I’ve lived in Arizona for over thirty years and visited the Grand Canyon only once. Even then, it was a quick overview. And to think that my state claims this astounding tourist attraction as one of the world’s seven natural wonders!
This week when I received Karen Meyer’s monthly newsletter, The Pioneer Post, her article about famous places got me thinking. Why do we travel the country, even across the world, to see sights we’ve dreamed about and pass by the special places located within driving distance of where we live?
Karen Meyer, the author of nine children’s middle-grade novels, knows much about Ohio frontier history. I think I can safely say she is an Ohio history specialist. Her Christian novels weave appealing plots with gems from our country’s history. I asked Karen for permission to share her comments from her recent article where she challenged me to remain alert to the history in my own part of the world.
Excerpts from Pioneer Post by Karen Meyer
“Have you ever visited a famous landmark and happened to stay with a resident of the area who had never seen the spot herself?
A few weeks ago I took the time to stop and read a historical marker located a few miles from my house. I could read the title when I drove past, but I had never taken the time to stop and read the story behind it. The metal memorial told about a house on the Underground Railroad, an area of my particular interest. I photographed it and did a bit of research once I returned home.
There are thousands of landmarks across our country, marking stories of people, places, and past events. According to The Historical Marker Database, more than 176,000 historical markers are located throughout the United States! The Pomeroy Foundation is the group in charge of these markers. The foundation plans to add even more markers along the 3,700-mile route of the Great American Rail-Trail. This United States cross-country rail trail is the project of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy and will run between Washington D.C. in the east and the state of Washington in the west. The planned trail is already more than 53% complete, with over 2,000 completed miles on the ground. I hope this inspires you to do some marker-hunting ….”
Two of Karen Meyer’s extraordinary novels are centered around the Underground Railroad (safehouses used by enslaved African Americans during the early and mid-19th century). Middle grade readers (and adults) will be moved by the author’s story telling in North to Freedom and Secrets in the Sky Nest. The books are available on Amazon.com and other online bookstores.