Lewis and Clark tribute #847, Hysham, Montana
Lewis and Clark tribute #847, Hysham, Montana

History Tourist Attractions

Let's be frank -- you don't need f-u-n to spell history. Historical attractions are the last thing most of us want to see when we hit the road. But why must this be so? If we can put mango into iced tea, can't we put fun into our National Heritage?

Many have tried, and the junkyards of tourism are littered with history attractions that failed. Some thought they could trick us by creating "Living History" -- but if the idea of dipping candles is dull, then watching someone do it live isn't a big improvement.

Presidents in portholes, National Presidential Wax Museum, Keystone, South Dakota.
Presidents in portholes, National Presidential Wax Museum, Keystone, South Dakota.

No. We shy away from history for the same reason we avoid newspaper editorials and public television. If it doesn't sing, wiggle or explode, who cares?

Happily, compared to other parts of the world, America doesn't have a lot of history. Pity the poor folks in Europe; they can't move without tripping over some dusty relic or grave. Even if they wanted to pep things up by building a Children's Crusade Goofy Golf or a Diet of Worms Water Slide, they'd have to get permission from some Pope or Queen or Kaiser. Fat chance.

America has acreage and plenty of building materials, and that lets us make history that at least looks good on a postcard.

Do you want to blast cartoon characters into a rock commemorating a gruesome Indian massacre? Go right ahead! Do you want to immortalize your great-granduncle, the Chinese Noodle King, by building a giant replica of his first pot? Feel free! Why not build a Goofy Golf or a water slide while- you're at it?

Successful vacation entrepreneurs know that they must pep up what little history we do have, and their work is commendable. Wax dummies drip blood and give us insight into the lost art of torture. Bombs and rocketry bring back memories of wars we've fought in someone else's back yard. Wild West tourist towns stage live hangings and regularly succumb to exciting, mysterious fires -- just as the real places once did.

Cadiz - Home of Prosecutor of Lincoln's Assassins

History is what we decide it should be, and it should be as loud, fast and wiggly as possible.

A historical perspective awaits at:

History in dispute....you be the judge!

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July 6, 2020

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