National “Stuff”

CTMQ is Going National!
(Not Really.)

P1020768Connecticut has no national parks or national monuments. That we know. (Colt Park in Hartford is on its way… but it’ll be many, many years before it’s ever a real National Historic Park.)

But we do have national… Stuff. The most important of these are probably the 60 National Historic Landmarks that dot the state. But we also have a National Historic Trail and two National Scenic Trails (okay, parts of all three, but we’ll take it.) There are 8 National Natural Landmarks (more like 7.5), 2 National Scenic Byways and 2 National Heritage Areas (which is actually 2 halves of 2 areas). We also have 1 National Historic Site as well.

Quick Quiz – Name them all. (Hint: Hoang is giving the CTMQ Thumbs up at one that she actually worked on to get the designation above. That’s one.) Give up? Well, that’s why I’m here.

Note: I will not, not ever, attempt to do anything with the National Register of Historic Places places in Connecticut. My man Daniel handles most of them with aplomb.

National Historic Landmarks (61)
National Historic Site (1)
National Natural Landmarks (8)
National Scenic Byways (2)
National Heritage Corridor/Area (2)
National Scenic Trails (2)
National Historic Trails (2)
ASME & ASCE National Landmarks


National Historic Landmarks (61)

A National Historic Landmark (NHL) is a building, site, structure, object, or district, that is officially recognized by the United States government for its historical significance. All NHLs are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Out of more than 80,000 places on the National Register, however, only about 2,430 are NHLs.

Here’s more on the program.

[Note: Yeah, this table is pretty dumb. It was really cool when I made it in 2006. I’ll undo it someday.]

Town Property NHL Report Museum? Other?
Canterbury Prudence Crandall House Yes Freedom, Art & Women’s Trail
Darien Stephen Tyng Mather Home Go Here No No
E. Granby Old Newgate Prison Yes No
Easton Ida Tarbell House Go here No No
Fairfield Birdcraft Museum & Sanctuary Yes US First, Women’s Tr
Jonathan Sturges House Go Here No No
Farmington Austin F. Williams House Go Here No Amistad Trail
Hill-Stead Yes Art & Women’s Trail
First Church Go Here No Amistad Tr
Stanley-Whitman House Go Here Yes – Here No
Glastonbury Kimberly Mansion Go Here No Freedom Trail
Greenwich Bush-Holley House Yes Art & Women’s Tr
Groton Nautilus Yes World First
Guilford Henry Whitfield House Yes CT Oldest
Hartford Coltsville Go Here Not yet Statuary & Sports
Harriet Beecher Stowe House Yes – Here Women’s Heritage, Underground RR
Henry Barnard House Go Here No No
State Capitol Bldg Go Here Yes – Here No
Old State House Go Here Yes – Here Women’s Tr
Mark Twain House Yes No
A. Everett Austin House Go Here No Wallace Stevens Walk
Lebanon William Williams House No No
John Trumbull birthplace Yes No
Ledyard Mash. Pequot Archeological District Yes No
Litchfield Tapping Reeve House and Law School Yes US First
Oliver Wolcott House No No
Litchfield Historic District Yes No
Manchester Cheney Bros Historic District Go Here Yes (1, 2,3, 4, 5) No
Middletown Richard Alsop IV House Go Here Yes No
Samuel Wadsworth Russell House Go Here No Middletown Heritage Trail
Montville Fort Shantok Arch. District Go Here No Burial Grounds
Mystic Emma C. Berry Yes-Here No
L.A. Dunton Yes-Here No
Sabino Yes-Here No
Charles W. Morgan Yes-here No
New Canaan Philip Johnson Glass House Go Here Yes-Here New Canaan Modern Tour
John Rogers Studio Yes No
New Haven Grove St. Cemetery Go Here No Amistad Trail & Oldest/Tour
Connecticut Hall Go Here No No
NH Green Historic District Go Here Sort of – Here Fr Trail & Amistad Trail
Lafayette B. Mendel House Go Here No No
Yale Bowl No Sports
Russell Henry Chittenden House Go Here No No
James Dwight Dana House Go Here No No
Othniel C. Marsh House Go here Yes – Sorta No
CT Agricultural Experimental Station Go Here Yes – Sorta US First
New London Monte Christo Cottage Yes No
Norwalk Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Yes Women’s Tr
Old Lyme Florence Griswold House Yes Art Trail, Women’s Tr
Plainville Charles H. Norton House Go Here No No
Portland Brownstone Quarries No One Day Event
Ridgefield Frederick Remington House No No
Scotland Samuel Huntington Birthplace Yes No
Stonington Capt. Nathaniel Palmer House Go Here Yes – Here No
West Hartford Noah Webster Birthplace Yes No
Edward W. Morley House Go Here No No
Wethersfield Buttolph Williams House Go Here Yes – Here No
Silas Deane House Yes Women’s Tr
Joseph Webb House Yes Women’s Tr
Windsor Oliver Ellsworth Homestead Yes No
Woodstock Henry C. Bowen House Yes No

