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The USA's Newest Landmarks Run the Gamut, from Art to Airplane Crash Site

April 24, 2014 at 2:54 PM | by | ()

Four newly designated National Historic Landmarks were named by U.S. Department of the Interior only yesterday, but only three of the four will welcome your visit. Most accessible is the "Detroit Industry" murals (pictured above) by artist Diego Rivera.

Of the group, the odd one out is actually a tragic airplane crash site, with exact coordinates kept secret although it exists somewhere in the more remote stretches of the Grand Canyon.

Here's all four newly landmarked areas, and why they matter:

· What: Diego Rivera's "Detroit Industry" Murals
Where: inside the Detroit Institute of Art. Detroit, MI.
Why: The artwork, created from 1932-33, surround visitors of the DIA's Garden Court with its depictions of the city's manufacturing, labor, and modernism. The mural is considered the "United States’ finest, modern monumental artwork devoted to industry."

· What: 1956 Grand Canyon TWA-United Airlines Aviation Accident Site
Where: inside the Grand Canyon, AZ.
Why: This site and its designation as a landmark is most curious, as the public isn't allowed to visit (or even know the exact location). The Atlantic explains the secrecy, but the Department of the Interior explains the reason for its importance:

On June 30, 1956, a Trans World Airlines Super Constellation L-1049 and a United Airlines DC-7 collided in uncongested airspace 21,000 feet over the Grand Canyon in Arizona, killing all 128 people onboard the two flights. The tragedy spurred an unprecedented effort to modernize and increase safety in America’s postwar airways, culminating in the establishment of the modern Federal Aviation Administration. Other improvements that resulted from the crash included nationwide radar coverage, a common military/civilian navigation system, and the development of technologies such as collision avoidance systems and flight data recorders.

· What: Adlai Stevenson II Farm
Where: Mettawa, IL
Why: This rural farm was the home of Stevenson, twice-nominated Democratic candidate for the presidency and Ambassador to the United Nations, and served as base for most of his work during the Cold War.

· What: George Nakashima Woodworker Complex
Where: Bucks County, PA
Why: Nakashima, who died in 1990, "expresses a worldview formed by his architectural education and exposure to European Modernism, Eastern religious philosophy and traditional Japanese craft traditions" and was "an important voice for the artist craftsmen helping to create a new paradigm for studio furniture production in the postwar period."

The National Historic Landmarks Program first began listing sites of historic importance in 1960, and it now counts over 2,500 locations.

[Photos: Detroit Institute of Art]

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