The Story of New Philadelphia is Extraordinary: Help it Become Part of NPS

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UNC archaeologist Anna Agbe-Davies directs students at New Philadelphia dig in 2009. Photo Credit: Doug Carr, Illinois State Museum.
UNC archaeologist Anna Agbe-Davies directs students at New Philadelphia dig in 2009. Photo Credit: Doug Carr, Illinois State Museum.

The New Philadelphia National Landmark, a TAC preserve in Illinois, is now finally under consideration to become a unit of the National Park Service, and we are so excited! You can help make this possible and submit your comments in support to NPS.

The story of New Philadelphia is extraordinary: through a variety of enterprises, town
founder Frank McWorter purchased freedom for himself and at least fifteen family members, the pre-Civil War Era. In addition, McWorter purchased property in Illinois, a free state, where he moved from Kentucky with his wife, three free-born children, and a son freed from bondage. McWorter made history in 1836 as the first African American in our nation to plat and legally register a town. New Philadelphia became a community where formerly enslaved and free-born African Americans lived alongside European Americans in one of the most racially strident eras of our country’s history.” Read more about the History and Archaeology of New Philadelphia.

You can actively support New Philadelphia for inclusion in the National Park Service by submitting your comments on inclusion to: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/New_Philadelphia_Special_Resource_Study

“New Philadelphia was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005, designated a National Historic Landmark in 2009, and included in the National Park Service National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom program in 2013. There is currently no other comparable site represented in the 410 units of the National Park system. Only 24 of the 410 units, less than 6%, of the National Park Service are directly associated with African-American history. Your support for this project is crucial for making this place nationally recognized by inclusion in the National Park Service!”

Learn more about The Archaeological Conservancy’s work in protecting this site and process for NPS inclusion.

 

Below is the link for the NPS website dedicated to collecting comments regarding New Philadelphia’s inclusion as a unit in the NPS. You can submit your comments online until June 11, 2016, to the Planning, Environment and Public Comment website:

 

The New Philadelphia Association provides a summary of the background of New Philadelphia and its remarkable character in American history at:

Thank you for supporting New Philadelphia!,

The Archaeological Conservancy and The New Philadelphia Association

Mark Michel, The Archaeological Conservancy President, at New Philadelphia looking at kiosk signage. Photo Credit: Paul Gardner
Mark Michel, The Archaeological Conservancy President, at New Philadelphia looking at kiosk signage. Photo Credit: Paul Gardner

Read More in our online Back Issues:A NEW LIFE IN NEW PHILADELPHIA, Fall 2008. The town of New Philadelphia was founded by a freed slave in 1836. It was inhabited by blacks and whites during a time of racial strife. Archaeologists are investigating the abandoned town to learn about its race relations… BY MALCOLM GAY

Watch Time Team America from PBS, visit and excavate on site in 2009. Beneath farmlands in Western Illinois lie the remains of New Philadelphia, the first American town founded by a free African American prior to the Civil War. Time Team America was invited to help search for the schoolhouse where New Philadelphia’s African American children learned to read and write in freedom.

Aerial photo New Philadelphia by Tommy Hailey using powered parachute funded by The National Center for Preservation Technology and Training, National Park Service)
Aerial photo of New Philadelphia by Tommy Hailey using powered parachute funded by The National Center for Preservation Technology and Training, National Park Service

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