George Rogers Clark Memorial
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Legislative History of the Memorial, 1929-66

A. Knox County & Vincennes Contribute $200,000

1. Governor Leslie's Veto

Governor Harry G. Leslie, who had succeed Governor Jackson in January 1929, refused to sign into law a bill passed by the 1929 session of the Indiana General Assembly extending for one year the four-mill tax for land acquisition. In a futile effort to get the governor to change his mind, twenty Vincennes civic leaders spent time with him on March 15. To justify his position, Governor Leslie blasted the Indiana Commission for its failure to push land acquisition. This had led to an escalation of land values. Leslie was certain the delay was a scheme to boost prices to be paid for desired property. When asked if he believed any members of the delegation were responsible for the delays, the governor retorted, "Those interested in boosting the real estate prices would not be at this meeting." [1]

Governor Leslie also condemned a situation by which the State government had no knowledge of the accounting of funds. He scored the absence of harmony that had resulted in the June 1928 vote reorganizing the Commission, "just because somebody didn't like somebody else." He challenged his visitors to tell him what the Commission had "in mind for the construction of the memorial." [2]

2. Knox County Votes $100,000 for the Memorial

Rebuffed by Governor Leslie, the Indiana Commission in its quest for funds turned to the Knox County Council. On September 4, 1929, Frank Culbertson and a number of Vincennes businessmen appeared before the county council to argue the need for $100,000. Culbertson, as spokesman, told of the great amount of money already expended in Knox County by the State commission and of the one million dollars authorized by Congress for the Clark Memorial. Public duty called for the county to shoulder its share of the cost. Brief statements in support of Culbertson's request were made by those who had accompanied him to the meeting. [3]

The council, impressed by what it had heard, passed a resolution to appropriate $100,000 to enable the Indiana Commission to complete the necessary land acquisition. [4] The money would be raised in $10,000 increments, to be contributed annually, and used to retire the bonds issued to provide funds for the Clark appropriation. To underwrite the undertaking, the taxpayers of Knox County would be required to pay a surcharge of 17 cents for every $100 of taxes paid. [5]

3. The City of Vincennes Appropriates $100,000

The county commissioners on January 28, 1930, met in special session and signed a contract with the Memorial Commission to make available the $100,000 voted by the county council. The contract provided that the money was to be kept in local banks until obligated. Three days later, on Friday evening, the Vincennes City Council voted an appropriation of $100,000 for the Clark Memorial. This action would provide ammunition for Culbertson when he traveled to Washington in the first week of February to open the fight for another $750,000 in Federal funds. He could now report that Knox County and Vincennes had done their part. [6]

B. Congress Votes Another $500,000 for the Memorial

1. The 1st Session of the 71st Congress Fails to Act

Architect Parsons had complained to the January 18, 1930, meeting of the National Commission about land acquisition delays and told the group that the State commission had not yet secured title to all the land needed for the Clark Memorial. Chairman Fess accordingly drafted a resolution declaring it necessary and essential for the development and completion of the project, for the State of Indiana to acquire "all the land indicated on the plat prepared by Parsons." [7]

News that the county and city had made available $200,000 for land acquisition was accordingly welcomed by Senator Fess. Already Representative Vestal of Indiana had introduced legislation into the 1st Session of the 71st Congress, calling for the appropriation of an additional $750,000 for the Clark Memorial. The bill had been referred to the Joint Committee of the Library, and public hearings scheduled for February. [8]

Although the hearings were held, Congress, with the nation in a depression, was in no mood for haste. It was June 28 before the Senate, spurred on by speeches by Senators Fess and Swanson, passed the Senate bill, which had been introduced by Senator Watson. Besides appropriating an additional $750, 000, the Watson measure extended the life of the National Commission to June 30, 1935. Representative Vestal's companion bill, however, was bottled up in committee, and before it could be sent to the floor of the House, the 1st session of the 71st Congress adjourned. [9]

2. The 3d Session of the 71st Congress Acts

Although Congress reconvened in December 1930, a number of weeks passed before the House Committee on the Library released Vestal's bill. Once again, the House reduced the appropriation, this time from $750,000 to $500,000. While House members held their ground in conference to adjust differences, the Clark Commission won a victory when it was agreed to let it contract for the full amount. Thus the Commission would not have to wait for an appropriation making the extra $500,000 available. On March 2, 1931, President Herbert Hoover signed the bill authorizing $500,000 to complete construction of the Clark Memorial. Of this sum, $300,000 would be immediately available. The remaining $200,000 would be authorized and paid "upon presentation of a certificate . . . signed by the chairman of the commission" attesting that an equal amount had been contributed by Indiana, Knox County, Vincennes, or other contributors. [10]

