Stock Exchange and famous historical features such as the White House or National Cathedral. Other “onesies” include an asylum, a WWII Internment Camp, a casino, obsidian cliff, fossilized reef, grain elevator, granary, horse racetrack, quarry, medicine wheel, oil field, real-tennis court, record company, roller coaster, shipyard, sea garden, Walden Pond, and the Wright Brothers’ airplane.

Map of Space Landmarks
There's also ONE planetarium... America's first: Adler! (Chicago)

Categories of multiple landmarks throughout the United States and the District of Columbia include apartment buildings , archaeological sites, armories, arsenals, art studios, auditoriums, banks, barracks, battlefields, beaches, breweries, bridges, camps, canals, canyons, capitol buildings, carousels, caves , cemeteries, churches, city squares, colleges, convents, courthouses, dams, distilleries, factories, forts, furnaces (blast or iron), gardens, geysers, gymnasiums, homes / homesteads (of presidents, early patriots, authors, inventors, or public figures.), hospitals, hotels, housing districts, inns, islands, jails, law offices...


... libraries, lighthouses, lodges, log cabins, mansions, massacre sites, mills, mines, missions, mounds, mountains, mountain passes, parks, Pony Express stations, ports/pier, post offices, plantations, plazas, prisons, pueblos, railroad stations or tracks, ranches, reservations, roads, rock formations, schools, shipwrecks, shopping arcades, skyscrapers, springs, submarines, synagogues, taverns, theatres, tombs (presidents), trails, treaty sites, towers, tunnels, villages (settlers and Native American), water crafts (aircraft carriers, battleships, destroyers, ferries, minesweepers, schooners, steamboats, tug boats, etc.) and watersheds.

It's truly an incredible collection, if you ever want to examine the entire list of NHLs across all 50 states!

Space-related National Landmarks
Mission Control callsign "Houston"

Mapping all the ones particularly related to space or science has been difficult, since many do not have street addresses. Finding them inside NASA centers, or merely by coordinates takes time and multiple verifications, since information about them on the internet is often downright wrong (go figure).

Further complicating the process was having to learn the finer points of National Monuments and National Memorials -- both of which are legally and categorically different than National Landmarks.  However, the one thing that made it easier was that I didn't actually end up mapping either of the latter two.

Of the 109 National Monuments and 29 National Memorials in the United States, not a single one is space or science-related. Zero.

Putting the finishing touches on the NHLs map today, stay tuned for tomorrow!

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