On-line Book
Cover book to Battling for Manassas: The Fifty-Year Preservation Struggle at Manassas National Battlefield Park. [Image of cannon in the battlefield]
Battling for Manassas: The Fifty-Year Preservation Struggle at Manassas National Battlefield Park


Table of Contents




Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

current topic Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11


Appendix I

Appendix II

Appendix III

Appendix IV

Appendix V (omitted from on-line edition)

Appendix VI

Appendix VII

Appendix VIII

Chapter 9
National Park Service Arrowhead

Seeking Partnerships


"The Park Service does its best to protect these national treasures [national parks], but it needs the partnership of local governments and local citizens, those who have the most at stake to fully achieve this objective." National Park Service Director William Penn Mott Jr. used his speech at the 125th anniversary ceremonies for the First Battle of Manassas to remind his audience of park concerns. In July 1986 Mott's words seemed especially pertinent to the Manassas National Battlefield Park. Just a few months earlier, the Hazel/Peterson Companies, a northern Virginia real estate development firm, had announced its plans to build a corporate office park and residential district, called the William Center, next to the battlefield park. The way the National Park Service handled the ensuing situation reflected Mott's call for partnerships. [1]

musket firing demonstration
Fig. 12. Amidst musket firing demonstrations and period dress displays commemorating the 125th anniversary of the First Battle of Manassas, National Park Service Director William Penn Mott Jr. reminded attendees of present-day concerns when he called for the National Park Service to develop partnerships with local governments and local citizens to protect such national treasures as Manassas National Battlefield Park from outside development. (Photo by John McDonnell. © 1988, The Washington Post. Reprinted with permission)

Seeking partnerships outside the park was not entirely new for superintendents at the Manassas National Battlefield Park. Joseph Mills Hanson and James Myers had been active in community affairs during the 1940s and 1950s and had used these connections to obtain important acquisitions, including the Dogan House. Francis Wilshin had made it a point to talk with park visitors and enlist their aid in fighting threats to the park. Annie Snyder, a park neighbor recruited by Wilshin, remained an influential ally. Russell Berry took a similar approach when he held discussions with the Marriott Corporation in 1973.

The Service's handling of William Center marked an important change from previous efforts. For the first time, the Park Service became an active negotiator in affairs outside the park. For Hanson, Myers, and Wilshin, contacts with the local community had the sole purpose of adding lands to the park or protecting existing lands. Outside developments that did not touch historically significant land were noted but not formally opposed. During the Marriott theme park controversy, Berry did voice some concerns in his talks with the developer, but he purposely remained a neutral party. With William Center, the Park Service launched a new era of partnership that engaged the park as an active institutional player in the regional business environment.

It is unfortunate that it took until the 1980s for the Park Service to advocate active negotiations. In the 1970s Prince William County officials had made clear that they intended to encourage development up to the national park's borders, Neither the park superintendents nor their regional supervisors contacted county representatives or local business interests to discuss the park's concerns at that time. Such conversations, initiated before any specific development proposals surfaced, could have headed off damaging projects and avoided later protracted battles. Instead, the Park Service addressed each crisis as it appeared, without the benefit of long-range planning or allies in the local business community.

CONTINUED continued


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