TRAVELING THROUGH YESTERDAY
Article by Mary Emma Allen
Photos by Kathleen Walls
My father stimulated my interest in the history of this
country by taking us to historic sites when we traveled.
Mother researched them with her school teacher's instincts
and pulled out maps and pictures.
So my interest in historic sites has continued. Fortunately
my husband has an interest in the founding of our country
and the important events and people connected with that time
forward. Our daughter would know, when we traveled, that
historic markers lured us to pull off the road and explore.
Now we do this with our grandchildren.
Take pictures, keep a record, and revel in the enjoyment at
the time and later with memories.
The Oregon Trail
|Reenactors on the Oregon
Trail explain their life on the trail
When my husband, daughter and I saw signs and remains of the
Oregon Trail throughout the American West, we decided to
explore and discover. This historic travel route of the
pioneers trekking to new areas during the latter 1880s led
us across several states. It was fascinating to walk in the
actual wagon ruts where these intrepid travelers trod.
Such was our enthrallment that we've given talks in schools
and libraries about this era in our country's history.
|Camp River Dubois in
Illinois is a replica of the
the Lewis and Clark expedition started
Lewis & Clark Explorations
Lewis and Clark became more than names in history when a
friend, living near Salmon, Idaho, took us exploring in the
mountains. There we saw signs for Lewis and Clark's
passage, stood at the spot where they crossed the
Continental Divide, noted where Sacajawea met her brother
again, and then followed their route into the Bitterroot
Mountains of Montana.
Even though we'd read about these explorers in history
books, their struggles, bravery, and perseverance made a
great impression when we stood where they once stood.
The Great Platte River Road
|Nebraska Sandhills country
along the Great Platt River
This trail, paralleling and sometimes crossing the Platte
River in Nebraska is another rich in history. The Mormon
Trail, where these pioneers escaped further west,
corresponds with part of the River Road.
Today, many historic sites along the route are marked. At
rest stops along both lanes of I-80, you'll find historical
markers, along with statuary and art work representing the
The Great Platte River Road Archway, at Kearney, NE, spans
both sections of I-80. Within it, you'll discover the
history of this pioneer area beginning in the 1840's.
We've traveled this route several times and always find
something new to marvel over. Side trips also provide much
that increases one's knowledge of this era and appreciation
of the early pioneers.
St. Augustine, FL
|Flagler College, once one of
Henry Flagler's grand hotels
Business took my husband and me to this old city in Florida
repeatedly. We found it interesting to learn about the
early settlement of our country before it even belonged to
We toured the fort, climbed a lighthouse, walked the beach,
and took a ghost tour. The old buildings, with their
Spanish influenced architecture, gives the city it's
This historic site had special significance because some of
my Civil War great uncles fought there in a New York Union
regiment. Our daughter also visited the site during a high
school field trip and found it one of the most interesting
stops of their tour.
For young and old, especially if they can relate it to
family history as well as our country's history, the
battlefield and war fought here takes on more significance.
Mount Vernon - George Washington's Home
This was a childhood experience for me. My parents wanted
my siblings and me to see where a Revolutionary general and
our first president lived. The large house above the
Potomac River remains in my memory although I've not visited
since. Our daughter did see it on her school trip, too.
This colonial city was another my parents wanted my sister,
brothers and me to see while we visited the South. I truly
enjoyed stepping back in time, walking along the streets and
exploring the buildings. Reading about this area in history
classes took on new meaning because I'd been there and could
visualize more vividly.
Traveling into yesterday with your children, or just by
yourself, creates an appreciation of our country and builds
memories to relate in coming years.
(c)2014 Mary Emma Allen
(Mary Emma Allen, a New Hampshire based writer, has explored
and lived in many areas of the United States. She writes
about these experiences, along with recording them for
family memories. Mary Emma also teaches workshops about
Writing Family Stories. E-mail: