Historical Marker Webquest


Historical markers are one of the most iconic parts of an educational family road trip. You can see them placed throughout major highways and at popular tourist spots. Some families even drive around for the sole purpose of finding these jewels of information. Even when a vacation doesn’t focus on history, many folks still use them as stops between Point A and Point B. Needless to say, historical markers act as a crucial element of American travel.

But have you ever wondered why we have historical markers in the first place? How did we decide to create them, and how do we benefit from them today? In this guide, you’ll learn about the following topics:

  • How historical markers came to be in the United States
  • The intended purpose of historical markers
  • The four main types of historical markers
  • How historical markers impact the people who own them (and how you can take advantage of those effects, too)

Visit the links within the webquest and answer the questions that go along with the sites. Please make sure to answer in complete sentences. 


Please click on the link https://www.erielandmark.com/us-historical-markers/ and read about how the very first historical markers came about. Whenever you see a link, please click on it to help find your answers to the questions. 

How England Started the Phenomenon

While we consider historical plaques a staple of American journeys, we didn’t invent the idea. In fact, England cut us to the chase. Member of Parliament William Ewart  proposed the first-ever commemorative marker program in 1863.The Society of Arts picked up the idea in 1867, putting up two plaques in London honoring Lord Byron and Napoleon III. When the 1900s came around, the London County Council adopted the program and created official selection criteria.

The London County Council was abolished in 1965, but by then they had left a legacy of over 250 blue plaques located throughout the city. But, this isn’t the end of the markers’ story. The Greater London Council oversaw historical markers from 1966 to 1985. Now, the official London Plaques company handles their creation with oversight from the government.

1. The very first historical markers began 150 years ago and are the oldest in the world. In 1867, the first two plaques were created for what two prominent people in England? 1pt each



2. In the 35 years that the Society of Arts managed the scheme, it put up 35 plaques. Fewer than half of these survive, including those to John KeatsWilliam Makepeace Thackeray and Edmund Burke. Who were these prominent men in England's history? Click on their names to find out more about them. Using their information, describe who each one was and why they received a plaque. 2 pts. each




Please return to https://www.erielandmark.com/us-historical-markers/ and fill in the blanks with the correct answers. 

…And How the United States Joined in on the Fun


Three years after England started to consider historical markers, the United States government officially preserved their first historic area in 1.______________. During the coming years, prominent veterans’ organizations rallied for the government to do the same with well-known historic 2.___________. Academics also urged the United States to protect 3._____________sites and the 4.___________ within. These movements influenced President Theodore Roosevelt to sign the 5._________________________. The Antiquities Act authorized the President to name historic 6.__________, 7.________ and 8.___________ as national monuments.

President Woodrow Wilson established the 9.________________________as a part of the Department of the Interior in 1916. The Service declared one of their primary purposes as 10._____________ the historic elements of the parks and monuments they managed. This new organization wanted to preserve history and grow as a department. So they 11._____________for sites controlled by the Agriculture and War departments. Almost 12._____________after the National Park Service started, they succeeded in having the 13.___________________ passed. In 1935, this act established a 14._________________________________________________________________________. The National Park Service first issued 15.___________ plaques for historical landmarks in 1960.

On the state level, states like Virginia started their historical marker programs as early as the first third of the 20th century. Pennsylvania, Colorado and Indiana had markers even before the start of Virginia’s program in 16.__________. Other states began programs a few 17._________ later when roadside historical markers became 18.__________. Whether designated by the federal government or state, historical markers give places of significance the 19.___________they deserve.


What Do Historical Markers Commemorate?

We usually think of places when we hear about historical markers, but these plaques can also help us remember 20._________________. When a marker does commemorate a location, either the 21._______ or 22.____________________ oversees its registration. Meanwhile, only 23.________ handle people and events. 24._____________________________ determine the appearance of state historical markers. Meanwhile, National Register plaques come in bronze or aluminum. So, if you see the state’s designated marker appearance, you could learn about a 25._________, 26.________ or an 27.________. But, a National Park Service plaque marks a 28.__________ since it doesn’t commemorate people or events.

When a marker describes a person, that person has a great significance to the area. They can appear near the historical figure’s home, a statue of the person or a location where the person did something important. Consider these examples:

  • In 29._______, Ala., the I Had A Dream marker pays tribute to 30.____________________, and the activists in the Civil Rights movement. You can find it at the 31._________ where he led the famous 50-mile march to Montgomery.
  • The General Andrew Jackson marker in 32.__________, Ala., honors the place where he spoke to his soldiers during the 33.______________________.

Location markers highlight 34._____________________ recognized by the National Register or the state. These plaques memorialize 35.___________, 36._________, 37.___________, 38.__________ and 39._________. You can find markers at locations like:

  • The 40._______________, where you can find multiple historic markers explaining its 41._________ and 42._____________. While some of them are behind barriers, they are all within 43._______ distance for most people.
  • The Alamo, where a marker tells the story of the 44._________ of the Alamo in 45.___________________. You only have to walk across the street from the iconic 46.______ to see it.

