STATEMENT OF DANIEL N. WENK,
DEPUTY DIRECTOR, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS
OF THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES,
REGARDING BILL S. 3226, TO RENAME THE ABRAHAM LINCOLN
BIRTHPLACE NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE IN THE STATE OF KENTUCKY
AS THE “ABRAHAM LINCOLN BIRTHPLACE NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK”.
July 30, 2008
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you to present the views of the Department of the Interior on S. 3226, a bill to rename the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site in the State of Kentucky as the "Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park".
The Department supports enactment of S. 3226, as we believe that the term "national historical park" is a more appropriate designation for the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace site than its current designation. This bill is based on an Administration legislative proposal that was transmitted to Congress on May 8, 2008.
Abraham Lincoln, one of our most revered Presidents, was born February 12, 1809, in a one-room log cabin on the Sinking Spring Farm near Hodgenville, Kentucky. This site, where the Lincoln family lived until 1811, was established as the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site in 1916. This 116-acre site features a memorial building that preserves an early 19th century Kentucky cabin, symbolic of the one in which Lincoln was born.
In 1811, the family lost title to their Sinking Spring Farm and moved ten miles away to 30 leased acres in the Knob Creek Valley. It was here that young Abraham first attended the 'Blab Schools,' so named because the children recited their lessons aloud. It was also here that a third child was born to the family, Thomas Lincoln, Jr., who survived only a short time. The Lincolns lived at Knob Creek Farm until 1816, when they moved to Indiana. Public Law 105-355, enacted in 1998, authorized the acquisition of Knob Creek Farm, and the 228-acre parcel of land was donated to the National Park Service in November 2001. This acquisition added a second unit to the Historic Site.
Because the Historic Site now has two non-contiguous sites, its 2006 General Management Plan recommends seeking legislation to change its name to "Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park," which would make the name consistent with other parks that have historic resources at multiple sites.
This legislation proposes a name change only. Costs associated with the name would be minimal and would only involve changing the park name on signs, letterhead, and brochures.
Mr. Chairman, this concludes my statement. I will be happy to answer any questions that you or members of the committee may have.