A rugged, whitewater river flowing northward through deep canyons, the New River is among the oldest rivers on the continent. New River Gorge National River in West Virginia encompasses over 70,000 acres of land along the New River, is rich in cultural and natural history, and offers an abundance of scenic and recreational opportunities.
ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, VISITOR AND RESOURCE PROTECTION, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE,
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS, FORESTS AND PUBLIC LANDS
OF THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON NATURAL RESOURCES,
CONCERNING H.R. 3120,
TO AUTHORIZE THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR
TO CONDUCT A SPECIAL RESOURCE STUDY
OF THE STRANAHAN HOUSE IN BROWARD COUNTY, FLORIDA,
AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.
OCTOBER 30, 2007
Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to provide the Department of the Interior's views on H.R. 3120, a bill to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a special resource study of the Stranahan House in Broward County, Florida, and for other purposes.
The Department opposes H.R. 3120. The Stranahan House is a fine example of an early Florida pioneer homestead. As the oldest home in what became Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the house has significance to the early history and development of South Florida. However, the house shares the same characteristics of many other homes, in Florida and elsewhere, that were some of the first homes built in a particular part of the country. Also, with no other National Park System units in close proximity to the house, management and operation of the structure by the National Park Service would be costly and in this time of tight budgets and a refocusing on the core mission of the National Park Service, we believe that available funding should be directed toward operation of existing units and completing 35 previously authorized studies.
H.R. 3120 would authorize the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a special resource study of the Stranahan House, and adjacent property, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The study would be required to be completed within three years after funds are made available.
The Stranahan House was originally built by Frank Stranahan in 1901, as a trading post, in what became Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Built at the location of Stranahan's ferry across the New River on the road to North Miami, the building quickly became a post office, community center, and town hall.
Frank Stranahan became Fort Lauderdale's first postmaster, a banker, and businessman. He married another early resident of the area, Ivy Cromartie and in 1906 the house became their personal residence. Mrs. Stranahan continued to live in the house until her death in 1971. In 1973, the house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The house is operated as a museum depicting the 1913-1915 period by the Stranahan House Inc., a private non-profit organization and we believe that management and operation of the house by this organization is appropriate.
Mr. Chairman, that concludes my testimony. I would be pleased to answer any questions you or the other members of the subcommittee may have.