In What Ways Were We Warped...

"When I was a boy on our annual summer vacation trips, the family car seemed to stop at every historic marker and monument. Maybe yours did, too. Dad thought it was "good for us," and I suppose in a way it was. Little did he suspect that it was also bad for us - that the lies we encountered on our trips across the United States subtly distorted our knowledge of the past and warped our view of the world." -- James Loewen in Lies Across America

Below are the "Top Ten Silliest Historical Sites". Be warned, however, I use the word "silliest" in a very reserved sense. On one hand, these sites are indeed silly - they distort and mangle the historical truth. On the other hand, however, they are also harmful and dangerous to those who accept their teachings as fact and truth. You have been warned:

1. Beginning in the West: Columbus "Discovers" Sacramento.
A huge statue of Christopher Columbus and Queen Isabella of Spain dominates the ground floor rotunda of the California Statehouse... Learn More

2. A "Most Horrible Indian Massacre" in Almo, Idaho.
Almo, Idaho, boasts the most deceitful historical marker in the United States, commemorating a "most horrible Indian massacre, 1861." It is also perhaps the most beautiful, carved as you can see into the shape of the state of Idaho. Only trouble is, the massacre never happened. ... Learn More

3. Pittsburg, Texas, Where Flight Began.
All ye who learned that the Wright brothers invented the airplane and first flew at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, hark! The State of Texas tells quite a different story.. Learn More

4. Confederate Dead Are Everywhere.
Heading east from Texas, we reach Cleveland, Mississippi, a hundred miles below Memphis. A typical Confederate monument dominates the lawn of the courthouse, , the usual bronze sentry on a pedestal, on whose base are the words: "Bolivar Troop Chapter U.D.C. / C.S.A. / To the memory of our Confederate dead / 1861-65." But Cleveland never had any Confederate dead... Learn More

5. Muscatine, Iowa, Honors Red Men Who Can't Join.
If we go straight up the Mississippi River to Iowa, eventually we will reach this statue in Muscatine's Riverside Park. A half-clad male Native American gazes toward the Mississippi... Learn More

6. Hodgenville, Kentucky: Abraham Lincoln's Birthplace Cabin - Built Thirty Years After His Death!
Long ago, a lad at the University of Wisconsin answered a class assignment with the now famous blooper, "Abraham Lincoln was born in a log cabin which he built with his own hands"... Learn More

7. The Jefferson Memorial Misquotes Thomas Jefferson.
The Jefferson Memorial, dedicated in Washington, D.C., in 1943, makes six errors in its quotation of the Declaration of Independence... Learn More

8. George Washington Prays for God's Help at Valley Forge.
The largest building on the tour of Valley Forge National Park is a private site, the Washington Memorial Chapel, begun in 1903. Its dominant characteristic is its two matched sets of dazzling stained glass windows, one depicting the life of Jesus Christ, the other the life of George Washington... Learn More

9. Those Stupid Indians! -- Selling Manhattan for $24 Worth of Beads!
At the bottom of Manhattan, this statue shows a Dutchman buying the island for $24 worth of beads in 1626. The truth is nothing so sweet... Learn More

10. A Three-Month War Gets Five Years.
In Dover, New Hampshire, and across the United States, stand more than 50 statues of "The Hiker." He represents the Spanish-American War much as "the doughboy" represents World War I... Learn More

In 2019 The Guardian printed an article by Loewen titled "The 10 Most Misleading American Historical Sites." He provided a somewhat different list, and of course Lies Across America lists still more misleading sites.

This site was created by Matt Cheney, is maintained by Phil Huckelberry, and is copyrighted by James W. Loewen 1997-2020.