Buttolph-Williams House door knocker


National Historic Site (1)

This one also throws some Nutmeggers for a loop. This is the closest thing we have to a National Park here and it’s a farm. Known for art. At present (2009), there are 79 national historic sites in the National Park System.

It must be said that this list may double in the near future with the addition of Coltsville in Hartford. One would hope anyway… CTMQ friend Bill Hosley (and many others) have been championing this effort for many years, but our state finds other things they find more important at the present. I’ll stay on top of the effort and I believe it will come to be before too long. (I’m writing this on 12/16/2009 for the record.)

1. Weir Farm National Historic Site, Wilton/Ridgefield (Also a museum and on the Art Trail.)


National Natural Landmarks (8)

96j.jpgI really dig this category. For starters, I had never heard of such a designation. Also, I’ve been to or been very near 5 of the 8 landmarks already and had no idea. Most of these aren’t exactly vacation destinations as they seem to be in other states, especially out west. But they’re ours and that’s all I need. And while one is mostly in Massachusetts (Bartholemew’s Cobble), I am drawn to it anyway because it has North America’s greatest diversity of ferns. I find that rather awesome.


The National Natural Landmark (NNL) program recognizes and encourages the conservation of outstanding examples of the United States’ natural history. It is the only natural areas program of national scope that identifies and recognizes the best examples of biological and geological features in both public and private ownership. The program was established on May 18, 1962 by United States Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall.

The program aims to encourage and support voluntary preservation of sites that illustrate the geological and ecological history of the United States, and to strengthen the public’s appreciation of the country’s natural heritage. As of June 2005, 587 sites have been added to the National Registry of National Landmarks. The registry includes nationally significant geological and ecological features in 48 states, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. (My childhood home of Delaware has none. So sad.)

The National Park Service administers the NNL Program, and if requested, assists NNL owners and managers with the conservation of these important sites. Land acquisition by the federal government is not a goal of this program; NNLs are nationally significant sites owned by a variety of land stewards, and participation in the program is voluntary. NNLs are not National Parks. NNL status does not indicate public ownership, and many sites are not open for visitation – though Connecticut’s 8 are, for the most part.

McLean Game Refuge woods in Autumn

Designation of a National Natural Landmark presently constitutes only an agreement with the owner to preserve, insofar as possible, the significant natural values of the site or area. Administration and preservation of Natural Landmarks is solely the owner’s responsibility. Either party may terminate the agreement after they notify the other.

Well, that kind of sucks. But as you’ll see, these are some incredibly random and interesting natural landmarks to say the least.