C. The Indiana General Assembly & Congress Provide Additional Funds

1. Governor Leslie Changes His Position

In 1931 Governor Leslie reversed himself and signed into law a bill passed by the General Assembly levying a one and one-half mill tax on each $100 of taxable property. Proceeds from this tax, which was to remain in effect for 12 months, were to be used to help underwrite land acquisition costs. [11]

The Commission, realizing that funds from this source would not become available until 1933, found the $200,000 appropriated by Vincennes and Knox County vital in carrying out its program.

In January 1932 Chairman Fess certified that Vincennes and Knox County had contributed $200,000 for "grading, improving and/or embellishing the site of the grounds adjacent to Fort Sackville, the ornamentation. of the memorial structure and/or the ornamentation of the bridge." He had been assured by officials of the General Accounting Office that this certificate "appeared" to meet the conditions of the act of February 28, 1931, as a condition for making $200,000 of the $500,000 authorized by that act available to the Commission. [12]

With this money in hand, the Executive Committee contracted with the Premier Construction Co. for the embellishment of the Indiana approach to the Lincoln Memorial Bridge.

2. The 1st Session of the 73d Congress Appropriates $96,650

The National Commission, with the memorial structure 85 per cent completed and most of the Federal funds obligated, in January 1933 asked the lame duck session of the 72d Congress for $250,000. This request was incorporated in Senate Bill 5625. Work remaining to be done, it was reported, consisted of an extension of the concrete sea wall, the finishing of the basement as a "Hall of Pioneers," filling, grading, and planting, and completion of certain of the grounds as courts dedicated to Clark's associates. The Joint Committee of the Library endorsed S. 5625. [13]

The Senate, acting on a favorable report of its Library Committee, added $250,000 for the Clark Memorial to the second deficiency appropriation bill. When the measure was sent to conference with the House, which had not provided any funds for the memorial in its version of the bill, the Senate's grant was stricken by the conferees. The full House approved the conference action, after which the second deficiency bill was passed. The lame duck session adjourned on the night of March 3, 1933, without providing funds to complete the memorial. [14]

Franklin D. Roosevelt was inaugurated as 32d President of the United States on March 4, 1933, and friends of the memorial introduced identical bills in the House and Senate appropriating $250,000 for completion of their pet project. Emergency measures to combat the depression and implement Roosevelt's New Deal occupied the first weeks of the opening session of the 73d Congress. Nevertheless, Frank Culbertson, who made a trip to Washington to lobby for the appropriation in late April, was hopeful Congress would act once the President's program had been enacted.

Members of the Commission began to fret as the weeks passed and no action was taken. Congress, however, did extend a measure of relief to the Commission, when in May it appropriated $96,650 for the memorial. This was the final increment of the $500,000 authorized by the 71st Congress on February 28, 1931. [15]

3. The 1st Session of the 73d Congress Authorizes $250,000

On June 10, 1933, the Senate approved a bill introduced by Senator Frederick Van Nuys of Indiana authorizing the appropriation of $250,000 for the completion of the Clark Memorial. Six days later, the House passed the bill and it was signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. [16]

4. The 74th Congress Authorizes $50,000 for the Memorial

In the summer of 1934, several members of the Commission determined to visit Washington to lobby for another Federal appropriation. Senator Fess, Dr. Coleman, and Culbertson spent the second week of August in the East inspecting Ezra Winter's murals and John Angel's model of the projected Vigo statue, and discussing the memorial with interested parties in Washington. Governmental officials were told that more funds were needed to: (a) purchase the property of the Central States Gas Company, an eyesore adjoining the memorial grounds on the west; (b) purchase the Knox County Infirmary at the foot of Willow Street, which would be vacated when the inmates were transferred to. the recently re-purchased county farm on Hart Street road; (c) to acquire the right-of-way of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, paralleling the Wabash, between the memorial park and the river; and (d) once the right-of-way was secured, to use it to extend the boulevard, constructed in 1928 and 1929, which now turned into Main Street, along the left bank of the Wabash to Willow Street, where it would turn south and follow Willow out of the city. [17]

