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.

Celebrating American Expansion this Fourth of July

Today we know that much of the land that constitutes the United 4th of july 1st picStates of America was obtained by ill-gotten means.  Those who preceded us disregarded the native people who were there first. While slight effort has been made by the government at different forms of restitution, if we look forward we see that regardless of how the land was obtained, we have inherited an ongoing job: To be good and thoughtful stewards of both the land and the people who make up this great country.

My vacation this year was spent in Oregon, learning not about the birth of our country but its expansion.  We visited Fort Clatsop, the fort that had to be built in what is now western Oregon so that Lewis and Clark and their men could survive the winter of 1805-06. Continue reading

White Castle
White Castle holds the title of being the first fast-food restaurant inthe world. Their original hamburger eatery opened in Wichita, Kansas in 1921. The restaurant was the start of what has become a multi-billion dollar fast food industry. (White Castle predated… Continue reading »

Harlem Hellfighter
Henry Lincoln Johnson (1897-1929), who served valiantly as part of the 369th regiment (known as the Harlem Hellfighters) received the Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously in a ceremony at the White House on June 2, 2015, almost one hundred years after his return from war. At the… Continue reading »

Delacorte monkeys
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 1965. The musical clock built above the arcade between the main part of the Central Park Zoo and the Children’s Zoo, was… Continue reading »

Robert Ripley
Robert Ripley (1890-1949) achieved worldwide fame through his “Ripley’s Believe It or Not!” column, a wildly popular newspaper panel series and radio program during the 1930s and ’40s. The phrase, “Believe It or Not” became a well-known saying of the day. At a… Continue reading »

bubble gum
Bubble gum.  Few adults chew it, but all of us surely chewed the delightful pink stuff while growing up:  the sweet smell when unwrapping the paper, the powdery sugar that came off on one’s fingers, the fun  of reading the funnies wrapped inside, and the thrill of… Continue reading »

Emancipation Day
Slaveholding was still a way of life for some residents of Washington, D.C. even after the Civil War began.  But in 1862 that changed. The D.C. Emancipation Act was signed by President Abraham Lincoln on April 16, 1862, and it granted immediate emancipation to all slaves within… Continue reading »



Part of the inspiration for this site comes from a remark made by Nobel Peace Prize winner Jane Addams (1860-1935):

"People do not want to hear about simple things. They want to hear about great things—simply told."

This Day in History

On July 6, 1971 Louis Armstrong, one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, died at the age of 69. A world-renowned jazz trumpeter and vocalist, he was born into poverty in New Orleans and learned the cornet when he was incarcerated in a Boys’ Home for firing a gun into the air on New Year’s eve. He went on to become one of the best jazz trumpet players in the world with a style all his own.

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