Author Archives: thehistorytourist

Grand Canyon Lodge at the North Rim

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The entrance to the Grand Canyon Lodge at the North Rim doesn’t look very impressive. But once you step inside: POW! Just beyond the lobby is a great room with floor to ceiling windows. Look out those windows and it’ll … Continue reading

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Mining Ghosts in Ruby, Arizona

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Ghost towns abound in the American southwest.  In Arizona, they’re mostly former mining settlements, isolated in the mountains and abandoned after the land had been stripped of its precious metals. Gold prospecting by Europeans in Arizona began with the Spanish … Continue reading

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The Unexpected President: the Life and Times of Chester A. Arthur

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There were only two things I knew of our 21st president before reading The Unexpected President: the Life and Times of Chester A. Arthur.   1. Chester A. Arthur was part of a corrupt New York political machine before becoming vice president to … Continue reading

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Behind-the-Scenes at Colonial Williamsburg

A “new since the last time I was there” program at Colonial Williamsburg was a two hour behind the scenes tour. I’d been on behind-the-scenes tours of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the Vanderbilt’s Biltmore in Asheville, North … Continue reading

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A Williamsburg Halloween

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In the early 1700s, pirates ran amok around coastal Virginia and among them was Edward Teach, also known as Blackbeard. Legend has made Blackbeard the prototype fearsome, loathsome pirate but he was. in reality, a fairly decent guy (for a … Continue reading

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The Lees of Old Virginia

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What do football players Archie, Peyton and Eli Manning have in common with Zachary Taylor, the 12th president of the United States? Answer: an ancestor, Richard Lee, originally of Shropshire, England. Lee was a 22-year-old lawyer when he landed in … Continue reading

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James and Mary in Fredericksburg

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I was touring the Virginia governor’s house in Richmond five years ago when I came across a painting of James Monroe, hanging in the center of the state dining room. He was there because, we were told, it was the … Continue reading

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