Soon after the 74th Congress convened, Senator Van Nuys introduced legislation authorizing the appropriation of another $50,000 to complete work on the memorial and to extend the Commission from June 30, 1935, until June 30, 1937. Representative Arthur H. Greenwood promised Culbertson in May to introduce a companion bill in the House. [18]

Senator McKellar had replaced Fess as chairman of the Commission following the latter's defeat for re-election in November 1934. The Senate, responding to a speech by McKellar in which he voiced his opinion that "the George Rogers Clark Memorial . . . is as attractive . . . as the Lincoln Memorial in Washington," and that this money will be used "to eliminate some eyesores in the vicinity of this beautiful memorial," passed Van Nuys' bill. [19] Greenwood's companion bill encountered difficulty in the House. On July 16 while the House was considering the legislation, which was included in the second deficiency appropriation, a point of no quorum was raised and an adjournment forced. [20]When the measure was again taken up, it won approval, and on August 15, 1935, President Roosevelt signed it into law. [21]

In the same week, legislation was enacted to reimburse Culbertson for out-of-pocket expenses incurred by him while on Commission business during the period January 2, 1930, to October 26, 1934. The $1,857.67, for which Culbertson had submitted vouchers, was to be paid out of the unexpended funds available to the Commission. [22]

In the autumn of 1935 a deficiency measure was introduced carrying an appropriation of $40,000 of the $50,000 authorized for the Clark Memorial on August 15. The bill was a casualty of one of Senator Huey P. Long's last filibusters. At the 2d session of the 74th Congress, a deficiency bill appropriating a total of $367,000,000, including $50,000 for the Clark Memorial, sailed through Congress on February 11, 1936. Thanks to the late Senator Long, the Commission had an additional $10,000 to spend on landscaping and beautifying the grounds. [23]

D. Lack of Funds Dooms Several Projects

In May of 1936 Senator McKellar and Culbertson met in Washington with Vice-President C. W. Galloway of the Baltimore & Ohio. They came away with what Culbertson believed to be a promise by the railroad to remove the track paralleling the Wabash, north of the memorial grounds. This "promise" by Galloway was conditioned by an agreement with the Commission to provide the Baltimore & Ohio with another right-of-way for servicing industries southwest of the city presently served by the switch. Removal of the track would pave the way for extension of Culbertson's boulevard through the park. [24]

Although Congress in 1937 and again in 1938 refused to appropriate additional funds for the Clark Memorial, Culbertson continued to be obsessed with his plan to extend the boulevard from Main Street, through the memorial grounds, to Willow Street. He also hoped to construct a large parking lot on the land acquired from the gas company. [25]

When Congress refused to appropriate additional funds for the memorial, Culbertson turned to the Works Progress Administration. In August 1938 Culbertson prevailed on local WPA authorities to prepare a works program for the expenditure of $250,000 on the Clark Memorial. Two hundred men would be employed to build a 200-250 car parking lot near Willow Street; to remove the B & O tracks and to extend the boulevard; to extend the seawall and build drives through the grounds; and to improve and extend the lighting system. Plans for this ambitious program were dashed when WPA authorities in Washington refused, to allot necessary funds. [26] This doomed the plan to relocate the tracks, extend the boulevard, and construct the big parking lot.

E. Congress Twice Extends the Life of the Commission

In August 1937 Congress enacted and President Roosevelt signed legislation extending the life of the Federal Commission until June 30, 1938, and permitting it to disburse any unexpended balances of previous appropriations under its jurisdiction. [27] This action was repeated in June 1938, when the President signed the deficiency appropriation bill, containing an amendment prolonging the life of the Commission until July 1, 1939. Once again, no additional funds were appropriated. [28]

F. The Dedication of the Clark Memorial

1. Preliminary Arrangements

Planning for the June 7, 1936, dedication of the memorial by President Franklin D. Roosevelt had started to jell by mid-February 1936. The Commission would be in charge of the ceremonies, along with arrangements for the President's reception, while the city would look after traffic and supervise concessionaires. The Vigo and Father Gibault statues would be dedicated on the same date in separate ceremonies.

