Yesterday I mentioned that the state of Pennsylvania has no National Parks. Today I got on NPS.gov, located its Find a Park function by state, and learned that this state currently has 29 National Park sites. Some of them are nationally more important than others like Gettysburg National Military Park and the Flight 93 National Memorial. The National Park Service is active in every state despite the fact that there are only 62 designated National Parks like Yellowstone.
Some of the more interesting sites in Pennsylvania to me are the following. When we went to Gettysburg many years ago, I did not know that my family’s roots were in this area. On our way to the battlefield, Ruth, I, and our children turned on the wrong road. I located a sign and found, quite by accident, that we were on Harbaugh Church Road. After I got over the shock, I realized that my surname was important in this area and nearby Maryland. We went on to the battlefield and loved the Visitor Center and the Civil War Battlefield tour.
The Flight 93 National Memorial brought that infamous day in our national history roaring back. Near Shanksville, this NM’s Visitor Center has exhibit space about the United Airlines plane that went down here instead of slamming into the White House or the US Capitol in Washington. A 1/4 mile walkway takes visitors along the crash site.
When he was President, Dwight Eisenhower had a farm in Pennsylvania near Gettysburg. He and his wife Mamie spent a lot of time there, and today’s visitors to the Eisenhower National Historic Site can learn a lot about what farm life was like way back then. They can also tour the house and grounds.
Every American should visit Philadelphia’s Independence National Historical Park. Ruth & I toured it when we spent time in Delaware, and we stopped by The Liberty Bell Museum in Allentown last year to see where this national treasure was stored under the floorboards of a church during the Revolutionary War. Independence Hall in Philadelphia is probably the best place in the USA to learn about the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution. Visitors see 19 historic structures here in this 45 acre park about where our liberty was born.
230 miles of the Appalachian Trail are in Pennsylvania. It winds through 11 counties here and is said to be the most brutal part of this National Scenic Trail. Because hikers often damage their shoes while in this state that is rocky, this portion of the National Trail that begins in Georgia and ends in Maine is often called Bootsylvania.
The rest of the National Park Service sites in Pennsylvania deal with industries, scenic rivers, the writer Edgar Allen Poe, the war of independence, and the Johnstown Flood that killed 2,209 Pennsylvanians in 1889. The oldest church in this state, Gloria Dei, is now a National Historic Site administered by the NPS. It was built by Swedish pioneers in Philadelphia in 1646.