Great American Outdoors Act National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund Newsroom

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A large building with marble facade with six columns and steps leading to front door.
The First Bank of the United States is receiving a $22.2 million investment from the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) Legacy Restoration Fund. The iconic building in Independence National Historical Park will undergo an extensive rehabilitation in advance of the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence in 2026. Built between 1795-97 when Philadelphia served as the nation’s capital, the bank was the first building designed specifically for the new federal government. “Rehabilitating the First Bank will meet a long-held goal for the park,” said acting Superintendent Amnesty Kochanowski. “This national historic landmark was acquired in 1956 when the park was established but has been closed to the public for most of the park’s history. The restoration of the renowned building gives the park the opportunity to showcase aspects of the economy of the early republic and the role of the controversial national bank. I am thrilled to see this project truly underway.” The exterior work funded by GAOA will include the replacement of leaking metal roofing, flashings, hatches, and louvers. Marble and brick masonry will be stabilized, cleaned, and repaired. The interior renovations will correct moisture incursion problems, repair damage to walls, replace an elevator, update the electrical and HVAC systems, and add accessible restrooms and a fire suppression system. A new addition will serve as the main visitor entrance. The work will be performed by the Bedwell Company of West Chester, Penn., a small, local contractor.
A member of the Maintenance Action Team in NPS uniform glazing a window on a wooden table
The Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) Legacy Restoration Fund recently financed a rehabilitation project of the North Enslaved Cabin/Tenant House at the Oakland Plantation Unit of Cane River Creole National Historical Park. The preservation of the cabin was a park priority as it is one of only two such buildings remaining in the quarters of Oakland Plantation. The project included, both, exterior and interior work. The work crew meticulously repaired and painted window sills and jams, re-glazed window glass and gently re-attached the historic asphalt shingle siding to the exterior. Inside the cabin the crew repaired damaged tongue and groove flooring and reset brick pavers in the fireplace hearth. During the work, the historic linoleum was discovered and preserved in place with a plexi-glass covering that allows visitors to view the historic floor covering. The work was performed by a GAOA-funded Maintenance Action Team (MAT) composed of skilled craftspeople from the National Park Service Historic Preservation Training Center (HPTC). HPTC recruits, trains and employs people in traditional historic restoration and preservation techniques and trades. Several geographically based MATs travel to national parks to train and work alongside park staff to complete small, but critical, maintenance rehabilitation and repair projects on historic structures. MATs enable the National Park Service to complete projects that require knowledge and competency in traditional trades in a consistent and cost-effective manner.
3 images: woman works on door frame, Commissary building, man works on historic door jam.