A dozen properties were declared National Historic Landmarks by the U.S. Department of the Interior in early April. Spread across 10 states, the properties were designated by Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne. The sites have to be recommended to the secretary by the National Park System Advisory Board, which voted on the recommendations at their meeting this past December. Fewer than 2,500 historic sites bear the title of National Historic Landmark, which remains the highest status accorded to historic properties in the United States. Eleven of the newly designated sites named are shown in the image gallery. (Not shown: Fig Island, an archaeologically rich coastal site near Charleston, S.C.)