On-line Book
cover to Admin History
NPS Expansion: 1930s







New Deal



NPS 1933-39




Expansion of the National Park Service in the 1930s:
Administrative History

Chapter Five: New Initiatives in the Fields of History, Historic Preservation and Historical Park Development and Interpretation
National Park Service Arrowhead

A. Background to Involvement of National Park Service in New Initiatives in Historical Field

The preservation of historical and archeological sites became a responsibility of the Department of the Interior with passage of the Antiquities Act in 1906 and of the National Park Service at its establishment in 1916. The legislation establishing the Park Service named "historic conservation" as an important responsibility of the new bureau. Pursuant to the Antiquities Act of 1906, the Department of the Interior, as early as 1916, had under its jurisdiction seven national monuments of historical and archeological interest, as well as Mesa Verde National Park. These areas were placed under the National Park Service upon its establishment and formed the initial nucleus of its system of "historic sites." [1]

From 1916-28 the number of historical and archeological areas administered by the National Park Service increased to sixteen. The forward thrust of the agency into the acquisition, preservation, and development of historical and archeological parks received tremendous impetus when Horace M. Albright became the new director of the Park Service on January 12, 1929.

As director of the National Park Service from 1929 to 1933 Albright launched the agency on a new course in historic preservation destined to influence greatly the future growth and direction of the National Park System. The first opportunities to put the agency squarely into the field of historic preservation and development came with the establishment of George Washington Birthplace National Monument on January 23, 1930, and of Colonial National Monument on December 30, 1930, in accordance with legislative authority granted on July 3. Thus, the foundations of a program in historical park development were laid and the initial steps taken that would eventually place the Park Service in a leadership role in the emerging historic preservation movement in the United States. [2]

Chapter Five continues with...
Creation and Activities of History Division


Last Modified: Tues, Mar 14 2000 07:08:48 am PDT

National Park Service's ParkNet Home