Maintaining A Legacy
An Administrative History of George Rogers Clark National Historical Park
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Significant Dates

May 23 — President Calvin Coolidge signs bill establishing the George Rogers Clark Sesquicentennial Commission.

February 14 — Frederick C. Hirons is selected as architect of the memorial.

October 2 — Commission selects Erza Winter to paint the memorial murals.

December 1 — Hermon MacNeil is selected to sculpt statuary.

May 26— Contractor W R. Heath informs George Rogers Clark Sesquicentennial Commission that memorial is complete.

April — Heath Construction Company arranges to have workers make first in a series of repairs of structure to try and stop leakage.

June 14 — President Franklin D. Roosevelt participates in dedication of George Rogers Clark Memorial.

June 30 — George Rogers Clark Sesquicentennial Commission dissolves at midnight State commission assumes responsibility for memorial.

August — Indiana Governor Clifford Townsend finalizes new administrative arrangement for memorial.

August 20 — State commission turns responsibility for memorial to Indiana Department of Conservation.

June 6 — U.S. House of Representatives passes bill authorizing transfer of George Rogers Clark Memorial to the National Park Service.

July 11 — U.S. Senate passes transfer bill.

July 23 — President Lyndon B. Johnson signs bill in Vincennes creating George Rogers Clark National Historical Park.

July 1 — Ownership of George Rogers Clark Memorial is transferred to the federal government.

September 10 — Robert L. Lagemann is appointed management assistant for the park.

May — Robert Lagemann gives first firearms demonstration at George Rogers Clark National Historical Park.

Summer — Seasonal rangers join park's interpretative program.

April — "Alice of Old Vincennes House" is torn down.

July 1 — Construction of fifty-space parking lot is completed.

August — Lincoln Home National Historic Site is authorized.

Winter — Harpers Ferry Center Museum Specialist Walter A. Nitkiewicz leads team in cleaning murals in memorial.

December — George Rogers Clark, Lincoln Boyhood and Lincoln Home are renamed Indiana-Illinois Group.

November — Lincoln Home is severed from Indiana-Illinois Group. George Rogers Clark and Lincoln Boyhood are administratively combined in the Southern Indiana group. John C.W. "Bilk" Riddle is placed in charge of group.

February — R-K Electric installs mercury vapor lighting in memorial skylight and new fluorescent lighting in memorial basement.

June-September — Cincinnati Floor Company removes surface and eight inches of concrete on memorial terrace and installs new concrete and Dex-o-Tex covering.

September — Preliminary meeting held with representatives of park, Harpers Ferry Center, Denver Service Center and Regional Office to set forth requirements for new visitor center.

December — As part of National Park Service realignment, George Rogers Clark National Historical Park is placed in Midwest Region.

March — Administration of park shifts from old Northeast Region to Midwest Region.

May 6 — Regional director approves preliminary plans drawn by James Associates for proposed visitor center.

June — Day-labor contract completed on floodwall. Fresh coat of stucco applied on park side. June — Contract for installing air conditioning in memorial let. Project completed in December.

August 16 — Congress approves appropriation bill which includes $535,000 for George Rogers Clark Visitor Center.

September — Group of Park Service officials express disapproval of visitor center design and location.

November — Midwest Regional Office approves final form of plans for visitor center. Opening of bids scheduled for January 1975.

January 30— Bids for new visitor center opened.

February — Regional director and park superintendent learn that President's Advisory Council on Historic Preservation believes selected site for visitor center would be a "visual intrusion on the historic scene." Director decides to eliminate project from construction, at least until problem of location can be resolved.

April 17 — Vincennes delegation meets Advisory Council on Historic Preservation Director Robert Garvey to discuss visitor center. A compromise on location is devised during a community meeting in Vincennes.

April 21 — Landscaping project begins. More than 700 shrubs and trees planted.

April 28 — NPS Associate Director Ernest A. Connally discussed the new location for the visitor center at a Vincennes meeting.

June 8 — Dedication ceremony held for ten headstones for Revolutionary War soldiers buried in the Old Cathedral Cemetery.

July 1 — George Rogers Clark National Historical Park officially separates from Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial and becomes an independent unit.

July 22-23 — Special Bicentennial production "We've Come Back For a Little Look Around" is presented on grounds behind memorial.

July 23 — Bids on the revised visitor center opened and reported.

August 20 — Official groundbreaking for new visitor center.

February 23 — "Kaskaskia Long Knives" arrive at park after completing 180-mile hike commemorating Clark's march of February 1779.

May 28 — Historic marker in honor of Sieur de Vincennes dedicated at corner of Second and Main streets, just inside park boundary.

June 5-6 — Brigade of the American Revolution holds encampment and military drill on park grounds behind Clark memorial.

July 4 — George Rogers Clark National Historical Park Visitor Center is officially opened.

November — Maintenance operations completes moves from old shop on alley to new basement facilities.

January 18 — Indiana Governor Otis Bowen and Mrs. Bowen visit park and visitor center.

July 9-10 — Members of the Old North West Alliance in encampment on park grounds.

December 21 — Emergency repairs (rehabilitative maintenance) on memorial roof completed.

March — Coal shortage forces park to suspend all but the most basic maintenance functions.

March 31 — The movie "A Few Men Well Conducted" makes its debut at park.

