Daily readings about people, places, and events in American history.
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June 30th
“The noblest forests, the loftiest granite domes”
On June 30, 1864, Abraham Lincoln signed legislation granting the Yosemite Valley to California “for public use, resort, and recreation.” Twenty-six years later, Yosemite National Park was created, thanks largely to naturalist John Muir, who spent decades studying, promoting, and protecting the area. Muir’s descriptions of this grand region still inspire:

Well may the Sierra be called the Range of Light, not the Snowy Range, for only in winter is it white, while all year it is bright.Of this glorious range the Yosemite National Park is a central section, 36 miles in length and 48 miles in breadth. The famous Yosemite Valley lies in the heart of it, and it includes the head waters of the Tuolumne and Merced rivers, two of the most songful streams in the world; innumerable lakes and waterfalls and smooth silky lawns; the noblest forests, the loftiest granite domes, the deepest ice-sculptured canyons, the brightest crystalline pavements, and snowy mountains soaring into the sky twelve and thirteen thousand feet, arrayed in open ranks and spiry pinnacled groups partially separated by tremendous canyons and amphitheaters; gardens on their sunny brows, avalanches thundering down their long white slopes, cataracts roaring gray and foaming in the crooked rugged gorges, and glaciers in their shadowy recesses working in silence, slowly completing their sculpture; new-born lakes at their feet, blue and green, free or encumbered with drifting icebergs like miniature Arctic Oceans, shining, sparkling, calm as stars.

Nowhere will you see the majestic operations of nature more clearly revealed beside the frailest, most gentle and peaceful things. Nearly all the park is a profound solitude. Yet it is full of charming company, full of God’s thoughts, a place of peace and safety amid the most exalted grandeur.

– from Our National Parks
(1901) by John Muir
American History Parade
1859
Frenchman Emile Blondin becomes the first daredevil to cross Niagara Falls on a tightrope.

1864
President Lincoln signs the Yosemite Valley Grant Act.

1950
President Truman orders U.S. ground troops into Korea.

1952
The soap opera The Guiding Light, the longest-running drama in television history, moves from radio to TV.

1953
The first Chevrolet Corvette rolls off the assembly line in Flint, Michigan.
This content is courtesy of The American Patriot's Almanac
© 2008, 2010 by William J. Bennett and John T.E. Cribb
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