Edgar N. Haskins, executive secretary of the State Commission, was charged by Culbertson with overseeing construction of the speakers' rostrum and the platform upon which guests were to be seated. He would also look to the wiring of the grounds for amplifiers and radio. [29]

2. The President's Plans

Because of other commitments, President Roosevelt had to request that the dedication be rescheduled for Sunday, June 14. He would depart Washington on the 8th for Little Rock, Arkansas, where he planned a speech on the 10th in commemoration of the centennial of Arkansas' entrance into the Union, and then proceed to Dallas to deliver an address at the Texas Centennial Exposition on the morning of June 12. He then planned to motor to Fort Worth, make a brief talk, and spend the night at the home of his son Elliott. The President would leave the next day for Vincennes. With a second speech scheduled for the 14th in Kentucky, Roosevelt would spend only 90 minutes in Vincennes.

On learning of the President's proposed schedule, Clem Richards of the Commission telegraphed the White House:

Dedication Clark Memorial . . . June 14 hope you will reconsider and allot more time to dedication services. Federal government has expended almost $2,000,000 and Indiana almost $1,000,000 on this project. Governors of five neighboring states have tentatively accepted invitations to attend. Many prominent people . . . plan to attend. Due to Convention of Indiana Veterans of Foreign Wars . . . Vincennes that day, all local accommodations engaged by them and impossible for our guests to arrive Vincennes by nine in morning and they will be terribly disappointed. [30]

When no reply was received, the Commission had Senator Van Nuys, an Indiana Democrat, bring pressure on the White House. Despite this action, the President refused to change his schedule. [31]

This caused a shuffling of plans. With the President coming in the morning, it was determined to beef up the ceremonies dedicating the Vigo and Gibault statues, now scheduled to take place after Roosevelt's departure. The Italian ambassador would fly in to participate in the program at the Vigo memorial, while services for the dedication of the Gibault statue were to begin at noon in the Old Cathedral Plaza, with the Bishops of Indianapolis and Belleview, Illinois, taking a prominent part. [32]

3. The Dedication

The Presidential train chuffed into the Union Depot at 9 a.m., on June 14, 1936. Detraining, the President and First Lady were welcomed by Governor Paul V. McNutt of Indiana and Governor Henry Horner of Illinois. Roosevelt and his official party were driven to the memorial, the President and his wife riding in a seven-passenger Packard.

Despite the early hour, there was a huge crowd of 50,000 on hand to watch the program. Among those in attendance were the six distinguished artists whose talents had shaped the memorial. F. C. Hirons, Albin Polasek, Ezra Winter, and William Parsons had arrived the night before, and meeting at the Grand had discussed the project. Each praised the work of the others, and all joined in declaring the "memorial . . . has no equal in the entire United States, with the possible exception of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D. C." John Angel and Hermon MacNeil reached Vincennes in time to take their seats on the flag-draped platform, before the band struck up, "Hail to the Chief." [33]

Governor McNutt, as master of ceremonies, introduced President Roosevelt as the crowd cheered. Roosevelt pegged his speech on George Rogers Clark's pronouncement at Kaskaskia in 1778 regarding religious toleration in America. He urged a rearming against "new devices of crime and cupidity," and championed the conservation of the nation's resources, which "short-sighted pioneer settlers wasted by denuding forests, failing to stop soil erosion, overgrazing, and failure to rotate crops and provide food production." The latter two themes are as relevant today as in 1936. [34]

As soon as the President finished speaking and after the applause had subsided, he was escorted back to his train by Governors McNutt and Horner. The train started for Louisville, while the Governors and the First Lady returned to the memorial grounds. After the dedication of the Vigo and Father Gibault statues, Mrs. Roosevelt traveled with Governor Horner to Graysville, Illinois, where she addressed a farmer's picnic.

