Photojournalist David Kidd has traveled to nearly every state in the union while on assignment. His keen interest in American history has led to some interesting and unique discoveries about the nation’s past.
American history is essentially the combined histories of the states, nearly all of which I have visited as Governing’s resident photojournalist and storyteller. Sometimes an assignment will take me directly to a location of historic consequence. Twice, I have been to America’s oldest meeting house in Pelham, Mass., where every year the town’s citizens break their own record for continuous, consecutive town meetings. The 244th annual meeting was called to order last October before the proceedings were moved outside because of COVID-19. Newly whitewashed, the building looks much the same as it did when it opened in 1740. Inside, the backs of the ancient pews still bear the scars of bored, knife-wielding graffiti artists. A few bare bulbs hanging from the ceiling and a 1950s-era kitchen are the only concessions to modern times.
On two separate occasions, two different Maryland governors have granted me access to the cupola atop the state Capitol’s dome. One of the two made a point of coming with me, sharing stories of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams conversing on the very spot where we stood, high above the city of Annapolis. Centuries-old wooden beams that support the dome are in full view while climbing the steep steps to the top. Several stories below, on the ground floor, a statue of General George Washington stands where he voluntarily resigned his military commission in 1783. At the time, America’s oldest statehouse also served as the U.S. capitol.
But American history doesn’t begin and end with the 13 original colonies. There are innumerable places to go, and things to see, in every state in the union. What follows are some of the historically significant places I’ve been lucky enough to visit while traveling for Governing.