Alexander Says Efforts To Preserve Polk Home Making Progress

Monday, April 20, 2015

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander Monday released the following statement on the National Park Service’s completion of a reconnaissance survey, which found that the James K. Polk Home in Columbia, Tn. is nationally significant and could meet the criteria for inclusion in the national park system. 

“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,” Senator Alexander said. “This survey proves that the efforts by Columbia’s dedicated residents are making progress, and is an important step in the process toward preserving President Polk’s home and belongings and elevating it to the national treasure it deserves to be.” 

The James K. Polk Ancestral Home is the only surviving home of the eleventh American president. Polk is most notably remembered for his help as president in acquiring 800,000 square miles of territory during his administration and extending the 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 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. 

In 2013, Senator Alexander sent a letter to the director of the National Park Service requesting that the organization conduct a reconnaissance survey of the Polk Home to determine its significance and sustainability as a National Park Service site. This action, combined with the efforts by the members of the James K. Polk Memorial Association to promote and preserve the history of James K. Polk, have allowed the Polk Home to remain open to Tennesseans and visitors across the country. 

The reconnaissance survey is the first step in the process that is required to begin the process to consider including the Polk Home in the National Park System.


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