News release from Sen. Lamar Alexander’s office:
WASHINGTON, June 4, 2015 – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) has introduced legislation directing the Secretary of the Interior to take the next step in preserving former President James K. Polk’s home in Columbia, Tenn. 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,” 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.”
In April, the 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.
Today, Alexander introduced the James K. Polk Home Study Act requesting 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.
Note: “History Bill” Carey, executive director of Tennessee History for Kids, points out that the Columbia house was the boyhood home of Polk, actually owned by his parents, and that the former president’s own Nashville residence was torn down in 1907. His review of the Polk and his homes (with pictures) is HERE.