Learn About History with Your Small Change! (page 2)

Learn About History with Your Small Change!

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Updated on May 14, 2014

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries worked to restore nesting population s, and by 1985 the bird was no longer endangered outside of Texas and Louisiana. Restoration work continued in Louisiana, and in 1990 the state surveyed approximately 1,333 nests. By 2007, there were 3,600 nesting pairs identified on Raccoon Island alone.


The year was 1635. In the spring, the Angel Gabriel had embarked from Bristol, England for the New World carrying 100 passengers. On the afternoon of August 14, the Angel Gabriel, battling increasing winds and a stiffening breeze, anchored off the Maine coast and began unloading passengers. Nightfall not only interrupted the unloading, but cloaked the arrival of a catastrophic hurricane, one of the worst in New England’s recorded history.

By the wee morning hours of the following day, the storm surge was running as high as twenty feet. The boiling surf and raging winds pushed the hapless galleon in John Bay, where it was slashed apart by the bay’s treacherous shoals and split open beneath Pemaquid Point’s granite cliffs. Fortunately, with many of the ship’s party already ashore, the disaster only claimed the lives of one sailor, between two and four settlers, and most of the cattle and cargo. In return, it left a stern reminder of the perils of navigation along Maine’s rocky coast .In 1826, Congress appointed $4,000 to construct a lighthouse at Pemaquid Point. The first lighthouse, completed shortly thereafter, soon crumbled—a demise caused, some suspect, by its builder's use of saltwater in his lime mortar.

Learning from its earlier mistake, the government’s subsequent contract specified that only fresh water be used, and by 1835, the thirty-eight-foot stone tower was in place, an edifice that still stands today. Because of its setting on a rock ledge, the lighthouse actually rises nearly eighty feet above the surf, and because of its fourth-order Fresnel lens, it can be spotted from fourteen nautical miles out to sea. Pemaquid Point and its lighthouse remain one of the most visited and photographed tourist spots in Maine. As such, it has a prized place on the back of Maine’s state quarter, along with the schooner Victory Chimes, which today remains the largest American flagged pure sailing vessel still in operation.


This state’s coin depicts Meriwether Lewis and William Clark’s historic return to St. Louis down the Missouri River. The genesis of the Lewis and Clark expedition lay in the late summer of 1802, when President Thomas Jefferson read of the Scots trader Alexander MacKenzie’s journey from Alberta, Canada, across the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Coast. Spurred by Great Britain’s challenge for the Pacific Northwest, Jefferson decided to mount an American expedition overland to the Pacific. To head the expedition, Jefferson had to look no further than his trusted personal secretary and fellow Virginian, Captain Meriwether Lewis of the U.S. Army. To help him lead the expedition, Lewis tabbed William Clark, a hardy army veteran, skilled at watercraft, mapmaking, and perhaps most important, leading soldiers.

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