National Natural Landmarks program

1. Dinosaur Trackway, Rocky Hill – CTMQ NNL Visit
2. Bartholemew’s Cobble, Canaan
3. Bingham Pond Bog , Salisbury – CTMQ NNL Visit
4. Chester Cedar Swamp, Chester – CTMQ NNL Visit
5. McLean Game Refuge Natural Areas, Simsbury/Granby – CTMQ NNL Visit
6. Pachaug-Great Meadow Swamp, Voluntown
7. Beckley Bog, Norfolk – CTMQ NNL Visit
8. Cathedral Pines, Cornwall


National Scenic Byways (2)

Get yer motor runnin’…. Head out on the National Scenic Byways… Looking for CTMQ Adventure…

mq54a.jpgY’know, I kind of hate that song. I don’t really “get” this one as it seems to be commercially sponsored and not wholly a federal program. It seems to pretty much just be a national version of the state scenic road designation, but it certainly does have some federal backing and they’ve certainly chosen two good “byways” here in Connecticut.

The National Scenic Byways (NSB) Program was established under the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991, and reauthorized in 1998 under the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century. Under the program, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation recognizes certain roads as National Scenic Byways or All-American Roads based on their archaeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational, and scenic qualities. There are 151 such designated Byways in 46 states. The Federal Highway Administration promotes the collection as the America’s Byways®.

This program is founded upon the strength of the leaders for individual Byways. It is a voluntary, grassroots program. It recognizes and supports outstanding roads. It provides resources to help manage the intrinsic qualities within the broader Byway corridor to be treasured and shared. Perhaps one of the underlying principles for the program has been articulated best by the Byway leader who said, “the program is about recognition, not regulation.”

The vision of the Federal Highway Administration’s National Scenic Byways Program is “To create a distinctive collection of American roads, their stories and treasured places.” Their mission is to provide resources to the byway community in creating a unique travel experience and enhanced local quality of life through efforts to preserve, protect, interpret, and promote the intrinsic qualities of designated byways.

As you can imagine, I’ve driven these things plenty of times – the Merritt too many to count. There are a ton of CTMQ stops along Route 169 and heck, the Merritt even has a museum dedicated to it.

1. Connecticut State Route 169, Lisbon to Woodstock, 32 Miles (Info)
(Someday I’ll list out all the CTMQ attractions along the route.)
2. Merritt Parkway, Greenwich to Stratford, 37 Miles – Merritt Parkway Museum


National Heritage Corridor/Area (2)

By far the most ill-defined of these national things. They are vast, both cross into Massachusetts and there’s no real way to “visit” Connecticut’s National Heritage Areas. I’m also fairly certain that almost everyone who reads this sentence has never even heard of our two Heritage Areas either. That’s not to say there isn’t cool stuff within them, or that I can’t try to “define” them for CTMQ purposes. Oh, you know I’ll try.

A National Heritage Area is a site designated by United States and intended to encourage historic preservation of the area and an appreciation of the history and heritage of the site. There are currently 49 National Heritage Areas, some of which use variations of the title, such as National Heritage Corridor.

National Heritage Areas are not National Park Service units nor any type of federally-owned or managed land. National Heritage Areas are administered by state governments or non-profit organizations or other private corporations. The National Park Service provides an advisory role and limited technical, planning and financial assistance.

Both contain other CMTQ-worthy stops within them. But before you check ours out, just look at some of these kooky places that have been federally designated Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Area anyone? Seriously.

1. Quinebaug and Shetucket Rivers Valley National Heritage Corridor – The Last Green Valley – Northeast corner of the state (Info) and CTMQ Page
Lots to do here… I’ll keep you updated.
2. Upper Housatonic Valley National Heritage AreaInfo


National Scenic Trails (2)

mt6r.jpgAhh, my favorite. It’s pretty darn cool that the Appalachian Trail enjoys such a lofty status – as it should. But even cooler, in 2009 the feds recognized the Mattabesett- Metacomet-Menunkatuck trail that bisects Connecticut as one of the 11 total (as of this writing) worthy trails. Okay yeah, both the AT and the MMM trails continue on into other states, but that makes no difference to me. I’ve hiked the AT before (but will do the CT section again for CTMQ) and most of the MM trail (as of this writing), but the Mattabesett is being extended down to the Long Island Sound as a result of the recent designation – yay, more hiking for me.

National Historic Trail is a designation for a protected area in the United States containing historic trails and surrounding areas. National Historic Trails were authorized under the National Trails System Act of 1968.

