STATEMENT OF STEPHEN E. WHITESELL,
PARK PLANNING, FACILITIES AND LANDS, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE,
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
SUBCOMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS,
SENATE COMMITEE ON ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES,
CONCERNING S. 1750,
A BILL TO AUTHORIZE THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR
TO CONDUCT A SPECIAL RESOURCE STUDY
OF THE GENERAL OF THE ARMY
GEORGE CATLETT MARSHALL NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE
AT DODONA MANOR IN
AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.
May 19, 2010
Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you to provide the Department of the Interior's views on S. 1750, a bill to authorize a special resource study to determine the suitability and feasibility of designating the General of the Army George Catlett Marshall National Historic Site at Dodona Manor in Leesburg, Virginia and for other purposes.
The Department supports enactment of S. 1750.However, we recommend that the title of the bill be amended to refer to the "General George C. Marshall House (Dodona Manor)" rather than the "General of the Army George Catlett Marshal National Historic Site," as the former is consistent with the landmark's current listing on the National Register of Historic Places. We also believe that priority should be given to the 45 previously authorized studies for potential units of the National Park System, potential new National Heritage Areas, and potential additions to the National Trails System and National Wild and Scenic River System that have not yet been transmitted to the Congress.
S. 1750 authorizes a special resource study for General George C. Marshall's home, Dodona Manor. One of the options that the study would consider is making the site an affiliated area of the National Park System. The study would also consider other alternatives for preservation and protection of the home and interpretation of the life and accomplishments of George C. Marshall.The home was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1996.We estimate the cost of this study to range from $200,000 to $300,000, based on similar types of studies conducted in recent years.
Born in 1880 in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, George Marshall attended the Virginia Military Institute to prepare for a military career.He rose steadily through the ranks, serving with distinction in various posts in the United States, the Philippines, and China, and in Europe during World War I.In World War II, General Marshall led the Allied forces to victory in the Atlantic Theatre. Following the war, as Secretary of State, Marshall designed a humanitarian program for rebuilding war-ravaged Europe. For his ambitious European Recovery Plan, more broadly known as the Marshall Plan, Marshall was awarded the 1953 Nobel Peace Prize.
General Marshall enjoyed living at Dodona Manor for 18 years from 1941 until his death in 1959.At the time of the Civil War, the house was called Oak Hill. Marshall, who likened the sound of the white oak leaves rustling in the wind to the ancient Greek oracle of Zeus speaking through the oak forest of Dodona Grove in Epirus, renamed the house "Dodona Manor."While living there, he rose from being an Army officer respected for his military contributions to one of the most important and respected world figures of the 20th Century.Winston Churchill, recalling the years of World War II, said that the only individual on whom all the leaders conferred unqualified praise and admiration was General Marshall.
Many military post houses across the United States were occupied by General Marshall and his first and second wives, but never for long.Dodona Manor was his residence for the last 18 years of his life, coinciding with his years of national and international achievement.General Marshall brought his best possessions to Dodona Manor – oriental rugs purchased during duty in China, and books in large number, which he owned and read.He indulged his favorite pastime of tilling the earth and planting gardens.From there he commuted to Washington during his military service and later as Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense.Dodona Manor has survived almost entirely as he left it and no other site provides the opportunity for reflection on the years when Marshall rose to become one of the great figures of the 20th Century.
Mr. Chairman, this concludes my prepared statement. I would be happy to answer any questions that you or other Committee members may have regarding this bill.