James W. Loewen (1942-2021)

We mourn the loss of our friend and colleague and remain committed to the work he began.

Table of Contents for Lies Across America

Introductory Essays                                                      

      In What Ways Were We Warped?                                 

      Some Functions of Public History                                

      The Sociology Of Historic Sites                             

      Historic Sites Are Always a Tale of Two Eras                 

      Hieratic Scale in Historic Monuments                     

The Far West                                                  

      1.  Alaska  Denali (Mt. McKinley):  The Tallest Mountain — The Silliest Naming

      2.  Hawaii  Honolulu:  King Kamehameha I, The Roman

      3.  California   Sacramento:  The Flat Earth Myth on the West Coast

      4.  California   Sacramento:  Exploiting vs. Exterminating the Natives

      5. California   San Francisco:  China Beach Leaves Out The Bad Parts

      6.  California   Downieville:  Killing a Man is Not News            

      7.  Oregon   La Grande:  Don’t “Discover” ‘Til You See The Eyes of the Whites!

      8.  Washington   Cowlitz County:  No Communists Here!

      9.  Washington   Centralia:  Using Nationalism To Redefine A Troublesome Statue

      10. Nevada   Hickison Summit:  What We Know and What We Don’t Know about Rock Art

      11.  Nevada   Nye County:  Don’t Criticize Big Brother 

The Mountains        

      12.  Idaho   Almo:  Circle the Wagons, Boys — It’s Tourist Season  

      13.  Utah   North of St. George:  Bad Things Happen in the Passive Voice  

      14.  Arizona   Navajo Reservation:  Calling Native Americans Bad Names

      15. Montana   Helena:  No Confederate Dead?  No Problem!  Invent Them!

      16. Wyoming   South Pass City:  A Woman Shoulda Done It!

      17. Colorado   Pagosa Springs:  Tall Tales in the West              

      18. Colorado   Leadville:  Licking The Corporate Hand That Feeds You

      19. New Mexico   Alcalde:  The Footloose Statue    

The Great Plains    

      20. Oklahoma   Oklahoma City:  The Oklahoma State History Museum Confederate Room Tells No History

      21. Kansas   Gardner:  Which Came First, Wilderness Or Civilization?

      22. Nebraska   Red Cloud:  No Lesbians on the Landscape 

      23. South Dakota   Brookings:  American Indians Only Roved for about a Hundred Years  

      24. North Dakota   Devils Lake:  The Devil is Winning, Six to One 

The Midwest

      25. Minnesota   St. Paul:  “Serving the Cause of Humanity”  

      26. Iowa   Muscatine:  Red Men Only — No Indians Allowed  

      27. Missouri   Hannibal:  Domesticating Mark Twain  

      28. Wisconsin   Racine:  Not the First Auto 

      29. Illinois   Chicago:  America’s Most Toppled Monument  

      30. Indiana   Graysville:  Coming Into Indiana Minus a Body Part 

      31. Indiana   Indianapolis:  The Invisible Empire Remains Invisible 

      32. Kentucky:  Lexington:  Putting the He in Hero

      33. Kentucky   Hodgenville:  Abraham Lincoln’s Birthplace Cabin — Built Thirty Years after His Death!

      34. Michigan   Dearborn:  Honoring a Segregationist   

      35. Ohio   Delaware:  Who Menaced Whom?

The South        

      36. Texas   Gainesville:  “No Nation Rose So White and Fair; None Fell So Free of Crime”

      37. Texas   Alba:  The Only Honest Sundown Town in the United States

      38. Texas   Pittsburg:  It Never Got Off the Ground 

      39. Texas    Fredericksburg:  The Real War Will Never Get into the War Museums

      40. Texas   Galveston:  This Building Used to Be a Hardware Store

      41. Arkansas   Little Rock:  Men Make History; Women Make Wives

      42. Louisiana  Laplace:  Suppressing a Slave Revolt for the Second Time

