National park designation sought for James K. Polk home

News release from Rep. Scott DesJarlais

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representatives Scott DesJarlais and Marsha Blackburn joined Senator Lamar Alexander today to introduce the James K. Polk Presidential Home Study Act in Congress. Their legislation would require the Interior Department to study the “suitability and feasibility” of designating the President James K. Polk Home and Museum in Columbia, Tennessee, a unit of the National Park Service.

The designation would ensure preservation of the historic site, which a nonprofit organization currently operates with limited state funding.“Tennessee has played an enormous role in the history of our country, especially its early founding, when leaders like Andrew Jackson and James Polk gave voice to western settlers and helped to create a land of vast expanse and opportunity for Americans,” said Rep. DesJarlais (R-TN-04). “I’m proud to join my colleagues and museum staff to help preserve the legacy of a great yet overlooked president, who called the Fourth District home.”

    “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,” said Sen. Alexander (R-TN), a member of the Senate subcommittee overseeing national parks. “Failing to include his home in the National Park System would be a glaring omission. 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.”

The 11th president’s sole remaining residence contains personal memorabilia and artifacts from his time in the White House, when Polk significantly expanded the boundaries of the United States. The site features an exhibition facility and other structures, which the nonprofit group has proposed to improve with federal assistance. Today’s House and Senate bills would begin the approval process.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN-07) said, “The home of President James K. Polk holds rich history for Tennesseans. He expanded the borders of the United States to the Pacific Ocean, added three states to the Union, issued the first postage stamp and made many other notable contributions during his time in office. It is important that we take the proper steps in preserving the legacy of President Polk, and I look forward to the passage of this legislation.”

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