NPS Logo

Historical Background

Survey of Historic Sites and Buildings

Suggested Reading


Lewis and Clark
Survey of
Historic Sites and Buildings

DESCRIBED in the following pages are the principal extant sites associated with the Lewis and Clark Expedition. In the National Park System are Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, Mo.; Nez Perce National Historical Park, Idaho; Fort Clatsop National Memorial, Oreg.; and Meriwether Lewis Park (Natchez Trace Parkway), Tenn. National Historic Landmarks number 11. Except for Meriwether Lewis Park, where Lewis is buried, all sites are located in the trans-Mississippi West.

Several others in the Eastern United States, however, have pertinence to Lewis and Clark, though they contain no remains that have any significant relationship with the two explorers and are therefore not included in this volume. Most of these sites are generally discussed in various other volumes in this series. In the National Park System is Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, Md.-W. Va., where Lewis procured Army rifles and other equipment. National Historic Landmarks include the Forks of the Ohio, Pa., at Pittsburgh, where he made final logistical arrangements before setting out down the Ohio; and Monticello, Va., and the White House, D.C., where he lived with Jefferson just before setting out on the expedition.

Among places in the Other Sites Considered category (see following section) in the Eastern United States, also excluded from this work, are the Clarksville, Ind.-Louisville, Ky. area; two other key stops in Illinois on the Pittsburgh-St. Louis segment of the journey, Fort Massac and Fort Kaskaskia, now both State parks; the city of Cahokia, Ill., visited by Lewis and other members of the complement while it was in the St. Louis area; the town of Fincastle, Va., today a historic district, the place Clark returned to after the expedition and where, in the still-standing Col. George Hancock Mansion ("Santillane"), he married his first wife in 1808; and Locust Grove, Ky., the estate in Louisville that Lewis and Clark visited to call on Clark's sister on their eastbound journey and possibly also on the westbound.

Lewis' birthplace, Locust Hill, no longer stands, but the site, in Albemarle County, Va., is near the hamlet of Ivy, not far west of Charlottesville. The exact location of Clark's birthplace, in Caroline County, Va., has not been ascertained. Also, except for Monticello, the White House, "Santillane," and Locust Grove, no extant residences can be associated with the two men, nor any other members of the expedition.

THE following descriptions are comprised of three categories: National Park Service Areas, National Historic Landmarks, and Other Sites Considered.

The principal aim of the National Survey of Historic Sites and Buildings is to identify nationally important sites that are not National Park Service Areas, but no survey of historic places would be complete without including them. This is particularly true because many of them were designated as National Historic Landmarks before they became part of the National Park System. Further information about a particular area may be obtained by writing directly to the park superintendent at the address listed immediately following the location.

National Historic Landmarks are those sites judged by the Advisory Board on National Parks, Historic Sites, Buildings, and Monuments to meet the criteria of national significance in commemorating the history of the United States. They have been declared by the Secretary of the Interior to be eligible for designation as National Historic Landmarks. Final designation occurs when the owners apply for such status. They receive certificates and bronze plaques attesting to the distinction.

Other Sites Considered consist of those sites deemed by the Advisory Board to possess noteworthy historical value but not national significance. The list of those included in this category does not purport to be exhaustive; it is merely a representative sampling, all that is possible because of space limitations.

Many sites in the Other Sites Considered category in all phases of history are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, maintained by the National Park Service's Office of Archeology and Historic Preservation. The register consists not only of sites in the National Park System and National Historic Landmarks, but also those of State and local significance, nominated through appropriate channels by the various States. It is published biennially and distributed by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 20402.

Last Updated: 02-Apr-2004