President Roosevelt was met at Louisville by a group of Kentucky political leaders. He was motored to Hodgenville, where he visited Lincoln's birthplace memorial. The Presidential party then proceeded to Elizabethtown, where it boarded the train for the return to the nation's capital. [35]

G. The First Effort to Establish a GRC National Memorial Fails

1. The General Assembly Authorizes the Transfer of the Memorial

A number of Indianians questioned the capability of the State to maintain the memorial. Consequently, legislation was introduced in the General Assembly in February 1935 to authorize the State to transfer to the United States the memorial. [36] Little opposition was encountered. The bill was passed by both branches of the legislature and signed into law by Governor McNutt on March 12. [37]

Supporters of the legislation had pointed out that the Federal Government, if it took over maintenance of the memorial, could be expected to convert the unfinished portion of the basement into a hall of pioneers with statues and objects to interpret the historical significance of both the French and American periods. [38]

2. The National Park Service's Initial Interest in the Memorial

As early as 1933 the National Park Service of the Department of the Interior had had some administrative responsibility for the memorial. Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes was notified by Dr. Coleman on July 11, 1933, that under a recent Executive Order of the President, the "expenditures of the Federal Government for the purpose of . . . the George Rogers Clark Sesquicentennial Commission" were to be administered by his department. [39]

Prior to the passage of the act authorizing the State to transfer the memorial to the United States, Dr. Coleman forwarded to Secretary Ickes several photographs of the structure. He also informed Ickes that the Commission was looking forward to the day when the memorial would become a unit of the National Park System. [40]

In the summer of 1938 an official of the National Park Service spent several hours at the memorial. He told the custodian that he was studying the area, but he gave the impression that his superiors were not interested in its addition to the Service. He was heard to remark that the memorial was in "bad shape."

To Dr. Coleman this "indicated the desirability of putting the building into nearly as perfect condition as possible." As he did not believe they could have the seepage repaired under the guarantee, they would have to have a contract "drawn up for repairs . . . and put through in the regular manner."

The Park Service man did say, however, that if the Federal Government were to take over administration of the memorial, legislation would be required. [41]

3. FDR Vetoes a Bill Establishing the GRC National Memorial

To follow through on this suggestion, companion bills were introduced into the Senate and House on May 8, 1939, providing for the transfer of the Clark Memorial to the National Park Service, thereby removing it from the jurisdiction of the Commission. [42] Prompt action by the respective library committees paved the way for favorable votes by the Senate and House on the establishment of a George Rogers Clark National Memorial. President Roosevelt on August 5 vetoed the legislation. On doing so, he pointed out that the joint resolution creating the National Commission had provided that the State of Indiana "shall assume, without expense to the Federal Government, the perpetual care and maintenance" of the memorial. As yet, he had not been advised of any conditions justifying the repeal of this provision of the joint resolution of May 23, 1928. [43]

H. Indiana Assumes Responsibility for the Memorial

1. Governor Townsend Acts

Midnight on June 30, 1939, marked the end of the National Commission, and the State Commission stepped in and took charge of the Memorial. It would retain administrative responsibility while Congress debated the merit of establishing the area as a National Memorial. [44] The President's veto of the National Memorial legislation was a bitter disappointment. The State must now face up to its responsibility.

In February 1940, Governor Francis Townsend wrote Secretary Culbertson that he was anxious to complete negotiations whereby the Conservation Department would take charge of the memorial. Culbertson stalled for time, replying that additional time was needed to complete the abstract of deeds for the property. As fast as recorded, the deeds were turned over to the land division of the State auditor's office. By the end of May all but four deeds had been certified. These deeds had been lost, Culbertson admitted. Valuable time was squandered while new deeds were drawn. [45]

By August 13, 1940, all papers were finally in order, and the Indiana Commission met in Indianapolis to formally turn over title to the memorial to the State, for management by the Conservation Department. When a quorum failed to appear, a new meeting was scheduled for the 20th. This time there was a quorum, and Governor Townsend issued a proclamation dissolving the Commission and turning over "custody, management, and maintenance of the memorial to the Department of Conservation, together with the funds hither to administered by the George Rogers Clark Commission." Townsend pointed out that while title to the memorial and grounds were now vested in the State of Indiana, they because of the national significance of the site, would at some future date become a prized possession of the United States. The Commission turned over to the State $2,000 of unexpended funds appropriated by the United States. [46]

The only immediate change noted was that now the United States and Indiana State flags were flown from the flagstaff, where formerly only "Old Glory" had been displayed. In addition, the $7,500 budgeted for maintenance by the Conservation Department could now be obligated. Maintenance of the grounds would now be in charge of John Davidson and Leo Foyer, while Charles L. Kuhn was continued as day custodian and John N. Bey as night watchman. Davidson and Boyer encountered considerable difficulty in cleaning up the area. Night loiterers had littered the grounds with rubbish. Hereafter persons found loafing in the park after dark would be subject to arrest. [47]

