Office of the Secretary For Immediate Release: August 27, 2001
WASHINGTON-- Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton today announced the designation of 15 new National Historic Landmarks (NHL) in 11 states and the District of Columbia. The designated sites were recommended to the Secretary by the National Park System Advisory Board for their national significance in American history and culture.
The new landmarks include sites associated with the struggle to desegregate schools in the nation's capital and Virginia, including the John Phillip Sousa Junior High School, in Washington, D.C., and the New Kent School and George W. Watkins School outside of Richmond in New Kent County, Virginia. The new NHLs also include the Samuel Wadsworth Russell House, considered to be the premier domestic example of the Corinthian Greek Revival style in the Northeast; the Modesty, a classic Long Island Sound shellfish dredging sloop; and the Randolph Field Historic District in Texas, which played an exceptional role in the development of the air component of the U.S. Army, and eventually achieved its independence as the U.S. Air Force in September 1947.
"These special sites underscore our heritage and tell stories of periods and events in our history," Norton said. "By preserving these unique sites, we share our culture and rich diversity with our children for future generations to learn from and enjoy."
The Historic Sites Act of 1935 authorized the Secretary of the Interior to recognize historic places judged to have exceptional value to the nation. The NHL program was established to identify and protect places possessing exceptional value in illustrating the nation's heritage.
NHLs are identified by theme and special studies prepared or overseen by National Park Service (NPS) historians and archaeologists. The NPS often conducts NHL studies in partnership with federal, state, tribal or local preservation officials; the academic community; independent scholars; and others knowledgeable about a particular subject. The sites announced today were designated under the following historic themes:
Architecture - The following historic sites were nominated for embodying distinguishing characteristics of an architectural type exceptionally valuable for a study of the period, style, or method of construction:
Nicholas Jarrot Mansion, Cahokia, Ill. Merchants' Exchange Building, Philadelphia, Pa. Dutch Reformed Church, Newburgh, N.Y. Samuel Wadsworth Russell House, Middletown, Conn. Gibson House, Boston, Mass. S.R. Crown Hall, Chicago, Ill.
Maritime - The following sites were nominated for their importance in national maritime history: Modesty, West Sayville, N.Y. Rudolph Oyster House, West Sayville, N.Y. J.C. Lore Oyster House, Solomons, Md.
Racial Desegregation in Public Education -The following sites have achieved historic significance during the period of school desegregation in the United States: John Philip Sousa Jr. High School, Washington, D.C. New Kent School and George W. Watkins School, New Kent County, Va.
Individual Topics - The following historic sites were chosen for their various individual contributions to the broad scope of American history: Fresno Sanitary Landfill, Fresno, Calif. Sheldon Jackson School, Sitka, Alaska Bethania Historic District, Bethania, N.C. Randolph Field Historic District, Bexar County, Texas
Landmarks are recognized by the Secretary of the Interior as nationally significant properties of exceptional value in representing or illustrating an important theme in the history of the Nation. These nationally significant properties help us understand the history of the Nation and illustrate the nationwide impact of events or persons associated with the property, its architectural type or style, or information potential.
All NHLs are included in the NPS' National Register of Historic Places, which is the nation's official list of the cultural resources and historic properties worthy of preservation. Landmarks constitute 2,341, or roughly 3 percent, of approximately 73,000 sites listed in the National Register; the others are of state and local significance.
Most NHLs are owned by private individuals or groups. Others are owned by local, state, tribal, or federal government agencies, or may have mixed public-private ownership. Owners of NHLs are free to manage their property as they choose, provided no federal license, permit, or funding is involved. The owner agrees to observe simple preservation precepts with respect to the property and receives technical advice and assistance from preservation experts if needed.
Landmark designation offers advantages to owners who wish to preserve their properties. A bronze plaque bearing the name of the NHL and attesting to its national significance is presented to the owner upon request. NHL owners may be able to