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Volume 2, Issue 10, July 2, 2017
Happy 4th of July!
As America prepares to celebrate the Fourth of July, let us remember that freedom and independence are vital parts of our democracy. This issue features two places that represent the American spirit. Both offer wonderful scenic views and have historical significance: one as the home of one of our Founding Fathers, the other as a mountain named for a brigadier general and explorer.
Cynthia Collins
Cynthia Collins 

John Jay Homestead
The John Jay Homestead is just outside the hamlet of Katonah, NY, about an hour north of New York City's mid-town Manhattan. This was John Jay's home after he retired from a decades-long political career, holding various state and federal posts. In addition to being one of our Founding Fathers, he also served as the first Chief Justice of the United States, second Governor of New York, and U.S. Secretary of Foreign Affairs, as well as several other posts. His negotiation skills helped shape America's foreign policy and he was a leader in the fight against slavery.

John Jay Homestead (photo by Cynthia Collins)The land had been in his family since the early 1700s and was transferred to him through inheritance. He purchased additional acreage, giving him a total of 750 acres. He built a 24-room farmhouse in 1799 and, two years later, he and his wife moved in following his retirement. His wife died a few months later but he continued living there until his death in 1829 at age 83.

The house and property have been open to the public as a state historic site since 1964. The property's 62 acres includes the main house and several outer buildings, formal gardens, and outdoor walkways. The furnishings reflect wealthy country living in the 1820s. The house is open May 1 through Oct. 15 with tours available according to the schedule posted in the hours of operation. Special activities for the 4th of July, listed under upcoming events, include a reading of the Declaration of Independence and an all-day fair held on the grounds.

Pikes Peak
Pikes Peak is a 14,115-foot peak near Colorado Springs, CO, that is part of the Rocky Mountains. It was named for the 19th-century brigadier general and explorer, Zebulon Pike, who led a party in 1806 to explore the southern portion of the land acquired through the Louisiana Purchase. The group only took summer clothes with them, underestimating the time it would take. They arrived at the base of the mountain in cold weather in November so did not climb to the summit. The first written account of explorers reaching the summit was in 1820. The mountain was named Pikes Peak in 1840.
Pikes PeakPikes Peak has played quite a role in American history. During the Colorado Gold Rush, it became a landmark for miners heading west. The slogan "Pikes Peak or Bust" was painted on wagons and signs. In 1893, it served as the inspiration for the poem, "America The Beautiful," by Katherine Lee Bates when she took a carriage ride to the summit. The first cog railway to the top and the first weather station were some of the features added during the 19th century.

Pikes Peak, which has been part of Native America life for thousands of years, continues to draw tourists. Visitors can either drive to the summit, take the cog rail, bicycle, or hike. The mountain is also used for special events such as the Pikes Peak Marathon, the third oldest race still in existence in the nation. Participants go on foot to the summit and back for a round trip of slightly more than 26 miles. The elevation that is above 14,000 feet became a National Historic Landmark in 1963.
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The Unicorn Tree
The Unicorn Tree by Cynthia Collins

A teenage girl whose brother is lost at sea –

The diary of a nineteenth-century woman –

And the special place that binds them…

For reviews, excerpts, and summary, see

Ghost story and maritime adventure...
Available at
Photo credits: John Jay Homestead: courtesy of Cynthia Collins. Pikes Peak: courtesy of Pikes Peak America's Mountain/

All articles in this newsletter are by Cynthia Collins. The featured historic site section contains general information. The other articles may not be reprinted without written permission. Subscriber lists are not sold or given to any third parties and historic sites are not charged for being featured. To suggest historic sites for future issues, request article reprint permission, or any comments/questions regarding this newsletter, please contact Cynthia Collins.
Copyright © 2017 Cynthia Collins, All rights reserved.

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