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U.S. Landmarks Timeline

Find out when some of the most historical sites in the U.S. became national landmarks.

by Jennie Wood

The U.S. began the National Historic Landmark Program to recognize and preserve the country's cultural heritage. Although efforts began as far back as the 1930s, when Congress passed the Historic Sites Act, the program became official when a list of designated landmarks was published in 1960.

A National Historic Landmark is defined and recognized by the U.S. government as a building, structure, object, or district that has national historic significance. The U.S. government has designated 2,532 National Historic Landmarks as of 2014. States and cities designate landmarks as well. Here's a list of some of the most well known landmarks in the U.S., their locations, and the date when they were declared landmarks.

1933 1950 1960 1970 1980 1993

1933

Gettysburg National Military Park

Since 1933, this park has been in the care of the National Park Service, which continues to preserve the park and present the Battle of Gettysburg and the Gettysburg Address to visitors. The park remains one of the most popular landmarks in the United States.

1954

Jan. 29, Brooklyn Bridge

The first steel wire suspension bridge, it connects Brooklyn and Manhattan.

brooklyn bridge
Source: Seth Wenig for Associated Press

1960

Oct. 9, Taos Pueblo

Belonging to a Native American tribe, this is believed to be the oldest inhabited building in North America. It has been consistently inhabited for an estimated 1000 years.

Taos Pueblo
Source: Beth Harpaz for Associated Press


Dec. 19, Alamo

The site of the famous 1836 Battle of the Alamo, this former 19th century fortress and 18th century mission is now a museum.

Alamo
Source: Eric Gay for Associated Press

1961

Jan. 20, Bunker Hill Monument

Located in Charlestown, near Boston, this was the site for most of the 1775 Battle of Bunker Hill fighting.

1962

Dec. 29, Edgar Allan Poe House

This was the Philadelphia home of author, poet Edgar Allan Poe.

1963

May 23, Central Park

One of the most visited city parks in the world, this Manhattan site was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux.

1965

June 23, Hull House

Founded by Jane Addams, this was one of the first settlement houses in the country.

Dec. 21, New York Public Library

Located in Manhattan, this is one of the largest and most visited libraries in the United States.

1966

Oct. 15, Lincoln Memorial and Reflecting Pool

Approximately six million people visit this memorial in Washington, D.C. every year, making it one of the country's most popular.

1976

Jan. 7, Wright Home and Studio

Located near Chicago in Oak Park, this is the former home and studio of Frank Lloyd Wright.

May 11, Fallingwater

This house was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in Mill Run, Pennsylvania. Time called it Wright's "most beautiful job."

Fallingwater
Source: GENE J. PUSKAR/ASSOCIATED PRESS



Dec. 8, Grand Central

Manhattan's Grand Central Terminal is the largest train station in the world, based on the number of platforms. The terminal is known for its Beaux-Arts architecture.

1982

Nov. 13, Vietnam Veterans Memorial

This national monument honors U.S. service members who fought in the Vietnam War. Completed in 1982, it is located in Washington D.C., northeast of the Lincoln Memorial.

1985

Feb. 4, Governors Island

Located in New York harbor, it served as a military base for several branches from 1783 until the late 1990s.

July 27, Korean War Veterans Memorial

This memorial honors all who served in the Korean War. It is located in Washington D.C.'s West Potomac Park.

Aug. 20, Hoover Dam

When this dam was completed in 1935, it was the world's largest concrete structure and the largest hydroelectric power producing facility. President Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicated the dam in a ceremony on Sept. 30, 1935 as seen in the photo below.

FDR dedicates the Hoover Dam
Source: ASSOCIATED PRESS

1986

Jan. 17, Alcatraz Island

One of the most visited landmarks in the U.S., this former Federal prison is where Frank Morris escaped, but not many others.

June 24, Empire State Building

The world's tallest building from 1931 to 1972, it remains a major tourist attraction in New York City.

1987

Feb. 27, Boston Common

This Boston park is the oldest in the U.S., established in 1634.

Feb. 27, Adler Planetarium

The oldest and first planetarium in the western hemisphere.

May 28, Gateway Arch

This St. Louis landmark is the tallest man-made monument in the country. Opened to the public in 1967, it is based on a design by architect Eero Saarinen.

gateway arch
Source: Charlie Riedel for Associated Press




June 18, Golden Gate Bridge

Designated a California Historical Landmark, this suspension bridge connects San Francisco to Marin County across the mile-wide Golden Gate strait.

1989

May 5, USS Arizona

The remains of the USS Arizona, attacked by the Japanese during the bombing of Pearl Harbor, is the centerpiece for a memorial, located on the island of Oahu, just west of Honolulu.

June 29, Flatiron Building

Located across from Madison Square park, the Flatiron Building is considered the world's first skyscraper. It is known for its triangular design.

flatiron building
Source: Mary Altaffer for Associated Press

June 29, McGraw Hill Building

This Manhattan building was the first in the U.S. to be built in Art Deco style.

1993

Nov. 4, Holland Tunnel

This tunnel connects Manhattan to New Jersey. It is one of the earliest ventilated tunnels and is considered a civil engineering landmark.

1998

Aug. 5, Fenway Studios

Built in an Arts and Crafts style for artists in 1904, this building is located near Fenway Park in Boston.

1999

Jan. 20, John Coltrane House

This is the former Philadelphia home of jazz great John Coltrane.

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