Land and Conservation Bills: H.R. 877



STATEMENT OF KATHERINE H. STEVENSON,

ACTING ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, BUSINESS SERVICES, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE,

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,

BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS, FORESTS AND PUBLIC LANDS,

COMMITTEE ON NATURAL RESOURCES,

CONCERNING H.R. 877,

TO AMEND THE ADAMS NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK ACT OF 1998

TO INCLUDE THE QUINCY HOMESTEAD WITHIN THE BOUNDARY

OF THE ADAMS NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK

AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.

March 6, 2008

 

Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to appear before your committee to present the views of the Department of the Interior on H.R. 877, a bill to include the Quincy Homestead in Quincy, Massachusetts within the boundary of Adams National Historical Park.

 The Department opposes H.R. 877, consistent with a 1994 National Park Service special resource study that did not recommend adding this property to the Adams National Historical Park.

 The Quincy Homestead was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2005 based on its architectural significance; its association with four generations of Edmund Quincys during the 17th and 18th centuries; its long association with people of learning and mercantile achievement; its use as a progressive farm in the 18th century; its path-breaking early restoration by Joseph Everett Chandler in 1904, and from its association with the Society of Colonial Dames of America.  The Homestead is also known as the "Dorothy Quincy House." Dorothy Quincy, a daughter of Edmund Quincy IV, the last Quincy to occupy the Homestead, grew up in the dwelling and married John Hancock. The Homestead is owned by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and operated through agreement by the Society of Colonial Dames of America as a house museum.

 The Quincy families were among the significant families of Massachusetts during their tenures of ownership of the property.  All four generations associated with the site and the house played important roles in local and colonial military and political activities. Edmund I (1602-1635), who migrated to Boston from England, was a Boston representative in the General Court of the Province.  Edmund II (1628-1696) was the first major and lieutenant colonel in Braintree, Massachusetts and representative to the Massachusetts General Assembly.  Edmund III (1681-1738) was Judge of the Superior Court of Judicature and a member of the Board of Overseers of Harvard University. Edmund IV (1703-1788) was successful in partnership with others in mercantile trade. 

 The Homestead, during the period of occupancy by the Quincy families, went through a series of phases of construction, with the first being undertaken by Edmund Quincy II in 1686.  Additions and alterations proceeded in the period 1706-1708 and again in 1737 by Edmund Quincy III.  Circa 1750, Edmund Quincy IV carried out extensive remodeling of the interior of the structure.  The property was sold by the family in 1763.

 In 1994, pursuant to Public Law 101-512, the National Park Service completed a Special Resource Study of a number of historic resources in Quincy, Massachusetts.  The Quincy Homestead was among the resources analyzed during the course of the study.  The study did not recommend that any resources investigated become units of the National Park System or that the Quincy Homestead be added to the Adams National Historical Park. No information has come to the Department's attention that would alter the conclusions of the Special Resource Study.

The purpose of Adams National Historical Park is to preserve and protect the grounds, homes and personal property of four generations of the Adams family and to use these resources to interpret the history they represent and to educate and inspire current and future generations.  We do not believe that the Quincy Homestead is related to the purposes for which the park was established, nor does it appear to have any direct relationship with the Adams family, other than the fact that John Adams was once a suitor to Dorothy Quincy and a visitor to the Homestead.  While Abigail Adams had Quincy family ancestry on her mother's side, she never lived at the Homestead.  There does not appear to be any direct connection between John or Abigail Adams and the Homestead that would categorize the structure as a closely related resource to those now within the boundary of the park.  Since the Homestead is currently owned by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and operated as a house museum by the Society of Colonial Dames of America, we do not see a need for management of the resource by the National Park Service.

 Although there is support at the county and local levels for inclusion of the Quincy Homestead into the National Park System as part of Adams National Historical Park, we cannot support the action without a finding that the resource meets congressionally required criteria for designation.  

 Mr. Chairman, this concludes my testimony. I am prepared to answer any questions from members of the Committee.