Marking the sixth year in a quarter-dollar coin series that honors national parks and sites are the 2015 America the Beautiful Quarters. The coins released for the year, the location of the site, and in the order they will be available are:
Nebraska – 2015 Homestead America Park Quarter
Louisiana – 2015 Kisatchie National Forest Quarter
North Carolina – 2015 Blue Ridge Parkway Quarter
These coins are just five of the 56 new quarter dollars issued in a series which started in 2010 and runs until 2021. Through the United States Mint America the Beautiful Quarters Program, one site of national interest from each state, the District of Columbia and the five US Territories was chosen to be featured on the reverse of a quarter dollar.
Final design selections for the reverse of each coin will probably not be known until near the beginning of the year in which they will be featured. The obverse, however, will still contain John Flanagan’s portrait of the first President of the United States, George Washington (as modified by William Cousins). Washington has been featured on the quarter dollar since 1932.
More information on the sites commemorated by the 2015 America the Beautiful Quarters follows:
Homestead National Monument of America
Through the Homestead Act of 1862, free land was available for the taking in the undeveloped territories of United States. All an interested individual had to do was file an application, make improvements to the land, and then file for a deed of title.
One of, if not the first individual to file a homestead claim was Daniel Freeman. Stories tell of him filing a mere 10 minutes after midnight on January 1, 1863 at the Land Office in Brownville, Nebraska. This was the first day in which the Act went into effect.
Accordingly, his homestead is now the site of the National Monument dedicated to the rugged individuals who pursued land ownership under the Homesteading Laws. Aside from the unique Heritage Center on property, visitors are also able to see a small tract of Tallgrass Prairie as it would have been in the days when Freeman arrived.
Kisatchie National Forest
Designated in 1930 by President Herbert Hoover, Kisatchie National Forest of Louisiana contains over 600,000 acres of old growth pine and bald cypress groves.
With a headquarters in Pineville, Louisiana, the forest boasts dozens of recreational sites along with over 100 miles of trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding, etc. Visitors are also able to enjoy activities like camping, swimming, hunting and even All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) riding within the park boundaries.
Of interest, the National Forest Service sometimes completes prescribed burns of sections of the forest.
Blue Ridge Parkway
Scenery is the topic of the day when it comes to discussions of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The 469 mile long road is located in both Virginia and North Carolina, but for the sake of the America the Beautiful Quarters Program, it is honored in the state of North Carolina.
Construction on the parkway itself began in 1935 under many of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s public works programs. Private contractors, Works Progress Administration, Civilian Conservation Corps and even the Civilian Public Service program all played a role in its completion.
The complete Parkway as it is presented today took over 52 years to complete, with the last section being added as recently as 1987. The entire road follows closely along the Blue Ridge mountain chain and offers spectacular views at almost every mile-marker.
Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge
Containing almost 16,000 acres, Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge is located on Delaware Bay in Delaware. Four-fifths of the entire refuge is actually tidal salt marsh but the area also includes fresh water pools, swamps, and grasslands.
The refuge was created in 1937 but has served as a breeding ground for migrating birds and other wildlife for centuries. Today, an estimated 100,000 annual visitors come to the refuge.
Also located within the refuge boundaries is the Allee House. It is a pre-revolutionary war farmhouse that is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Saratoga National Historical Park
Located forty miles north of Albany, New York, the Saratoga National Historical Park preserves the site of the Battle of Saratoga, known as the first major battle in which American Revolutionary forces were victorious over British forces.
With a victory to their name, American forces enjoyed a surge of support, both within the country and from foreign powers. Most notably among these was the new-found ally of France.
The state of New York preserved the area as a historic preserve in 1927 with it coming under the control of the National Park Service in 1938.
The America the Beautiful Quarters coins are issued at a rate of five a year in the order upon which the selected location came under the control of the federal government. Thus, as Yellowstone National Park was created in the 1800’s, it was featured in the first year of the program while a site like the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve of Kansas which was established in the last decade will not be seen on a quarter until 2020.
The America’s Beautiful National Parks Quarter Dollar Coin Act of 2008, which authorized the quarter dollars, also calls for large bullion coins to be issued as companions to the quarter dollars. They will feature the same designs as the quarters, but will be struck from five ounces of .999 fine silver to a diameter of 3 inches. The United States Mint has chosen to call the companion series the America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coin Program.