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12. Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial, Pennsylvania

Size: .02 acres

 

The memorial honoring freedom fighter and engineer Thaddeus (aka Tadeusz) Kościuszko may be the smallest national park site in the country, but it preserves epic tales of war and freedom. Polish-born Kościuszko helped American colonists win their independence from the British in the Revolutionary War by meticulously designing and fortifying military defenses. After the war, Kościuszko returned to Poland and led an uprising in 1794 in a failed attempt to liberate Poland and Lithuania from Russian occupation. After suffering serious injury and imprisonment, he was forced to live the rest of his life in exile in a number of countries, returning briefly to America in 1797. The memorial in Philadelphia—known as “K House” to locals—is the home where Kościuszko stayed on this second visit to America, years after helping to liberate his adopted countrymen.

 

Portrait by Juliusz Kossak.

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