I was a little too late to witness the grand moment when the site finally got its due. It's now a National Historic Landmark (thanks Anthony).
Ready for my rant?
The process of naming a property on the National Register of Historic Places is a burdensome one. Reaching national landmark status, the pinnacle of historic American recognition, is doubly so. The National Park Service oversees the processes, and asks for a ridiculous amount of work to be done to prove worthiness for a site. And in most instances, that's a good thing. Not every "Washington slept here" inn or "Paul Revere drank here" tavern should be on the list. The list should have integrity. It should truly mean something significant to American history took place there.
That said, some places should be automatically listed: famous battle sites, grand engineering landmarks, homesteads of historically important men and women, etc., much like Wayne Gretzky shouldn't have to wait five years to get into the hocky hall of fame. Instead, a place like the Alden House has to go through the process while, stupidly, a place like the visitors center at the Cape Cod National Seashore - a VISTORS CENTER! - is granted automatic National Register status the moment it hits the requisite age. How the National Park Service can sleep at night with regulations like that is beyond me.
So the Alden House, the famous home of John and Priscilla, with its ancient sturdy sills, its good morning staircase and its annual gathering of Alden descendants, has finally been given its due. That's damn good work on the part of the people who maintain it, and who make it available to teach us that not all of American history is about bureaucracy and unfairness for all.
Time: 36 minutes.
New species: None.
Stranger hellos: None.
What else is going on: joined Regina Porter, local historian, on Duxbury Beach for her talk in the character of Elizabeth Stockbridge Winslow White, 1870; worked the rest of the day; dinner with Michelle's family; wrote one short article for Northeast Boating.