4 Secrets Hidden in National Monuments
National Monuments usually make great vacation or travel destinations, especially if you’re looking for an educational trip. These secrets hidden in national monuments will make your travel adventure even more interesting.
Buried Treasure at the Alamo
There are many rumors and theories about the treasure said to be hidden at the Alamo. The most popular involves the “San Saba Treasure.” According to legend, Jim Bowie found the treasure that was earmarked to fund the state of Texas. However, the Alamo fell under attack and Bowie along with Davy Crockett hid the treasure. In 1995, archeologist were given the green light to excavate one small area. The dig resulted in bits of pottery and chips of flint – no treasure. The treasure remains at large and rumored to be waiting to be found somewhere in the Alamo.
The White House
In 2010, a not-so-secret bunker was constructed under President Barak Obama’s leadership. Officially, the construction was described as an “infrastructure systems replacement.” The General Services Administration also stated it is an “elaborate renovation of the building’s aging air-conditioning and electrical systems.” Of course, conspiracy theories began brewing the second the tall fences went up around the West Wing. Rumor has it, there is trap door that leads to this secret bunker located somewhere in the oval office. This is only one of the few “secrets” of The White House. Presidents Truman, Roosevelt, and Reagan all reportedly constructed or made additions to the underground tunnel systems. Some rumors suggest these tunnels all connect to the Capitol, Blair House, the VP Residence, Camp David, and the Pentagon, but there is no solid evidence to support the claims.
The Statue of Liberty
The iconic monument is a gift from the French. Lady Liberty represents many ideals but also serves as a celebration of the Union’s victory in the American Civil War. However, many visitors may little note or overlook the shackle and broken chain on the statue’s right foot. The chain disappears under the statue’s robe, but reappears in front of her left foot. There are several theories as to what the chain means. Most associations surround the topic of slavery, but The National Park Service’s website debunks the notion stating:
“Although the broken shackle is a powerful image, the meaning behind it was not yet a reality for African Americans in 1886. After the Statue’s dedication in 1886, the Black Press began to debunk romantic notions of the Statue of Liberty and American History. Racism and discrimination towards African Americans did not end after the Civil War or with the dedication of the Statue – it continued on for more than a century. As a result, the Statue was not a symbol of democratic government or Enlightenment ideals for African Americans but rather a source of pain. Instead of representing freedom and justice for all, the Statue emphasized the bitter ironies of America’s professed identity as a just and free society for all people regardless of race.”
This secret is more widely known. A hidden Hall is stashed behind President Lincoln’s head. In the 1930s monument’s designer, Gutzon Borglum, began to create the vault to stow documents chronicling America’s history. However, Borglum passed away in 1941 and the Hall was not completed. It wasn’t until 1998 that the project was finished. There, sealed behind a 1,200-pound granite slab, the real US Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, a biography of Borglum, and descriptions of each of the presidents are said to be tucked away. Of course, this isn’t open to the public and history hunters can only see the ruin-like doorway. If the real documents are behind Rushmore…that would suggest the ones currently being protected and displayed are decoys!
All these theories are interesting, it’s also a great way to spark conversation and talks about history. Next time you visit one of these landmarks, make sure you explore the mysteries of history.
Have you visited any of these National Monuments? If you are going to make sure to share these fun stories with your children!