2. Maintenance Ceases as Commission & State Squabble

While the State dragged its feet and the Indiana Commission chased down deeds, no money was spent for maintenance of the grounds and structures. No provision was made to mow the grounds, and by the fourth week of May 1940, the once-beautiful area was overgrown with knee-high grass and weeds. When the Dr. C. D. Matthewses and their son of the faculty of Southern College of Birmingham, Alabama, visited the memorial on the 25th and complained of conditions and took photographs, the Vincennes Sun-Commercial published a feature article focusing attention on the neglect [48]

This adverse publicity brought a promise from Virgil Simmons of the Conservation Department to see that the "front yard" of the memorial was in "best shape" possible for Decoration Day. But he failed to act, and a patriotic citizen of Vincennes, Dexter C. Gardner, employed a crew to cut the grass arid weeds and spruce up the grounds for Memorial Day. [49]

The influential Indianapolis Star picked up the story, and on the 30th its lead editorial castigated the State and Commission's conduct as "little short of disgraceful." After ballyhooing the shrine, the State had tried to have it turned over to the Federal Government to avoid cost of maintenance. When this failed, the Department of Conservation dodged its duties, while the Indiana Memorial Commission became mired in technicalities over missing deeds. It was high time, the editor chided,

for the state to take drastic action to slash a mass of red tape, to over ride a policy of nickel-pinching by departments and commissions, ignore petty technicalities, rally some WPA workers or other reliefers and to maintain a $2,000,000 shrine in a condition worthy of the hero it commemorates. [50]

Other editorials followed. The Star flayed a plan by the State to charge a fee for entering the memorial building. To help finance its operations, the Conservation Department hoped to apply its pay-as-you-go policy of the State parks to the memorial. Director Simmons had stated that the Indiana Congressional delegation had been asked to sponsor legislation removing the Federal prohibition against the charge of admission to projects partially financed with United States funds. This, the Star thundered, was yet another example of a penny-pinching policy which was humiliating to Indiana. The editor of the Sun-Commercial hammered away at State and local officials who had failed to secure WPA funds to extend the boulevard through the memorial grounds and construct adequate parking facilities. [51]

I. The Establishment of the George Rogers Clark National Historical Park

1. Denton Introduces H.R. 9599

United States Representative Winfield K. Denton, chairman of the influential House subcommittee on Interior and Related Agencies, Committee on Appropriations, spent several hours in Vincennes during the Easter Congressional recess in 1965. While there several local citizens, distressed by poor maintenance of the structure, approached Denton and suggested that the Clark Memorial be made a National Monument. On his return to Washington, Denton learned of the 1935 act of the Indiana General Assembly giving the governor authority to convey title of the property to the United States. Employing this legislation as a starting point, Denton conferred with Governor Roger Branigin and Director John Mitchell of the Conservation Department. Both agreed that the memorial possessed national significance. Branigin told Denton he would be willing to transfer the memorial to the Federal government. [52]

Denton accordingly on July 1, 1965, introduced in the House of Representatives a bill to permit the Department of the Interior through its National Park Service to assume the maintenance and control of the Clark Memorial. [53] In endorsing the legislation, the editor of the Sun-Commercial observed that a better choice, originally, might have been to have the memorial administered by a local commission. But as this had not come to pass, it would be far better to have the shrine managed by the National Park Service, than to continue to be operated as a "step-child of the conservation department." [54]

2. H. R. 9599 is Amended to Provide for Cooperative Agreements

In the summer of 1965 personnel of the Northeast Region of the National Park Service made a study of Denton's George Rogers Clark Memorial proposal and recommended that it be expanded to include William Henry Harrison's Grouseland, and the Territorial Capitol. When this suggestion was reviewed by the Division of History, it was recommended that a National Historical Park be established, in which the memorial would be one feature, and Grouseland and the Territorial Capitol additional sites. [55]

Officials of the National Park Service met with Representative Denton on August 16 and 17. A plan of action was matured. The service would obtain data to support H. R. 9599, while Denton was told of the scheme employed for the Nez Perce National Historical Park. If this precedent were followed, the National Park Service would acquire the memorial and negotiate cooperative agreements with owners of other historic properties for inclusion in a national historical park. Representative Denton liked this idea. [56]

