Francis G. Newlands Memorial Removal Act STATEMENT OF KYM A. HALL, REGIONAL DIRECTOR, NATIONAL CAPITAL REGION, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, BEFORE THE HOUSE NATURAL RESOURCES SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS, FORESTS, AND PUBLIC LANDS CONCERNING H.R. 1256, THE FRANCIS G. NEWLANDS MEMORIAL REMOVAL ACT. JULY 14, 2022 Chair Neguse, Ranking Member Fulcher, and members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to provide the Department of the Interior’s views on H.R. 1256, the Francis G. Newlands Memorial Removal Act. The Department supports the goal of H.R. 1256 and would like to work with the Committee and the sponsor on issues of implementation if the Committee decides to move forward with the bill. H.R. 1256 requires the Secretary of the Interior to make several modifications to the memorial fountain located in Chevy Chase Circle. Specifically, the bill calls for the removal of a brass [bronze] plaque bearing the name “Senator Francis G. Newlands”; a stone at the south end of the fountain bearing the name “Francis Griffith Newlands” and the related inscription; and the name “Newlands Memorial Fountain” carved into the upper face of the memorial fountain’s coping stones. In addition, the bill requires the Secretary to offer the removed items to the descendants of Francis Newlands. If the descendants do not claim the items within 60 days, the removed items would become part of the National Park Service museum collection for Rock Creek Park. Legislation enacted in 1932 authorized the establishment of a “memorial fountain” at Chevy Chase Circle but did not mention Francis Newlands’ name. However, newspaper articles from that time indicate the intent of the 1932 legislation was to memorialize Francis Newlands. In keeping with the still-current practice for funding memorials, the 1932 legislation prohibited the use of federal money to construct the fountain. Francis Newlands’ widow donated $12,000 for the fountain, which amounted to the full cost of construction. Francis Newlands, the founder of Chevy Chase, Maryland, represented Nevada in the U.S. Congress from 1893 to 1917– first in the U.S. House of Representatives and later in the U.S. Senate. The Newlands Reclamation Act of 1902, which created the Bureau of Reclamation and led to the creation of dams and irrigation projects in the American west, was named for him. In recent years, the memorial fountain has been a source of controversy because of Newlands’ disparaging views of non-White citizens. For example, Newlands argued for limiting immigration to Whites and for repealing voting rights for African Americans. He wrote in a 1909 journal article that Blacks were a “race of children” unsuited for democracy, “requiring guidance, industrial training and the development of self-control.” The Department is sympathetic to the desire to remove features in a public setting that pay homage to someone who expressed views that have always been painful to many people and that are widely viewed as highly repugnant today. It is general NPS policy, with limited exceptions to be approved by the Director, not to alter commemorative works, such as memorials, monuments, and markers, unless directed to by Congress. In this instance, Congressional direction could provide clarity on how to best resolve this issue. With respect to the memorial fountain at Chevy Chase Circle, while removing the non-historic and more visible and legible bronze plaque as directed in the bill could be accomplished without much difficulty, removing the historic stone tablet and the coping stones would result in a damaged structure. To maintain the integrity of the fountain, the removed sections would need to be replaced with materials that match the originals and with workmanship of the same high quality at a considerable cost. In the establishment of memorials and in the modification of existing memorials, legislation typically requires a private organization to serve as the memorial sponsor and take on the responsibility for raising the needed funds. In this case, there is no such private organization prepared to take on this responsibility. We would be happy to work with the sponsor and the Committee on amendments that would clarify the provisions of the bill related to implementation if the Committee decides to move forward with the bill. Chair Neguse, this concludes my statement. I would be pleased to answer any questions you or other members of the Subcommittee may have.