1. Connecticut Section of the Appalachian Trail
AT Intro
2. Connecticut Section of the New England Scenic Trail
Mattabesett Trail Intro
Metacomet Trail Intro


National Historic Trails (2)

This one has caused me a bit of confusion. First – and this isn’t confusing – these “trails” aren’t hiking trails whereas the Scenic Trails above are. These are historic trails where some, um, important history took place at some point in our county’s history. One of ours traverses the entire state from east to west and has a very important, very concrete story behind it. It’s also very new so aside from a few signs alongside roads, there’s not much to it yet (though there are a few museums, monuments and parks related to it along the way.)

The other, the Shaker Historic Trail, isn’t listed on Wikipedia but does have a website clearly run by the National Park Service. Our little piece of that trail is a little (no longer) Shaker Village area up in Enfield. I believe I’m correct in including it here.

National Historic Trail is a designation for a protected area in the United States containing historic trails and surrounding areas.

National Historic Trails were authorized under the National Trails System Act of 1968 (Public Law 90-543) along with National Scenic Trails and National Recreation Trails. National Scenic Trails and National Historic Trails may only be designated by an act of Congress.

1. Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail
2. Shaker Historic Trail, Enfield – CTMQ Visit (Info)

Enfield Shaker houses from afar



American Society of Mechanical Engineers National Landmarks

Actually, you know what? Don’t ask me about ASME because I don’t know much about it. But I do know they have an interesting Landmarks program that has the cache of being an important federal program, but really isn’t.

[Note: if you somehow are here for the CSME – the American Society of Civil Engineers Landmark, Scroll to bottom.]


ASME helps the global engineering community develop solutions to real world challenges. Founded in 1880 as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, ASME is a not-for-profit professional organization that enables collaboration, knowledge sharing and skill development across all engineering disciplines, while promoting the vital role of the engineer in society. ASME codes and standards, publications, conferences, continuing education and professional development programs provide a foundation for advancing technical knowledge and a safer world.

Well there you go.

Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmarks are existing artifacts or systems representing a significant mechanical engineering technology. They generally are the oldest extant, last surviving examples typical of a period, or they are machines with some unusual distinction.

jbLandmarks, sites and collections of historic importance to mechanical engineering are designated by ASME through its History and Heritage Landmarks Program. Landmark status indicates that the artifact, site or collection represents a significant step forward in the evolution of mechanical engineering and is the best known example of its kind. A plaque is presented for display, a commemorative brochure is prepared, and a roster is kept to promote long-term recognition and preservation efforts.

The breadth of our mechanical engineering heritage is evident in the landmarks program. Nearly 250 landmarks have been designated since the program began in 1971.

Do you know of anything that you think should be nominated? ASME has helpfully provided a list of engineering gaps which they are looking to fill with new landmarks. Go for it.

ASME Landmarks

Connecticut’s 8 ASME Landmarks

Town Landmark From Year My report Other
1 Bloomfield Jacobs Engine Brake Retarder 1957 Go Here Open Business
2 Cos Cob AC Electrification 1907 Go Here At train station
3 Hartford Paige Compositor 1877 Museum
4 Mystic BF Clyde’s Cider Mill 1898 Go Here Museum/Store
5 New Milford Rocky River Hydroelectric Plant 1929 Go Here In operation
6 Danbury Pitney-Bowes Postage Meter 1920 Go Here Open Business
7 Windsor Roosa Master Diesel Fuel-Injection Pump 1947 Go Here Open Business
8 Windsor Locks Hydromatic Propeller 1938 Go Here Museum


Historic Civil Engineering Landmarks

Oh those civil engineers! They came up with own list too but their one pick from Connecticut, the Rocky River Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Plant in New Milford, is also a mechanic engineering landmark. C’mon civil engineers! There must be more than just this one in the state! Weak effort… Then again, they design our crappy highways too.

1. Rocky River Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Plant, New Milford (As an ASME Landmark.)

And… that’s it! Aside from our National Champion UConn Huskies and pizza of course. I can’t believe you read this page all the way down to here. I owe you a beer.


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