Columbia Daily Herald: Alexander presents bill for Polk Home

Posted on June 23, 2015

Legislation introduced in the Senate on Wednesday pushed the James K. Polk Ancestral Home one step closer to being declared a national treasure.

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., sponsored the James K. Polk Home Study Act, which would direct Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell to conduct a special resource study on the home at 7th and High Streets in downtown Columbia. It is the only surviving home of the 11th president.

An April reconnaissance survey of the site indicated it met the criteria of being labeled a national treasure. If it meets the criteria from the Interior Department, it would qualify under the National Park Service umbrella.

“Tennessee is full of history, and the presidency of James K. Polk is one of our state’s great contributions to our nation’s history,” Alexander said. “Columbia’s dedicated residents are making progress, and this special resource study is the next step in the process toward preserving President Polk’s home and belongings and elevating the site to the national treasure it deserves to be.”

Once the Interior Department’s study is completed, the findings Committee on Natural Resources of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources of the Senate. Alexander is a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

The James K. Polk Memorial Association manages the home, which has more than 1,300 artifacts and original items from the president’s years in Tennessee and Washington, including furniture, White House artifacts and political memorabilia.

“The Polk Home is honored Sen. Alexander and the Park Service team sees us worthy of study,” Polk Home Director John Holtzapple said Wednesday. “This is a step in a long process.”

Polk was the second of three presidents from Tennessee, serving 1845-1949 after winning the Election of 1844. He served after Andrew Jackson (1829-1837) and before Andrew Johnson (1865-1869).

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