Welcome to America Comes Alive!, a site I created to share little-known stories of America's past. These stories are about Americans - people just like you - who have made a difference and changed the course of history. Look around the site and find what inspires you. Kate Kelly

Entrepreneurs & Inventors

Walter Knott: Farmer and Theme Park Pioneer

Walter Knott (1889-1981) is best remembered for creating Knott’s Berry Farm, now a popular amusement park. He deserves to be remembered for many more contributions... continue »

First Rearview Mirror Marketed as “Cop-spotter”

The first widely distributed rearview mirror for automobiles was sold as the “Cop-spotter” by a fellow... continue »

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: Its Origin

Today Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is the star of a popular holiday television special and a live stage show. The song, based on the story,... continue »

X-Ray Shoe-Fitting Machine

The X-ray shoe-fitting machine (fluoroscope) was a common fixture in American shoe stores during the 1930s-50s. In ads, the machines were touted as a new... continue »

The Service Dog and the Professor

When chemistry students at Vanguard University in Costa Mesa, California, enter their classroom with big smiles, one might presume their faces represent their enthusiasm for... continue »

Buster Brown Shoes and Mary Janes

“I'm Buster Brown, and I live in a shoe. That's my dog, Tige, and he lives there, too,” went the jingle for Buster Brown shoes.... continue »

The Wheelchair: Who Thought Of It?

Wheelchairs today offer a very high level of independence and mobility to people who cannot walk because of injury or disability. When and how did... continue »

Lionel Barrymore: Actor Opened Door for People with Disabilities

Lionel Barrymore ((1878-1954) had a long and successful acting career, primarily playing character... continue »

Baseball Catcher’s Mask: How It Was Invented

In today’s game of baseball, the catcher’s mask is a fundamental piece of equipment. The player positioned behind home... continue »

Mar-a-Lago: The Winter White House

Mar-a-Lago, owned by President Donald Trump, was built by Marjorie Merriweather Post (1887-1973) in the 1920s. The cereal heiress... continue »

Grace Wisher, African American Helped Make Star Spangled Banner

Grace Wisher, age 13, was an indentured servant in the home of flag maker Mary Pickersgill of Baltimore. Pickersgill, who had taken over the business... continue »

Bessie Blount Griffin, Physical Therapist and Inventor

Bessie Blount (1914-2009) was a physical therapist who found herself working with injured soldiers during World War II. She recognized their need and desire to do... continue »