Department Of Interior

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Office of the Secretary
Contact: John Wright
For Immediate Release: July 31, 2003

Rock 'n' Roll Studio Designated as
National Historic Landmark: 17 Additional Sites Added to Landmark List

Secretary Norton dedicated today's
Sun Records announcement to the memory of Sam Phillips.
The legendary producer passed away Wednesday in Memphis

WASHINGTON - Secretary of the Interior Gale A. Norton announced today that Sun Records, Memphis Recording Service located in Memphis, Tenn., has been designated as a National Historic Landmark. The small brick building on 706 Union Ave. was founded by Sam Phillips and is known as the birthplace of the first great rock-and-roll record label.

Secretary Norton dedicated today's announcement to the memory of Phillips. The legendary producer passed away Wednesday in Memphis. "National historic landmarks are our country's most important places that illustrate our American story," Norton said. "It would be impossible for us to tell the story of rock and roll in America without Sam Phillips and Sun Records."

Norton was joined at a Capitol Hill signing ceremony by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (TN) and U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (TN).

The National Historic Landmarks designation is the highest such recognition accorded by our nation to historic properties. They are places where significant historical events occurred, or where prominent Americans worked or lived, that represent those ideas that shaped the nation and that provide important information about our past.

The Sun Records Studio, considered by many as the home of the blues and the birthplace of rock and roll, provided some of the South's greatest contributions to American music. Since the late 1950s, the small Memphis recording studio produced recordings for musical giants, such as Elvis Presley, B.B. King, Howlin Wolf, Ike Turner, Rufus Thomas, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Charlie Rich, Roy Orbison, and many other notable singers, musicians and groups.

"The history and culture of this little studio often reflected the mood of America through music," Norton said. "It was a popular hub for the recording of diverse musical styles and traditions that transcended several decades. It now shares a new recognition as a National Historic Landmark to preserve its amazing musical heritage that has touched the hearts and spirits of so many Americans. "

Norton noted that the state of Tennessee is well known for its roots in all types of music from rock and roll and blues to country western. "We look forward to working together to preserve this rich history and musical heritage for future generations to learn from and enjoy," she said.

Secretary Norton also announced the approval of 17 other sites that have been designated as National Historic Landmarks. The new sites are as follows:

Prestwould, Clarksville, Va.
--Constructed in 1782, Prestwould is the most intact, best-documented, late 18th century plantation complex surviving in Virginia. No other 18th century plantation in the Upper South retains more of the diverse outbuildings that were a common aspect of southern plantations.

Buckingham Friends Meeting House, Buckingham Township, Pa. - Built in 1768, Buckingham was the first meetinghouse to be erected in the symmetrically balanced, two-celled or "doubled" form that separated the genders during Quaker services and meetings. By the early 19th century the Buckingham form was clearly established as a model for Friends' meetinghouse design throughout the mid-Atlantic region.

Dr. Oliver Bronson House and Estate, Hudson, N.Y. -- Associated with architect Alexander Jackson Davis and the early development of the Picturesque movement in America, this house was modified to the specifications of Davis in 1839. The Bronson House is recognized as the earliest surviving example of the architect's work in the "Bracketed" style, part of the Picturesque movement.

Terrace Hill, Des Moines, Iowa -- Constructed in 1866, Terrace Hill represents a pure, minimally altered grand scale, Second Empire house constructed for domestic use at the height of the style in the United States. It has been identified as a model of the style in numerous architecture style books. Since 1976, it has served as the residence for Iowa's governor.

Allen County Courthouse, Fort Wayne, Ind. - Completed in 1902, the Allen County Courthouse is the embodiment of Beaux Arts architecture popular in the United States at the turn of the 20th century. The building stands as a monument to the civic pride and progressivism of early 20th century America and represents a rare example of the combination of classical architecture, fine art and sculpture in an American county courthouse.

Herbert and Katherine Jacobs First House, Madison, Wis. - Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and built in 1936, the Jacobs House was the first house to be built, among the many that followed, which Wright termed "Usonian," meaning an artistic house of low cost for an average citizen of the United States of America. The design of this house marked a turning point in the evolution of Wright's residential work.

