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.

Pop culture is as American as apple pie. Enjoy the stories behind favorite hobbies, sports, and collectibles.


The Delacorte Clock in Central Park Zoo

Delacorte monkeysThe Delacorte Clock in Central Park has been delighting families with its carousel of animals dancing to musical chimes since it was first created in 1965.

The musical clock built above the arcade between the main part of the Central Park Zoo and the Children’s Zoo, was the idea of George T. Delacorte, Jr. (1894-1991), who built a successful publishing company that started out as Delacorte Press and eventually became Dell Publishing. As Delacorte’s wealth increased, he found it increasingly unsatisfying to write checks to various good causes; he wanted to contribute beautiful things–monuments, statues, and fountains–to New York City, the place he had always called home.

Continue reading…


"What can one person do?"
Read some of the stories on this site; you'll see that they revolve around single individuals who worked toward change.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead


James Reese Europe
James Reese Europe (1880-1919) was a gifted musician who achieved numerous firsts in bringing African-American musicians and music into the mainstream.  As a conductor and composer, he is credited with bringing ragtime and jazz to European audiences. He enlisted in what was to become the 369th… Continue reading »

Dorothy Dandridge
Dorothy Dandridge (1922-1965) was a successful actress and singer. She started performing as a child in local variety shows, and then eventually made a career for herself in films. Her portrayal of the lead role in Carmen Jones brought her positive acclaim, including the honor of being … Continue reading »

Black America
Black America was the brainchild of Nate Salsbury (1846-1902), the man who was also behind the very successful, long-running Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. In 1894 Salsbury found Brooklyn’s Ambrose Park free for a time, since the Wild West Show had just decamped to a new city. Salsbury… Continue reading »

Major Taylor
Marshall “Major” Taylor (1878-1932) was a champion cyclist who set numerous world records and was the first African-American cyclist to become an international sports star. At the time Taylor raced, cycling was a relatively young sport, but its popularity grew quickly. Endurance races, long distance races, and sprints… Continue reading »

Jay-Silverheels
Jay Silverheels (1912-1980) is best-remembered for his role as Tonto in The Lone Ranger, an ABC television program that ran for 221 episodes (1949-1957). Silverheels was a full-blooded Mohawk Indian born on the Six Nations Indian Reservation in Ontario, Canada. His birth name was Harold Smith, and he was… Continue reading »

cigar store Indian
In the 19th century many people could not read, so store owners placed carvings of various symbols in front of their shops so passersby knew what was sold inside. A carving of a wooden Indian indicated a tobacco store; a red, white and blue striped pole… Continue reading »

This Day in History

On May 23, 1934, notorious criminals Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were shot to death by Texas and Louisiana state police. The two were driving a stolen car near Sailes, Louisiana when the police took them down.  Bonnie and Clyde and the rest of their group—known as the Barrow Gang—were responsible for the deaths of at least 13 people.

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