May 27 — Formal dedication of visitor center. Attending are U.S. Senator Birch Bayh, Indiana Lieutenant Governor Robert Orr and National Park Service Midwest Deputy Regional Director Randall Pope.

September — Cincinnati Floor Company repairs twelve areas on memorial terrace for cracks in Dex-o-Tex.

October 4 — Park planner Tom Balsanek, Midwest Regional Office, meets with Vincennes community leaders to discuss development of First Street-River Front area.

February 25 — U.S. Postal Service issues commemorative postal card on the bicentennial of Clark's capture of Fort Sackville. Mock surrender ceremony held inside memorial rotunda.

May 26-27 — Members of Old North West Territory Alliance encamp on park grounds.

September 10 — Contract let to Cincinnati Floor Company to replace upper two layers and surface of Dex-o-Tex waterproof decking originally laid in 1973 on memorial terrace.

February 29— Robert Lagemann steps down as park superintendent, continuing as a reemployed annuitant until new superintendent arrives.

June 29 — Roy J. Beasley, Jr. transfers from Sagamore Hill National Historic Site to become park superintendent.

July 29— NPS employees Tom Balsanek and George Painter present plan for Vincennes Memorial Mall.

September 29 — Chief of Interpretation Robert Holden begins series of biweekly articles, "Muskets, Tomahawks, and Long Rifles" in the Valley Advance, a local newspaper.

August 18 — Park's Resources Management Plan completed. Approved by regional director on November 3.

November 9-11 — Brick work on the inside of the memorial roof parapet wall inspected.

April — Major nighttime safety hazard created when exterior lights around memorial fail due to accumulated moisture damage.

October 13 — State of Indiana ceded concurrent jurisdiction over park property to the United States.

September 23 — Park's Statement for Management is revised.

October 22 — First Annual George Rogers Clark Trans-Appalachian Frontier History Conference held in cooperation with Vincennes University.

December — George Rogers Clark National Historical Park Historic Structures Report, Administrative Data Section and Architectural Data Section, is received.

December — Park learns that mayor of Vincennes and board of public works planning to build a trash transfer station less than one quarter-mile from the park boundary. Project defeated by city council on January 23, 1984.

December 11 — Superintendent Roy F. Beasley, Jr., transfers to Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area.

March 18 — Johnny D. Neal begins duty as park superintendent.

March 21 — Park personnel meet with members of the USS Vincennes Memorial Committee to discuss proposed memorial to U.S. Navy ships bearing name USS Vincennes.

June — Junior Ranger program is initiated.

June — Junior Ranger program runs through month with 20 local children participating

November 19 — Park personnel meet with board of directors for the Spirit of Vincennes Rendezvous to discuss the group's acquisition of property just south and west of the park.

December 12 — The Army Corps of Engineers holds a meeting in Vincennes to discuss the Wabash River Reconnaissance Study, a proposal to make the river navigable for river traffic.

April — Robert Holden stops writing "Muskets, Tomahawks and Long Rifles" after writing one hundred and fifty articles for area newspapers.

July 13 — Bicentennial celebration of the Northwest Ordinance held. Indiana Governor Robert Orr and U.S. Senator Dan Quayle attend ceremony.

November 19— Superintendent John Neal transfers to George Washington Carver National Monument. Ray Kimpel, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, arrives to be acting superintendent.

January — Revised Statement for Management submitted for regional review.

January 31 — Terry DiMattio transfers from Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine to become park superintendent.

April 1 — Park staff begins collecting entrance fee inside Clark memorial.

August 25 — Park observes 72nd birthday of National Park Service with open house.

January 11 — Patrick Engineering, Inc., conducts test borings along the floodwall as part of study for the preservation and repair of the floodwall. Foundation of the floodwall is also examined.

March 9 — Statement for Management approved by regional director.

April 1 — Second year of fee collection begins.

June — Ultra-violet filtration system installed on the glass windows on the east side of the memorial.

August 9 — USS Vincennes Association dedicates USS Vincennes memorial. Park takes extra security precautions.

August — Park prepares a Preliminary Assessment of the Qualifications of the Route of George Rogers Clark as a National Historic Trail.

October — Park maintenance crew plants 48 linden trees on memorial mall. December — Francis Vigo exhibit on display at the park.

January — Nose on the Francis Vigo statue is broken.

May — Superintendent Terry DiMattio transfers to Cabrillo National Monument.

August — James Holcomb transfers to George Rogers Clark National Historical Park as new superintendent from Morristown National Historical Park.

October 24 — Restoration sculptor Harold Vogel repairs Francis Vigo statue.

October — Vincennes Area Chamber of Commerce informs park that it is gathering support to donate 42 acres of Wabash River greenbelt land to the National Park Service.

January — Wabash River floods at Vincennes. River reaches height of 26.4 feet, within 30 inches of top of floodwall.

January — Projects to study the rehabilitation of the memorial heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, and the removal of asbestos begin.

August 25 — 75th anniversary of the National Park Service and the 25th anniversary of authorization of George Rogers Clark National Historical Park celebrated. Former park superintendent Robert Lagemann is speaker.

July — Park maintenance operation moves into new maintenance building.

August 2-4 — Midwest Regional Museum Specialist Abby Sue Fisher visits park to conduct a Collection Condition Survey.

August 23 — New maintenance building is dedicated.

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Last Updated: 28-Jul-2006