Other Emergency Period Programs
This chapter describes major programs and activities
related to the full scope of National Park Service responsibility, as
differentiated from programs of relatively short duration and limited
scale. These emergency programs are treated under the following
Natural History and History Associations
Historic Sites Act of 1935
Park, Parkway, and Recreational-Area Study Act of 1936
Recreational Demonstration Areas
Historic American Buildings Survey
Seashore and Lakeshore Studies
Park Structures and Facilities
Digest of Laws Relating to Local Parks and Recreation
NATURAL HISTORY AND HISTORY ASSOCIATIONS
One of the most efficacious and gratifying aspects of
the administration of our National Park System has been the cooperation
received from voluntary groups in developing a wide range of services to
park visitors. This movement came about primarily through the concern of
our field operations people in the parks and of people living close to
parks who helped provide or supplement services not supplied in
adequate measure by the limited government funding. These groups formed
nonprofit distributing associations to assist and extend the historical,
scientific, educational, and interpretive activities of the National
Park Service. Some sixty-six cooperating associations have been
established, and all of them engage in one or more of the following
activities: (1) publishing and making available relevant literature; (2)
selling souvenirs; (3) acquiring materials pertaining to the history or
natural history of an area; (4) developing a suitable park library; (5)
helping improve interpretive programs, including signs, markers, and
museums; and (6) acquiring lands needed to protect significant features
of a park.
Where local resources have not been sufficient to
support separate cooperative programs, regional associations have been
formed to give mutual support to groups serving individual park needs.
An outstanding example is the Eastern National Park and Monument
Association, which was organized to encompass the many small, historic
sites along the east coast. This arrangement has demonstrated how an
association operating profitably for larger parks can upgrade visitor
services of all parks in a region by underwriting the operations of
smaller cooperating groups.
Glass House Point, a part of Jamestown
National Historic Site, Virginia, is the site of the first industry of
the colonial period. The glass industry, under the leadership of Carl
Guskey, financed the study and development of colonial-design furnaces,
now operated by the Eastern National Park and Monument Association.
Photo by Richard Frear, courtesy National Park Service.
At this point it will be helpful to quote from the
annual report of the Eastern National Park and Monument Association for
The Eastern National Park and Monument Association
was formed in response to a recommendation made at the National Park
Service Interpretive Personnel Conference in Gettysburg in May 1947.
Incorporated on May 2, 1948, under the laws of the Commonwealth of
Virginia, by Roy E. Appleman, Edward A. Hummel and Elbert Cox, the
charter of the corporation was issued by the State Corporation
Commission in Virginia on May 18, 1948 in Richmond, Virginia.
The new organization encompassed associations that
had served individual large parks since the thirties and a few even
Donations to the Eastern National Park
and Monument Association financed a study of the kind of clothing worn
by Abraham Lincoln's family and other early settlers in Indiana. These
women wear costumes made at Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial, Lincoln
City, Indiana, as they dye material for other costumes to be worn by the
interpretive staff. In the background is a smokehouse used in curing
meat. Photo by Richard Frear, courtesy National Park
Roy Appleman, who was regional historian of the Park
Service's eastern region, was designated executive secretary and did
outstanding work in launching the association. He drafted the articles
of incorporation, beat the bushes for memberships, and set up the first
six outlets, or agencies. When he resigned in 1951, the association was
well established. James W. Holland was appointed his successor and moved
ahead with vigor. Within ten years the association had grown to
thirty-five agencies, had gross annual sales of $129,000, and had
donated $109,000 to the service.
The procedure for allocating funds to a park is
relatively simple. Any park or monument with an approved educational or
interpretive program may apply for financial assistance by submitting a
request through the regional director to the board of the association.
The board at its January meeting considers all worthy requests. Its aim
is to put funds to productive use.
