Senate votes to place James K. Polk home in national park system

From Michael Collins:
On the same day the U.S. Treasury announced that Andrew Jackson’s image would be removed from the front of the $20 bill, Congress moved a step closer toward declaring James K. Polk’s Tennessee childhood home a national treasure.

A bill that passed the U.S. Senate last Wednesday contains a provision directing the Interior Secretary to study the feasibility of preserving the 11th president’s home in Columbia, just southwest of Nashville, as part of the national park system.

The two-story, brick structure, built in 1816 by Polk’s father while the future president was attending the University of North Carolina, is where Polk returned after graduation and where he began his legal and political career. The house contains more than 1,300 objects and original items from Polk’s years in Tennessee and Washington, including furniture, White House artifacts and political memorabilia.

Getting the house added to the national park system not only would make sense from a historical perspective, said U.S. Sen Lamar Alexander, a Maryville Republican.

It also would bring Polk’s legacy full circle. His last act as president was to sign the legislation that created the Interior Department, the agency that includes the National Park Service.

“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. “Wouldn’t it be more appropriate for the presidential home of the president who created the Department of Interior, the home of the National Park Service, to be managed by the National Park Service? I sure think so.”