      43. Louisiana   Colfax:  Mystifying the Colfax Riot and Lying about Reconstruction

      44. Louisiana   New Orleans:  The White League Begins to Take a Beating

      45. Louisiana   Baton Rouge:  The Toppled “Darky” 

      46. Louisiana    Fort Jackson:  Let Us Now Praise Famous Thieves

      47. Mississippi   Itta Bena:  A Black College Celebrates White Racists

      48. Alabama  Calhoun County:  If Russia Can Do It, Why Can’t We?

      49. Alabama   Tuscumbia:  Confining Helen Keller under House Arrest 

      50. Alabama   Scottsboro:  Famous Everywhere but at Home

      51. Tennessee   Remember Fort Pillow!

      52. Tennessee   Woodbury:  Forrest Rested Here

      53. Georgia   Stone Mountain:  A Confederate-KKK Shrine Encounters Turbulence

      54. Florida   Near Cedar Key:  The Missing Town of Rosewood

      55. South Carolina   Beech Island:  The Beech Island Agricultural Club Was Hardly What the Marker Implies

      56. South Carolina   Fort Mill:  To the Loyal Slaves

      57. South Carolina   Columbia:  Who Burned Columbia? 

      58. North Carolina   Bentonville Battlefield:  The Last Major Confederate Offensive of the Civil War 

      59. Virginia   Alexandria:  The Invisible Slave Trade 

      60. Virginia   Alexandria:  The Clash of the Martyrs  

      61. Virginia   Richmond:  “One of the Great Female Spies of All Times”

      62. Virginia   Richmond:  Slavery and Redemption  

      63. Virginia   Richmond:  The Liberation of Richmond 

      64. Virginia   Richmond:  Abraham Lincoln Walks through Richmond

      65. Virginia   Appomattox:  Getting Even the Numbers Wrong  

      66. Virginia   Stickleyville:  A Sign of Good Breeding   

The Atlantic States

      67. West Virginia   Union:  Is California West of the Alleghenies?  

      68. District of Columbia   Jefferson Memorial:  Juxtaposing Quotations to Misrepresent a Founding Father

      69. Maryland   Hampton:  “No History to Tell”

      70. Delaware   Reliance:  The Reverse Underground Railroad 

      71. Pennsylvania   Philadelphia:  Telling Amusing Incidents for the Tourists

      72. Pennsylvania   Valley Forge:  George Washington’s Desperate Prayer

      73. Pennsylvania   Lancaster:  “You’re Here to See the House”

      74. Pennsylvania   Gettysburg:  South Carolina Defines the Civil War in 1965

      75. Pennsylvania  Philadelphia:  Remember the “Splendid Little War” — Forget the Tawdry Larger Wars

      76. Pennsylvania   Philadelphia:  Celebrating Illegal Submarine Warfare

      77. New Jersey   Trenton:  The Pilgrims and Religious Freedom

      78. New York   Manhattan:  Making Native Americans Look Stupid

      79. New York   Alabama:  Which George Washington?

      80. New York   North Elba:  John Brown’s Plaque Puts Blacks at the Bottom!

      81. New York   Manhattan:  The Union League Club:  Traitors to Their Own Cause

      82. New York   Manhattan:  Selective Memory at USS Intrepid

New England

      83. Connecticut   Darien:  Omitting the Town’s Continuing Claim to Fame

      84. Massachusetts   Boston:  The Problem of the Common

      85. Massachusetts   Amherst:  Celebrating Genocide  

      86. Vermont   Burlington:  Shards of Minstrelsy on a Far-North Campus

      87. New Hampshire   Peterborough and Dublin:  Local History Wars    

      88. New Hampshire   Concord:  “Effective Political Leader” 

      89. Rhode Island   Block Island:  “Settlement” Means Fewer People! 

      90. Rhode Island   Warren and Barrington:  Fighting over the “Good Indian”

      91. Maine   Bar Harbor:  At Last — An Accurate Marker

Concluding Essays  

      Snowplow Revisionism

      Getting into a Dialogue with the Landscape 


      Appendix A:  Selecting the Sites

      Appendix B:  Ten Questions To Ask at a Historic Site

      Appendix C:  Twenty Candidates for “Toppling”