The rapid growth of the Eastern National Park and
Monument Association made it apparent that the work load could no longer
be supported on a volunteer basis by the executive secretary and the
chairman. In 1964 the board decided to hire a full-time professional
executive secretary, and Herbert E. Kahler was offered the job. Herb
had served as chairman of the association since it was organized in
1948. With this offer in hand he retired from the National Park Service,
where he had served as chief historian. With a full-time executive
secretary to give guidance and direction, the services to park visitors,
as well as sales, increased manyfold, In a nine-year period
(1964-72) sales skyrocketed from $368,000 to $1.4 million per
annum, and the accumulated donations to the service totaled $1
Leslie T. Arnberger, chairman of the board of
directors, in 1972 wrote in his annual report:
We have gotten so used to success that we sometimes
take it for granted. Success does not just happen. It takes teamwork
from dedicated, enthusiastic people throughout the
organizationfrom the field areas, through central office to the
Executive Director at the top.
Your Association has had this kind of teamwork for
years. From my experience during the past three years I have learned
that this stems principally from the tireless and devoted work of one
manExecutive Secretary Herb Kahler.
Your Association has been in operation for 24 years
and has had spectacular success. In 1948 gross sales were $997, and in
1972 they were over one and a quarter million dollars. We have served
more people than ever this year, and sales have exceeded any previous
All who have participated in the growth of the
Association can draw real satisfaction from its accomplishments and feel
their efforts have been well spent. In supplying visitors with selected
interpretive items at nominal cost, the Association has brought many
benefits to the interpretive program; in supplying funds to the National
Park Service, it has helped to improve the Interpretive Program. . .
The primary purpose of the Association is to assist
the Service in the interpretive field. The more we meet the visitors'
needs in the interpretive program, the more funds we have to help the
Service improve its Interpretive Program. . . . For the year 1972 the
Association honored requests totaling $168,223.50.
The Eastern National Park and Monument Association
has a total of 73 agents. An agent is a man or a group that runs the
operation in an area. The association's 73 areas of operation are
located in 26 different states and in Puerto Rico and the Virgin
Islands. The association has 509 paying memberspeople who are
interested in the work and support it with membership dues. Members do
not necessarily have to be from any of the parks in which the
association is operating.
Interpretive merchandise is attractively
displayed for visitors in the refurbished sales center in the West Wing
of Independence Hall, a part of Independence National Historic Park,
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Photo by Clyde Lockwood, courtesy
National Park Service.
In 1972 the smallest total sales of an agency that
had been in existence more than one year were at Saint Gaudens National
Historic Site ($1,057), and the largest were at Independence National
Historic Park in Philadelphia ($187,380). The assets of the association
at the end of the fiscal year 1972 totaled $1,260,035.
I've gone to considerable length on this subject
primarily to show what people can do to improve their product by
"pulling themselves up by their bootstraps." There are other
associations in the national park system that have similar records, but
Eastern is the largest and the one that tackled the toughest job, for it
took in all the small areas in the eastern part of the United States
that wanted to join. Without that help the small areas could do little
or nothing toward developing satisfactory programs.
There has been a spin-off from the success of
organizations of this kind. At the beginning of the Kennedy
administration Jacqueline Kennedy took a great deal of interest in
refurbishing the White House, and of course that took money. The
National Park Service maintains the White House grounds, which are the
number one reservation of the National Capital Parks, and the White
House is classified as a historic building. In a conversation with Mrs.
Kennedy we suggested that a historical association similar to the
Eastern National Park and Monument Association be established that would
prepare a booklet about the White House to be sold only in the White
House as a souvenir for those making the guided tour. The White House
Historical Association was established in 1961. The National Geographic
Society gave the association a loan of noninterest money to get started
and also donated editorial services and pictures for the booklet. The
booklet was published by the association and went on sale at the
beginning of 1962. It has undergone several revisions and reprintings,
and several companion publications, such as The Living White
House and The Book of the Presidents, have been issued. The
revenue from the sale of its books enabled the White House Historical
Association to pay back the loan and, as of December, 1978, to
contribute close to $3.5 million to the White House to refurbish the
interior of the building, provide funds for the painting of portraits of
the presidents and first ladies, and give assistance to the White House
library. This is a remarkable record, and it was made possible through
the donation of thousands of hours of professional time and other
resources by the National Geographic Society.
Similar associations have since been formed for the
Capitol and the Supreme Court. The Washington Monument Association has
issued a historic booklet on the Washington Monument, which has also
been very successful. They too have taken advantage of the generosity of
the National Geographic Society and several trustees of the society have
memberships on one or more of these four associations.