You can usually find a historical event marker at the place where the event 47._____________. They honor major happenings in U.S. history or the local area, such as:

  • 48.________________________, which has a marker located at East Cemetery Hill. At this location, 49.__________ soldiers pushed 50._____________ soldiers out of their land.
  • 51.___________________________, which we remember with multiple markers at the 52.__________ site. These plaques establish the 53.________________ as a national landmark and memorialize the 54._________ who lost their lives during the event.

As you can see, we use historical plaques to tell stories about essential parts of our past. They make history feel more real by taking us to those points in time in the area where it happened.


Types of Historical Marker Programs


In addition to markers created by the National Register, you can find plaques designated by states, municipalities and universities. Just like the original blue plaques in London, these markers are overseen and made on a smaller scale than national markers. These are the most common types of historical marker programs:

  • State Historical Marker Programs: After 55._____________, historical tourism 56.___________. In the 1950s and 1960s, families would go on trips seeking out 57.__________ historical markers and sites of interest. In response to the increasing number of Americans going on heritage tours, many states 58.____________________ their historical marker programs. State residents serve as a 59.________ component of these marker programs. Both Pennsylvania and Texas allow citizens to 60.___________ new historical markers every 61.______. You can find over 62.__________ plaques throughout Pennsylvania, and Texas recognizes more than 63.____________historic landmarks. 64.__________ propose, maintain and visit these historical markers to show their state pride and learn something new.
  • City/Local Historical Marker Programs: City historical marker programs work a lot like state programs except on a 65.__________scale. Residents and organizations 66.____________, 67.__________ and 68._________ plaques and markers that recognize a historically important part of the city. The Nashville metro area has 161 markers throughout the county and takes applications on an 69.__________________. In Winston-Salem, N.C., the city government opens up applications during a 70.___________ part of the year, then accepts 71._____________ new monuments every 72._______. Municipal governments can 73.________ a marker program to fit their needs and resources.
  • University Historical Marker Programs: Universities can decide how historical plaques appear on their 74.___________. Many established colleges in the United States have been around for years, so they can tell us plenty about the past through 75._____________________. Even when a university has a more recent founding date, a lot of colleges want to remember important events in the 76.__________ history. You can find university markers in all sorts of places on campus, such as 77.________, 78._______ and 79.______. The school 80. _________ who manages their marker program. While the University of Arkansas has a dedicated 81.___________, alumni and the Office of Strategic Communications work 82.___________ to establish Penn State’s markers.
  • Historic Districts: Historic districts have both 83._______ and 84.___________ authorities maintaining them. The National Register determines what 85._______ as a historic district, but 86._________ for recognition involves state and federal employees. Under the 87.__________ categories, a district consists of multiple locations in the same area that share 88.__________ significance. If you or a neighbor thinks your area could qualify, you have to get in touch with your state’s Historic Preservation Officier. After reviewing your 89.____________________________, they will work with the National Register to make things official.


The Impacts of a Historical Marker Program

Why are historical markers important, and how do we benefit from them? In addition to honoring our past, we get many material and immaterial perks from having historical plaques. When we commemorate where history happened, the entire community grows stronger. Historical markers boost the surrounding area by enhancing the following parts of a town:

  • Education: Placing a historical marker brings 90.___________ to places and events that your community members might not 91._______ about otherwise. Creating an official historic location can even give 92._____________ an opportunity for a field trip that enhances student learning. Visitors can learn more about the 93._______ when you can show them what parts of your community history you value. 94.________ gives us context for current events and helps us 95.________________ what to do in the future. By establishing a 96.____________ of knowledge in your area, learners of all ages can develop an important 97.____________ to your monument.
  • Tourism:98.______________________ tourism has a global value of over one billion dollars. Tourists who visit your area for historical or cultural reasons tend to not only stay longer, but they also 99._________ more money. If your 100.____________ doesn’t have a big tourism 101.___________, you can use heritage tourism as a source of wealth and outside visitors. As a bonus, the 102.______________ associated with cultural attractions makes it easier for tourists to enjoy and remember their trips. And if they have a fun and unforgettable experience, they’ll be more likely to visit again.

  • Jobs: With increased tourism comes a higher 103.____________ of jobs. Tourism creates more job openings by requiring employees to work at larger historic monuments. In some cases, a historical site becomes so 105.___________ that it becomes a crucial element of the local 106._________. Historic attractions can 107.__________ on their own to gain more revenue, or small 108.______________ that appeal to tourists can open to serve visitors. Even businesses not geared towards visitors can 109.__________ due to more exposure and activity. Historic districts tend to attract businesses offering high-demand jobs in education, STEM, government administration and the arts.
  • Property Values: Thanks to the previously listed benefits, 110.___________________ can occur and property values in a designated historical area can go 111._____ compared to regions without heritage sites. For example, the historic district in 112.___________, Ga., has property values much 113._________ than the city average. This 114._____ became important when real estate across the nation became 115.__________. Thanks to its inherent 116._____, the historic district faced lower rates of 116._______________. In turn, the higher 117.______________ values led to more public school funding, enhancing the education of local children. Historic 118.______________ also increased the quality of life in the historic district, making the area more 119.__________ and 120.___________.

When community heritage thrives, so does the community itself. Not only will locals better appreciate their home, but you can show visitors why your area matters. Sound good? 



So now that you know the history of the historical marker, now you need to find out what you have to do to get a historical marker for Lyman T. Johnson.