Monday, August 24, 2009

Joseph Priestley House Designation as a National Historic Landmark vs. National Register of Historic Places vs. National Historic Site

Definitions taken from Wikipedia:
National Historic Landmark (NHL) is a buildingsitestructureobject, or district, that is officially recognized by the United States government for its historical significance. All NHLs are listed in theNational Register of Historic Places. Out of more than 80,000 places on the National Register, however, only about 2,430 are NHLs.  [NHLs are not owned by the Federal Government (this is my comment)]

The National Register of Historic Places (National Register) is the United States government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects deemed worthy of preservation. Having a property on the National Register makes its owners eligible for tax incentives for expenses incurred preserving the property if they are offered by the local taxing districts.

National Historic Sites are Federally owned and administered [lands]. Some other Federally administered sites are National Historical Parks. There are also about 79,000+ National Register of Historic Places sites, which usually are privately owned, of which about 2400 have further been designated as National Historic Landmark sites.

Joseph Priestley House is owned by the State of Pennsylvania. Consequently, it is not a National Historic Site. It has been designated a National Historic Landmark. 

Now that the Joseph Priestley House has been closed by the State of Pennsylvania I would like to see that the designation for Joseph Priestley House be changed to that of National Historic Site and that the ownership be ceded to the Federal Government to insure that the site is opened to the public and funded at an appropriate level.

The following email was sent to the Department of the Interior today

The Joseph Priestley House in Northumberland PA was closed on August 14, 2009 by the State of Pennsylvania due to budget cuts.

While I understand that Priestley House is owned by the State of Pennsylvania and is designated a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. Park Service, I can only emphasize that this site is a true national treasure and should be designated a National Historic Site.  With that status the U.S. Park Service could provide the support necessary to reopen the House and Museum and make it available once again to the public.

The importance of Joseph Priestley as a part of the national heritage of this country cannot be left to a distant memory. It must be protected and promoted in a manner that only the U.S. Park Service can perform.

Joseph Priestley has already been honored with a U.S. Commemorative Stamp in his honor.  His connection to our founding fathers is profound and his contribution to what we are as a nation is undisputed.

Thank you for your attention.

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