Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Something of an Antiques Roadshow for urban-legend buffs, the PBS series History Detectives traveled all over the U.S., with local amateur historians posing riddles and a team of experts trying to provide the answers. Examples of the queries included: Was a Connecticut whaling ship once used to hide fugitive slaves? Did President Ulysses S. Grant really visit a New Jersey firehouse on America's Centenary? And why is an Atlantic City baseball stadium named for a little-known Negro League ballplayer? Seeking out rare artifacts and documents and tracking down seemingly insignificant clues, the History Detectives endeavored to separate fact from folklore. The team included Wesley Cowan and Elyse Luray, assessors from Antiques Roadshow; Gwendolyn Wright, architecture professor at Columbia University; and Tukufu Zuberi, a sociologist at the University of Pennsylvania. The first of History Detectives' ten episodes originally aired on July 14, 2003.