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National Park Quiz 52: Celebrities

Do you know whether Madonna’s birth hospital is now situated in a national park? If you know where I was born, you know where she was born.
Photo by David Shankbone via wikiepedia.

Celebrity ce•leb•ri•ty (sə-lĕb'rĭ-tē) noun. A famous or renowned person.

1. True or false? Pop diva Madonna was born in a hospital that is now within the authorized boundaries of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

2. True or false? Celebrity murderer Charles Manson was arrested in Yosemite National Park.

3. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton once worked in an NPS unit that has since been redesignated and now bears the name
a. Natural Bridges National Monument
b. First Ladies National Historic Site
c. Death Valley National Park
d. Denali National Park

4. Actor/director Robert Redford once worked as a waiter in
a. Yosemite National Park
b. Grand Canyon National Park
c. Zion National Park
d. Redwood National Park

5. True or false? Britney Spears, Aerosmith, and Mary J. Blige once headlined a concert on the National Mall.

6. True or false? Singer John Denver co-wrote the 1971 song, Take Me Home, Country Roads, after visiting West Virginia’s New River Gorge National River.

7. True or false? Singer Dolly Parton was named official ambassador for Great Smoky Mountains National Park during the park’s 75th anniversary celebration this year.

8. True or false? There is a bend in Yellowstone’s Grand Loop Road that’s known as the Mae West Curve.

9. True or false? In 1994, Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley spent their honeymoon at a place that was formerly a unit of the National Park System.

10. Detroit is using economic stimulus funds to acquire land for a National Park System unit recently established to commemorate tycoon Henry Ford and the automobile, one of America’s greatest inventions.

Extra Credit Question:

11. What renowned black singer gave an open-air concert at the Lincoln Memorial on Easter Sunday, 1939?

Super Bonus Question:

12. With which National Park System unit in Utah is Stanford University founder Leland Stanford most closely associated?


(1) False. Madonna -- full name Madonna Louise Ciccone -- was born in Mercy Hospital in Bay City, Michigan. (I was born in that hospital too, for what that’s worth.)

(2) False. Manson was arrested in a national park aright, but it was Death Valley (then a National Monument). He had been roaming the park -- even soaking at the springs in Saline Valley -- and was living in an isolated cabin in the park when he was arrested in 1969. Manson was convicted and sentenced to death for the murders of movie star Sharon Tate, coffee heiress Abigail Folger, and three other victims. His sentence was commuted to life in prison in 1972. Manson, now 74, is incarcerated at Corcoran State Prison in California.

(3) d -- After graduating from Wellesley College in 1969, Hillary Clinton spent a summer “working her way across Alaska.” Washing dishes at Mount McKinley National Park (redesignated Denali National Park in 1980) was one of her briefly-held jobs.

(4) a -- Robert Redford (birth name Charles Robert Redford, Jr.) was a teenager in 1951 when he worked as a waiter at the Yosemite Lodge. He first visited the park when he was 10 years old and had just recovered from a bout with polio. Redford fell in love with Yosemite and enjoyed hiking and climbing in the park's backcountry.

(5) True. This particular concert, the "NFL Kickoff Live from the National Mall Presented By Pepsi Vanilla," was performed in September 2003. That was before the National Park Service decided it was inappropriate to allow a for-profit entity like the National Football League to use a national park for promotional purposes.

(6) False. This song, which is now the theme song of West Virginia University (and has been proposed as West Virginia’s official state song), was written years before John Denver ever set foot in the state of West Virginia. Give yourself a bonus point if you knew that New River Gorge National River (established 1978) did not even exist in 1971.

(7) True. Dolly was in many ways the perfect choice to be Great Smoky’s “anniversary ambassador.” She was born in Sevierville, Tennessee, and her Dollywood theme park is in Pigeon Forge near the park’s Gatlinburg entrance.

(8) True. Mae West Curve is the accepted name of a 180-degree bend in one section of the Grand Loop. Yellowstone tour-bus drivers of the 1930s apparently named the curve in honor of the voluptuous movie star.

(9) True. Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley accepted Donald Trump’s invitation to spend their honeymoon at one of Trump’s properties, the Mar-a-Lago mansion at Palm Beach, Florida. Mar-a-Lago (now the posh Mar-a-Lago Club) is the former Mar-a-Lago National Historic Site. Established in 1972, Mar-a-Lago NHS was delisted in 1980 without ever being opened to the public.

(10) False. Congress hasn’t authorized any such unit. Give yourself a bonus point if you knew that the the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village ("The Henry Ford") in Dearborn, perhaps the world's foremost automobile museum, is an official site of southeastern Michigan's MotorCities National Heritage Area. Give yourself another bonus point if you knew that the automobile was invented in Germany, not the United States.

(11) Marian Anderson presented the concert, which was enjoyed by a crowd of 75,000 as well as millions of radio listeners, after the Daughters of the American Revolution refused to let the famed black singer perform before an integrated audience at DAR-owned Constitution Hall.

(12) Leland Stanford was co-founder and president of the Central Pacific Railroad, which linked up with the Union Pacific Railroad near Promontory Point, Utah, to complete the nation’s first transcontinental railroad in 1869. Golden Spike National Historic Site is the National Park System unit that preserves this famous place.

Grading: 9 or 10 correct, rest on your laurels; 7 or 8 correct, pretty darn good; 6 correct, passably fair; 5 or fewer correct, nothing to brag about.

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