- $3 for general admission for two ($6 value)
- $6 for general admission for four ($12 value)
- $9 for general admission for six ($18 value)
- $18 for a group tour for up to ten ($30 value)
National Historic Landmarks: Preserving a Link to the Past
This attraction is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Read on to learn about what criteria a site must meet to be inducted.
Visiting a landmark breathes life into history by reminding us that the past is more than ink and paper—it’s brick and mortar, flesh and bone. The National Register of Historic Places catalogs and preserves such locations, but how does a landmark qualify for historic status?
One way is for the building itself to have played a role in United States history. That’s the case with Boston’s Old North Church, where Paul Revere ordered lanterns hung in warning—one if by land, two if by sea, three if by hang glider. A site might also be associated with a person of importance, such as the John Coltrane House in Philadelphia and the Robert Frost Farm in Vermont. Another criterion is that a location represents an American ideal. This could be said of Washington D.C.’s Sewall-Belmont House, the home of the National Women’s Party, or José Clemente Orozco’s mural The Epic of American Civilization, which depicts history from the Aztecs to industrialization.
More abstractly, a site can be inducted into the National Register as an example of a particular architectural style—Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin is emblematic of the Prairie school—or as a singular architectural feat outside of any particular genre, such as St. Louis’s Gateway Arch. Other locations are deemed significant for their contributions to scientific and cultural knowledge. In Chicago, one can visit the site of the world’s first self-sustaining nuclear reaction, marked by Henry Moore’s Nuclear Energy, and in Southern Illinois sits Cahokia, an ancient Native American city founded sometime around 700 AD.
History isn’t just the past—it’s an ongoing entity. Historic-landmark status can be granted to virtually any type of building or location, no matter how old or young it is. All that matters is that the site is culturally significant and fundamentally American, rather than simply a shared hallucination such as Mount Rushmore.