Representative Denton, accompanied by National Park Service Director George B. Hartzog, Jr., spent several hours at the New Harmony, Indiana, State Park on August 21. While there they discussed with Rabb Emison, Ewing Emison's son, historical preservation in and around Vincennes. Four days later, the Assistant Regional Director of the Northeast Region, George Palmer, arrived in Vincennes to discuss with local leaders H. R. 9599. What he saw and heard in Vincennes convinced Palmer that here there was "sufficient historical integrity" to interpret, besides the Clark story, the political history of the Northwest Territory, the Ordinance of 1787, and the admission to statehood of Indiana and her five sister states into which the territory was divided. On his return to Philadelphia and a review of the situation with Regional Director Ronald F. Lee, Palmer on September 1 recommended to Director Hartzog that H. R. 9599 be amended to permit the Service to

cooperate with, enter into cooperative agreements with and to participate in planning with the State of Indiana, . . . quasi-public organizations, historical societies or associations and educational institutions to interpret and preserve the historic sites of Vincennes and adjacent community in respect to its settlement, designation as the Northwest Territory, its creation as the Indiana Territory and its eventual achievement of statehood.

He also urged that the legislation authorize the Service to undertake a historical survey of sites in and around Vincennes. Upon the basis of this study, it would recommend to Congress a boundary and a proposed development that would preserve and interpret the historical events related to "the establishment of the territorial principles and practices that provided an early procedure" for admission of new states to the Union. [57]

The National Park Service accordingly recommended to Secretary of the Interior Stewart L. Udall that the Department support H. R. 9599, subject to several amendments: (a) the site should be designated a "National Historical Park" rather than "National Historic Site"; that sections be added authorizing the Secretary to enter into cooperative agreements with owners of historical properties associated with George Rogers Clark and the Northwest Territory for inclusion in the National Historical Park. When the Secretary had entered into the necessary agreements, he could establish these areas as integral parts of the National Historical Park. [58]

This was done. As amended, the legislation was not as sweeping as Palmer had hoped. Instead of authorizing the Secretary to enter into cooperative agreements with property owners in and adjacent to Vincennes, it restricted him to entering into agreements with "the owners of property in Vincennes." [59]

3. H. R. 9599 is Enacted

The first session of the 89th Congress, despite endorsement of the legislation by many local civic groups, did not act on Denton's bill. Soon after the 2d session convened, Secretary of the Interior Udall gave the measure a boost. He recommended to Congress that the memorial be added to the National Park System as the George Rogers Clark National Historical Park. In his letter to Representative Wayne N. Aspinall, chairman of the House Interior and Insular Affairs Committee, Udall announced that his Department was prepared to spend about $300,000 on development of the memorial, after it was acquired by the United States. Of this sum, $50,800 would be budgeted for rehabilitation of the memorial building, including caulking to stop seepage; $146,000 for construction of a visitor center in the basement; and $43,000 for building a 50-car parking lot on the grounds. The Service would also program a "comprehensive survey of the historical values in Vincennes and vicinity following establishment of the area." Sites found to possess historical significance to the Old Northwest could, if the owners were agreeable, be included in the National Historical Park or be interpreted by the Service. [60]

The Subcommittee on Parks and Recreation, House Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs; held a hearing on H.R. 9599 on April 25, 1966. Witnesses were: Representative Denton; Assistant Secretary of the Interior Stanley Cain; Director Hartzog; Representative William G. Bray of Indiana; Senator Vance Hartke, who with Senator Birch Bayh was co-sponsor of S. 2886, the companion Senate measure; John Mitchell, former Governor Matthew Welch of Indiana, Mayor Earl C. Lawson of Vincennes, Judge Curtis Shake, and Thomas S. Emison. The subcommittee was favorably disposed toward H. R. 9599 but indicated that an amendment limiting expenditures for development to $300,000 might be added. Chairman Aspinall extracted a promise from Assistant Secretary Cain to return to the Committee for authorization if it were found necessary to expend funds on repairs or for development of non-Federal structures or their addition to the area. [61]

A hearing before the appropriate Senate subcommittee was held in June; H. R. 9599 having passed the House on the 6th. One month later, on July 11, the legislation was considered and enacted by the Senate. President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the measure establishing the George Rogers Clark National Historical Park into law on July 23, 1966.

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Last Updated: 17-Sep-2001