Herbert and Katherine Jacobs Second House, Middleton, Wis.-- This house is the only solar house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Named the Solar Hemicycle and built between 1946-48, Wright designed circles for rooms, southern glass walls, and a berm to the north side. Developed three decades before the energy crisis of the 1970s, the house was an instructive attempt to develop "low-energy" architecture.

Jackson Lake Lodge, Moran, Wyo. -- Completed in 1955 and designed by Gilbert Stanley Underwood, perhaps the most prominent and influential architect in the history of the National Park Service, the lodge was the design precursor for the Mission 66 program of visitor center construction ,which transformed the National Park Service in the postwar years and was also an influential example of the Modern Movement style within the National Parks.

Columbus Park, Chicago, Ill. - Created between 1912 and 1920, Columbus Park is considered the masterpiece of nationally renowned landscape architect and conservationist Jens Jensen. Jensen is recognized as the creator of the Prairie Style landscape design, father of the Midwestern conservation
movement, and one of the most significant figures in the history of American landscape architecture. This park gave Jensen the opportunity to make available to city dwellers the benefits he believed would be gained through communing with nature.

Oldfields, Indianapolis, Ind.--Designed by the Olmsted Brothers firm, this estate is an exceptional example of a country house and landscape architecture constructed by American businessmen and industrialists during the Country Place Era from roughly 1885-1939. The home of the influential Lilly family, Josiah Kirby Lilly Jr., the second owner was significant for his business, philanthropic and humanitarian accomplishments.

Ten Chimneys, Genesee, Wis. --Ten Chimneys is associated with one of the first families of the American theater, Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne, who exerted a profound influence on 20th century theater. Throughout their careers this home served as a creative hearth and quiet refuge from the bright lights of New York City. Many of their theater friends, including Noel Coward, Helen Hayes, Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh, visited here.

Rebecca T. Ruark, Tilghman Island, Md. -- The Rebecca T. Ruark is the oldest vessel in the skipjack oyster dredging fleet, the last commercial fishing sailing fleet in North America. Of the estimated 2,000 skipjacks built on the Chesapeake Bay before World War II, only about 16 survive. The skipjacks symbolize the Chesapeake Bay and its heritage.

USS Lexington, Corpus Christi, Texas -- The aircraft carrier Lexington, one of four Essex-class carriers to survive out of 20, which were built during World War II, participated in almost every major naval campaign in the Pacific from 1943-1945. She is also important for illustrating the development of aircraft carrier design and the integration of aviation as a primary strike weapon in naval strategy. Of the four surviving Essex-class carriers, Lexington had the longest service record, from 1943 to 1991.

Centennial Baptist Church, Helena, Ark. --Centennial Baptist Church was the home base for Reverend (Dr.) Elias Camp Morris from the dedication of the church in 1905 until his death in 1922. While serving as pastor, Dr. Morris was president (1895-1922) of the National Baptist Convention (NBC), the largest African-American organization in the United States at the end of the 19th century, through which Morris brought attention to the right of African Americans to establish independent religious associations.

Fort Yellowstone, Mammoth Hot Springs and Norris, Wyo.Freemont County, Idaho.; and Gardiner, Mont.--Fort Yellowstone served as headquarters of the U.S. Army during its administration of Yellowstone National Park from 1886-1918 and was the military's longest and most extensive presence in the national parks. During this time the principles and policies the administrators developed would impact the emerging conservation and national park movements in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Martinsburg Shops, Martinsburg, W.Va. --The shops are a unique example of innovative 19th century engineering and industrial architecture. The roundhouse is supported by an early cast-iron framing system devised by renowned railroad engineer and manager, Albert Fink. These shops were also the center of a social uprising known as the "Great Railway Strike of 1877," a pivotal episode in American labor history that marked a new beginning of industrial conflict and change.

Philosophy Hall, New York, N.Y. -- Located on the campus of Columbia University, Philosophy Hall is associated with Edwin H. Armstrong, a pioneer in the development of radio, whose contributions to important electronic advances took place from his office, laboratories and lecture rooms in this building between 1910 and 1954. Armstrong's work in wireless communications impacted the nation's economic, military and cultural history.

The National Historic Landmark designation is an official recognition by the federal government of a historic property's national significance. Today, fewer than 2,500 historic places bear this distinction. The National Park Service nominates new landmarks and provides assistance to existing landmarks through its National Historic Landmark Program.


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