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

The American Barn: A Disappearing American Icon

When we catch sight of a barn often from a distant highway, the rustic building generally reminds us of what we think of as a... continue »

Will Rogers (1879-1935): His Wisdom Still Applies Today

Will Rogers was a part-Cherokee American who grew up in Indian Territory and began his career in vaudeville doing rope tricks; he went on to... continue »

The True Inventor of Blue Jeans

I recently visited the Autry National Center here in Griffith Park in Los Angeles and enjoyed their exhibit, "Jews in the Los Angeles Mosaic." One... continue »

The Schoolhouse (or Children’s) Blizzard of 1888

When it comes to snow, those who remember bad storms remember 2011 and then we jump back to 1888. The storm then was really something.... continue »

Before the Rose Bowl There was the Tournament of Roses

What we know as the Rose Bowl Parade dates to 1890 and was conceived by the Valley Hunt Club of Pasadena. Members decorated their horse-drawn... continue »

Times Square Ball Drop and the Story Behind this New Year’s Eve Tradition

At one minute before midnight on December 31, 2015, people from around the world will welcome the year 2016 when the sparkling New Year’s Eve... continue »

The White House and Holidays Past

Even in the 1920s, the economy had quite an effect on the holidays, starting with changes for the president and his family. In 1928 Herbert... continue »

Santa’s Village: The First Franchised Amusement Park

Children today are much more sophisticated in their entertainment taste than children of the 1950s and ‘60s, but in our culture, the Santa story is... continue »

Stimulating Retail Sales in Stores 100 Years Ago

At holiday time, a special treat for the family often involved a trip downtown (or to the nearest big city) to see the store windows,... continue »

Wrapping Paper and Gifts: The Story Behind It

There is nothing new about wanting to surprise a friend or family member with the gift you have chosen…but it used to be much harder... continue »

The Woman Behind the Salvation Army Bell Ringers

 This year, 2013, I was pleasantly surprised to walk through midtown Manhattan and note the Salvation Army bell ringers have transformed themselves with the times.... continue »

The Inventors of Crayons: Binney & Smith

Binney & Smith was an outgrowth of a company begun in Peekskill, New York, in 1864 by Joseph W. Binney, the father of the man... continue »