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NPS Expansion: 1930s







New Deal



NPS 1933-39




Expansion of the National Park Service in the 1930s:
Administrative History

Chapter One: "They have grown up like Topsy"
Administration of American Parks Before 1933
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E. National Capital Parks

One final group of parks, memorials, and monuments that would come into the National Park System under Executive Order 6166 was the National Capital Parks system in Washington, D.C. [117] With its origin in the 1790 act establishing the City of Washington, the National Capital Parks would become the oldest part of the system. [118]

The National Capital Parks included such sites as Washington Monument; Lincoln Memorial; Rock Creek Park; George Washington Memorial Parkway; sixty miscellaneous structures, memorials, and monuments scattered around the capital; Curtis-Lee Mansion in Virginia; and Fort Washington in Maryland. [119]

Beginning in 1925, administrative responsibility for the National Capital Parks was lodged in the Office of Public Buildings and Public Parks of the National Capital, whose director was responsible to the president. [120]

The director had other duties. He was responsible for maintaining and caring for all public buildings in the city, including the White House. [121]

With the growth of the city, moreover, he had become a member and disbursing officer for a number of commissions established to facilitate completion of projects: Arlington Memorial Bridge Commission, Rock Creek and Potomac Park Commission, National Park and Planning Commission, Zoning Commission of the District of Columbia, National Memorial Commission, Lincoln Memorial Commission, Ericsson Memorial Commission, and Public Buildings Commission. [122]

From the first decade of the twentieth century, a growing number of the nation's preservationists/conservationists believed that the fragmentation of administration authority over the federal government's parks and monuments was neither economical nor effective in providing the proper protection for the areas set aside. After 1916 many of those individuals, although certainly not all, concluded that administration of the parks and monuments should be unified in the new park bureau. What followed was a seventeen-year-long campaign to unify administration of federal parks and monuments, that when successful in the reorganization of 1933, would transform the National Park Service.


Last Modified: Tues, Mar 14 2000 07:08:48 am PDT

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