Fort Hays - Kansas

Fort Hays was named for General Alexander Hays, who was killed at the Battle of the Wilderness in Virginia during the Civil War. Fort Hays was established in June of 1867, and its initial purpose was to protect Union Pacific Railway workers from Southern Cheyenne and Southern Arapaho Indians, the two main tribes in Western Kansas. To the left is the Trader's Store, on the right are the Officer's Quarters. The fort was located on a slight rise for increased visibility and protection against surprise attacks. The military reservation was approximately 7640 acres or 12 square miles of which 65 acres was used for placement of 45 buildings.

Natural Bridge State Park - Kentucky

Natural Bridge State Park is home to the natural sandstone arch that stands like a sentinel over the area. Located in the Daniel Boone National Forest, near the Red River Gorge Geological Area, the arch spans 78-feet in length and 65-feet in height. About a 3/4 mile hike up a medium grade gets you to the base of natural bridge. There are also a number of other beautiful hikes in the area.

Saint Louis - Missouri

Jefferson National Expansion Memorial consists of the Gateway Arch, the Museum of Westward Expansion, and St. Louis' Old Courthouse. During a nationwide competition in 1947-48, architect Eero Saarinen's inspired design for a 630 foot stainless steel arch was chosen as a perfect monument to the spirit of the western pioneers. Construction of the Arch began in 1963 and was completed on October 28, 1965. The Arch has foundations sunk 60 feet into the ground, and is built to withstand earthquakes and high winds. It sways up to one inch in a 20 mph wind, and is built to sway up to 18 inches.

Shenandoah National Park - Virginia

Shenandoah National Park lies astride a beautiful section of the Blue Ridge, which forms the eastern rampart of the Appalachian Mountains between Pennsylvania and Georgia. In the valley to the west is the Shenandoah River, from which the park gets its name, and between the north and south forks of the river is Massanutten, a 40-mile-long mountain. To the east is the rolling Piedmont country. Providing vistas of the spectacular landscape is Skyline Drive, a winding road that runs along the Blue Ridge through the length of the park.

Most of the rocks that form the Blue Ridge are ancient granitic and metamorphosed volcanic formations, some exceeding one billion years in age. By comparison, humans have been associated with this land for about 11,000 years. American Indians used the land for centuries but left little evidence of their presence. European settlement of the Shenandoah Valley began soon after the first expedition crossed the Blue Ridge in 1716. Many of the settlers came "up river," north to south, from Pennsylvania. By 1800, the lowlands had been settled by farmers, while the rugged mountains were relatively untouched. Later, as valley farmland became scarce, settlement spread into the mountains. The mountain farmers cleared land, hunted wildlife, and grazed sheep and cattle.

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