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

Sports, Cars & Other Pastimes

The Dog That Played Lassie

Lassie became a movie star despite starting life as a spirited, unwanted pup. In 1940 Rudd Weatherwax and his brother, Frank, had just started their... continue »

Strongheart: An Action-Adventure Star

Strongheart was the first dog “movie star” to appear in dramatic roles. The handsome German shepherd was fast and strong;... continue »

The Taco Bell Dog: Gidget

The Taco Bell dog, Gidget, was a 12-pound Chihuahua that was in the right place at the right time to become a big star. Taco... continue »

Roscoe (Fatty) Arbuckle’s Dog, Luke

Fatty Arbuckle’s dog, Luke, was one of the most talented stars of silent films.  In a day when camera tricks were technologically not possible, Luke... continue »

The Delacorte Clock in Central Park Zoo

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

James Reese Europe: Bandleader Who Popularized Jazz and Ragtime

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... continue »

Dorothy Dandridge, First African-American Nominated for a Best-Actress Oscar

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... continue »

Black America: An 1895 Stage Extravaganza for the North

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... continue »

Marshall Major Taylor: Champion Cyclist

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.... continue »

Jay Silverheels, Played Tonto in The Lone Ranger

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... continue »

The Story of Cigar Store Indians

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... continue »

Old Yeller Played by Spike, a Lab/Mastiff Mix

Old Yeller, or the dog that played Old Yeller, was a homeless dog found in a shelter in Van Nuys, California.  The dog’s real name... continue »