Federal Hall National Memorial

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The site at Federal Hall National Memorial began in 1703 as New York’s first City Hall. The Stamp Act Congress met here in colonial times to protest taxation without representation.  It was renamed Federal Hall when it became the first capital of the United States in 1789 and George Washington was inaugurated on its front steps.

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The capital and Congress moved to Philadelphia a year later and the original Federal Hall was demolished in 1812. The current building has been there since 1842. It was the Customs House and then the Treasury building.  In 1939 it became a National Memorial and now contains some relics dating back to Washington’s inauguration.

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We visited Federal Hall after touring the 9-11 Memorial a few blocks away on a chilly winter day. We arrived in time to take a tour of the building with a ranger. He pointed out a lot of the architectural features and talked about the historical significance of the site.

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The ranger pointed out some cracks in the wall over one of the doorways, with gauges to monitor movement. When the Twin Towers fell in 2001, the impact caused tremors which damaged Federal Hall’s structure.

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In Sept 2002, a year after the attacks, Congress convened in Federal Hall for the first time in over 200 years to show support for New York’s recovery. In 2004, Federal Hall closed for a two-year renovation to repair the damage.

Location: 26 Wall St, New York, NY 10005

Designation: National Memorial

Date designated or established: 1939

Date of my visit: February 24, 2012

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View of the NY Stock Exchange from the steps behind George Washington’s statue. The statue was placed in this spot in the late 1800s, and is believed to be where he stood on his inauguration day.

Natural Bridge (Virginia)

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Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

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Lace Falls

The Natural Bridge in Virginia was a great stop on our road trip to the Great Smoky Mountains. It’s not far off Interstate 81 and has a mile long trail under the 215 foot natural stone arch, past the ‘lost river’, a native American village replica to some waterfalls. There are also tours of the nearby Natural Bridge Caverns.

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This area is a National Hiistoric Landmark. The 157 acre property was purchased by Thomas Jefferson from King George III for 20 shillings in 1774 and was a tourist attraction even back then. George Washington is said to have surveyed the area and carved his initials on the wall of the bridge.

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George Washington’s Initials?

When we visited this site in 2013, it was under private ownership. In 2016, ownership transferred to the state of Virginia and became Natural Bridge State Park. Also in 2016, the new state park was designated an affiliated area by the National Park Service which provides for federal funding.

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The Lost River – water source unknown

Location: 6477 S Lee Hwy, Natural Bridge, VA 24578

Designation: National Historic Landmark

Date designation declared: 8/06/1998

Date of my visit: 8/16/2013DSC05789