Historical Marker Ahead

by Melanie and Jim

We recently completed a 3000 mile road trip. Along the way, we saw signs several times a day which denoted an Historical Marker by the roadside. We usually drove on by and wondered what it said. Sometimes we got a glimpse of a few words in the title but nothing else. If we did stop to read, it was when we changed drivers.

We started a paper list of things to look up at a later time. The list included some of those historical sites that seemed interesting. The list also included word origins, reminders, funny things to remember, ideas for a blog post, etc.

When we got home from the trip, we checked off the items on the list, including some of the historical markers we passed. We checked to see if there was a database available online. It seemed like there should be one since these things are so prevalent.

Well, guess what. There is such a database. It is called the Historical Marker Database. Clever title. It is full of information for the traveler and the curious student of history.

When you enter the database, you are welcomed by a page loaded with several types of information such as the marker of the week, recently added markers, a tour of the site, most viewed this week, email signup, and much more. The About Us link describes the criteria for markers included or excluded, the names of those volunteering to keep the database up to date, and helpful notes for users who want to submit their own marker finds and information. The whole thing is a volunteer-run operation, which started in 2006.

Menus choices across the top look like this. The blue Near You button is very useful. It will give you several options to find markers in your vicinity. They are presented on a Google Map for you to click. Clicks on the red markers in the map yield links to more specific information and location. The Geographic Lists is also very helpful. It lists markers in the U.S. and in many countries.

Here is an example of what can be seen using the Near You button. The Amana Colonies are a few miles from our home. Detailed information and an image of the actual marker is included.

Take a look a the site. What historical markers are near you? Have you seen them in person?


8 thoughts on “Historical Marker Ahead

  1. BJ Good

    Once again you provide interesting information. It is great that there are a bunch of volunteers keeping the Historical Marker Database for those of us who remain curious learners about ‘stuff’.

  2. shoreacres

    This is a great site to know about. A couple of years ago, I bought a book called “Why Stop? A Guide to Texas Roadside Historical Markers.” It’s great fun because every marker in the state is listed by location. If you’re heading into new territory, you can read the historical markers from your route, and see if there’s somewhere you might want to stop. I suppose it might be online, too, but thumbing through a book still feels easier to me.

    Now, I’m off to check out the database.

    1. Jim R Post author

      For us curious types, we find pleasure in discovering the little gems and treasures found in books and sites like these. Enjoy your perusal.

      1. shoreacres

        My gracious! There are a lot of places listed. I like the map feature, especially. Being able to click on a pin and get the info is convenient.

        What surprised me most? there’s a marker for the first oleander planting in Galveston, which is known for the flowers, and has a festival every year.


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