100 Years of Our National Parks

National Seashores

Motivated by concern for overdevelopment of beachfront property, Congress has set aside for public use some of the most beautiful capes, beaches, and barrier islands dotting the Atlantic coast between Massachusetts and Florida. Known as the National Seashores, the sites provide visitors with fishing, bird and whale watching, and walks among the ever-changing dunes. The creation of the National Seashores brought some of the country’s iconic lighthouses under Parks administration. The lighthouses have been featured on one of the most popular U.S. postage stamp series ever released.

2¢ Cape Hatteras block of four (National Parks Centennial Issue)

2¢ Cape Hatteras block of four
Scott USA 1451a (1972)

An act signed by President Ulysses S. Grant in 1872 established Yellowstone as the world’s first national park. A century later, the USPS celebrated with the four-denomination National Parks Centennial Issue, including this 2¢ Cape Hatteras National Seashore block of four. The sites now protected by the National Park Service illustrate America’s grand diversity.


Lighthouses Issues

America's coastal lighthouses, familiar symbols of safety and direction to mariners everywhere, are portrayed in a series of thirty commemorative stamps issued between 1990 and 2013. Artist Howard Koslow, who designed every stamp in the series, created the pencil sketch and oil painting shown here. The National Park Service owns more than three dozen historic lighthouses and light stations.

25¢ Cape Hatteras Light stamp art
25¢ Cape Hatteras Light stamp art (Lighthouses Issue)
Scott USA 2471 (1990
37¢ Cape Lookout Light stamp art
37¢ Cape Lookout Light stamp art (Southeastern Lighthouses Issue)
Scott USA 3788 (2003)

American sailor’s letter in a bottle, 1806

During Great Britain’s long war against Napoleonic France (1803-1815), the Royal Navy searched American ships at sea looking for British sailors who had deserted. About 10,000 American-born sailors were carried off in these impressment raids, which were an important major cause of the War of 1812.

This letter was written by an American taken from the merchant ship Lion, which sailed from New York on November 26, 1805 to trade in the Caribbean. He corked it into a bottle and dropped it into the Atlantic Ocean near the coast of Colombia in South America. Carried by the powerful Atlantic Gulf Stream current, it came ashore at Cape Hatteras, North Carolina nearly six months later. It was found by William Jennett, from whom the U.S. government had purchased the land for the Cape Hatteras Light, and delivered to customs officials.

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American sailor’s letter, page one
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American sailor’s letter, page two

Loan from Gordon E. Eubanks, Jr.