Alexander Gets National Park Service Commitment to Support Legislation to Study Polk Home

Says failing to include Polk home in the National Park System would be a “glaring omission”

Posted on June 10, 2015

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“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. … The special resource study that this legislation would require is the next step toward preserving President Polk’s home and belongings, and I am glad to have the support of the National Park Service.” – Lamar Alexander

WASHINGTON, June 10, 2015 –U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) received a commitment from National Park Service Associate Director Victor Knox to support legislation that directs the Secretary of the Interior to study the James K. Polk home in Columbia, Tenn., a step toward preserving the president’s home as a “national treasure.”

“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. Failing to include his home in the National Park System would be a glaring omission,” Alexander said in a statement. “The special resource study that this legislation would require is the next step toward preserving President Polk’s home and belongings, and I am glad to have the support of the National Park Service. I can’t think of a better way to encourage the study of United States history and what it means to be an American than to make sure that our presidential homes are properly cared for.”

In April, a reconnaissance survey found that the James K. Polk Home is nationally significant and could meet the criteria for inclusion in the National Park System. In 2013, Alexander sent a letter to the director of the National Park Service requesting that the organization conduct a reconnaissance survey of the James K. Polk Home to determine its significance and sustainability as a unit of the National Park System. In 1961, the James K. Polk Home was designated as a National Historic Landmark.

In the Energy and Natural Resources hearing today, National Park Service Associate Director Victor Knox told Sen. Alexander that the National Park Service would support legislation that directs the Secretary of the Interior to study the James K. Polk home.

The James K. Polk Home Study Act requires the Secretary of Interior to conduct a special resource study for the James K. Polk Home and evaluate the suitability and feasibility of designating the site as a unit of the National Park System. Once the study is completed, the findings and recommendations will be submitted to the 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 Home is the only surviving home of the eleventh American president. President Polk is most notably remembered for his help in acquiring 800,000 square miles of territory during his administration and extending our country’s border west to the Pacific Ocean, which today makes up California and much of the Southwestern United States. His last act as president was to sign the bill that created the Department of the Interior, the agency that includes the National Park Service.

His childhood home is managed by dedicated members of the James K. Polk Memorial Association and contains more than 1,300 artifacts and original items from the president’s years in Tennessee and Washington, D.C, including furniture, White House artifacts, and political memorabilia.

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