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Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Date: August 25, 2009
Byline: Edward Lawler Jr.

Letter: Historical accuracy should not be ignored

Re: "A sharp dispute over President's House design," Thursday:

On Sept. 6, 2005, representatives from Independence National Historical Park, the National Park Service's Northeast Regional Office, the Ad Hoc Historians, and the Independence Hall Association signed a public document committing themselves to historical accuracy at the President's House site. An outline of the buildings was agreed upon and approved, which was based on the two 1785 maps of the property, the 1798 insurance survey giving the dimensions of buildings not included in those maps, George Washington's papers, the Jan. 4, 1952, map of the demolished Main House's foundations, and evidence from the November-December 2000 archaeological excavation, which discovered the remnants of Robert Morris' icehouse, now reburied beneath the Liberty Bell Center.

It is puzzling to see representatives of these organizations, some of them actual co-signers of the document, now make public statements that historical accuracy at the President's House site is not so important. The Independence Hall Association, the congressionally authorized citizens' advisory organization for INHP, intends to honor the commitments made in the 2005 public document, and expects the National Park Service to do the same.

Edward Lawler Jr., Historian, Independence Hall Association


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