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Unique Viewpoints in National Historic Landmark Photo Contest

December 14, 2011
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WASHINGTON – Summer clouds – darkening to later shed rain elsewhere – tumble across the sky above the Pecos Mission Ruins. Did Coronado see such a sky when he was here 471 years ago?

The photograph of the ruins at Pecos Pueblo National Historic Landmark was the top entry in the 2011 National Historic Landmark Photo Contest. “It does take you back in time,” National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis said of the photo by Eric Vondy of Phoenix.

Pecos Pueblo, South of Pecos, New Mexico Photographer: Eric Vondy This evocative photograph inspires the imagination, yet this site’s real history is legendary. Led by an Indian guide called “The Turk,” famous Spanish explorer Coronado and his men set out from this pueblo to search for Quivira, one of the legendary “Seven Cities of Gold.” Abandoned in 1838, today the site, east of Santa Fe, is managed by Pecos National Historical Park.

“The site’s real history is legendary,” Jarvis said. “The infamous Spanish explorer and his men set out from this pueblo in 1540 to search for Quivira, one of the legendary ‘Seven Cities of Gold.’ Their journey was based on stories from an Indian slave called El Turco or ‘The Turk.’ A year later and El Turco had ‘guided’ Coronado’s troop from what is today Pecos National Historical Park east of Santa Fe, N.M., to central Kansas. When they reached Quivira and found there was no gold, El Turco was promptly strangled. The expedition returned to Mexico City empty handed.”

The photo contest theme, 100 Days of National Historic Landmarks, was meant to encourage the selection of unique landmarks and unusual points of view. Alexandra Lord of the National Park Service’s National Historic Landmarks Program said, “There is a back story to each of the photo contest entries. The contest is a fun, interesting and educational way to share the history and heritage surrounding America’s national historic landmarks.”

Photographs for the 2011 contest came from amateur shutterbugs and professional photographers from all 50 states and other territories. “This was our 12th contest,” Lord said, “and as always we received the highest quality of photography in the entries offering an eclectic look at the natural, cultural and historic resources of national historic landmarks.”

Specifics of the 2012 contest will be released in spring so photographers should be taking pictures of national historic landmarks year round.

Vondy’s photograph and those of 12 other honorable mention photographers will appear in a National Park Service National Historic Landmark Program 2012 desk planner.

The contest winner: Eric Vondy, Phoenix; Pecos Pueblo, South of Pecos, N. M.

The honorable mentions:

  • John Conway, Vallejo, Calif.; the steamship C.A. Thayer, San Francisco.
  • Michael Ticcino, Audubon, Penn.; Valley Forge, Chester and Montgomery counties, Penn.
  • Shayne E. Watson, San Francisco; Bodie Historic District in California.
  • Kurt Miller, Trafford, Penn.; Kennywood Park Racer roller coaster, West Mifflin, Penn.
  • Steven Hyatt, Mount Pleasant, S.C.; Saint Philip’s Episcopal Church, as seen from Saint Michael’s Episcopal Church, Charleston, S.C.
  • Sayre Hutchison, Lakewood, Colo.; Philadelphia Toboggan Company Carousel No. 6, Kit Carson County Fairgrounds, Burlington, Colo.
  • Carolina J. Wierzbowski, Schenectady, N.Y.; Nott Memorial Hall, Union College Campus, Schenectady, N.Y.
  • Bill Bomar, Tuscaloosa, Ala.; Moundville Site, Moundville, Ala.
  • Graham Black, Tayhside, Scotland; Iolani Palace, Honolulu, Hawaii.
  • Richard F. Gaston, Cotati, Calif.; Point Reyes Lifeboat Station, Point Reyes National Seashore, Drakes Bay, Point Reyes, Calif.
  • Judy Hitzeman, Vallejo, Calif.; Missouri Botanical Gardens, St. Louis.
  • Matt Turner, Independence, Mo.; Abraham Lincoln Home, Springfield, Ill.See the contest photos athttp://www.nps.gov/history/nhl/2011photocontest/index.htmlAbout national historic landmarks: Designated by the Secretary of the Interior, national historic landmarks are nationally significant historic places that possess exceptional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States. A national historic landmark may be a historic building, site, structure, object, or district. Fewer than 2,500 historic places bear this national distinction. Working with citizens throughout the nation, the National Historic Landmarks Program draws upon the expertise of National Park Service staff to identify and nominate new landmarks and to provide assistance to existing landmarks.

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