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

Only in the USA

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 »

The First Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

Today the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree is a worldwide symbol of opulence and the grand life of those who live in New York City, but... continue »

Before Cyber Monday Shoppers Went Downtown

Do you remember being promised a trip “downtown” to see Christmas windows? Parents may have wanted to shop while there, but kids loved the holiday... continue »

Thanksgiving and the Presidential Pardon

This week I intended to look back at previous Thanksgiving celebrations in the White House, but I became distracted by other things that I decided... continue »

Veterans Day 2013: Saying Thanks to All Who Serve

November 11 is well-known as Veterans Day, and because Congress ultimately saw the wisdom of keeping it from being a floating holiday, celebrating it on... continue »

Detroit People–Past and Present–Who Made a Difference

Detroit is an American city that deserves far more respect than it's getting right now. Most of the recent headlines have focused on the city's... continue »

Why Carved Pumpkins are a Symbol of Halloween

The tradition of carving faces into vegetables dates to the Celts. As part of their autumnal celebration, they wanted to light the way to their... continue »