Nobody goes there? House panel OKs Polk move

Gov. Bill Haslam attends a ceremony at the James K. Polk tomb in Nashville on Nov. 2, 2012. (Image credit: Gov. Bill Haslam’s office)

Supporters of moving the body of President James K. Polk body say he never wanted to be buried on the grounds of the state Capitol, a site about 500 feet from where his will called for him to be interred. So they want to move him about 50 miles south to Columbia, a city where he lived as a young man.

A favorite argument for moving the Polk tomb is that it is tucked away at a part of the Capitol complex that people rarely go to. That claim was repeated in testimony in the House State Government Committee on Tuesday, ignoring that many of the relocated legislative offices in the Cordell Hull building offer a direct view of the tomb — and of the regular foot traffic along the walkways.

The panel on Tuesday advanced the resolution to a full floor vote. The Senate approved the measure on a 20-6 vote last year. Supporters say the expression of support is needed for historical commissions and the courts to evaluate whether to approve the move.

Gov. Bill Haslam speaks to reporters at the tomb of President James K. Polk on Nov. 2, 2015. (Image credit: Gov. Bill Haslam’s office)

5 Responses to Nobody goes there? House panel OKs Polk move

  • Rob Mitchell says:

    I do not believe that moving the body of a president is appropriate.

  • Ed Lancaster says:

    For those of you jumping to the conclusion that this is a bad idea I’d ask that you do physically visit both the present tomb site and the Polk Home in Columbia, Tennessee.
    Then ask yourself which better honors the man and his family and educates the public about his presidency.
    If you have done both and still believe the Capitol grounds are best then we can respectfully disagree.

  • David Sowell says:

    President Polk wished to be buried in Nashville. Unfortunately, his home on Union Street was destroyed in 1899, but that doesn’t deny the fact the President wished to be buried in Nashville. William Strickland, principal architect of the State Capitol, designed the Polk Tomb to pay homage to the Capitol in the distance. Mrs. Polk was from Rutherford County, only briefly a resident of Columbia.
    Too many people have grand ideas to make the Polk Ancestral House in Columbia their local version of the Hermitage. It is not. Polk made his political career in Nashville, and Nashville was where he intended to spend eternity. To re inter the man three different times is outrageous and disrespectful.

  • Donna Locke says:

    Obviously, Polk wanted to be buried at his home in Nashville because his wife was still alive and living there at the time. None of that applies now. The two are together wherever.

  • Donna Locke says:

    Erik, Polk lived in Maury County/Columbia as a child also, in a different house or houses from the current Polk Home. One of his childhood homes, I think, was on Columbia’s Woodland Street, where my dad lived as a child. This is close to the square. The Polk family left North Carolina when Polk was 10 years old and came to Maury County then or not long after. The point is, Polk has a history in Columbia from childhood. A number of families here in Columbia have history with the Polks.

    I have seen several reporters on this story not doing much research. I’m talking about the usual suspects elsewhere.

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