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