James K. Polk Home Special Resource Study

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As directed by Public Law 116-9 (s. 47) cited as the "John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act" of 2019, the National Park Service prepared a special resource study of the James K. Polk Home located in Columbia, Tennessee, to evaluate its potential for inclusion within the national park system. James K. Polk, the 11th president of the United States, lived in Columbia, Tennessee, from 1818 until 1824. Nominated as the first "dark-horse'' presidential candidate, Polk unified a split Democratic Party to defeat Henry Clay of the Whig Party, assuming office in 1844. Despite only serving one term, Polk is considered by some to be the most efficient President, accomplishing all the domestic and foreign policy goals established during his campaign. Although frequently overshadowed by his predecessor, Andrew Jackson, Polk is credited with a wide range of policy accomplishments, most notably expanding the western territorial holdings of the United States through the Mexican-American War and the establishment of the U.S. Naval Academy and the Department of the Interior. Polk left office in 1849, returning to Nashville, Tennessee, where he lived for three months before his death. The James K. Polk home in Columbia, Tennessee, is the only surviving residence of President Polk, and contains original artifacts from his estate.

The special resource study was completed and transmitted to Congress for consideration on February 6, 2023. Please click on the "Document List" tab for a PDF copy of the study and the transmittal letter to Congress.


A special resource study evaluates the eligibility of an area to be recommended for designation as a national park or other special designation. The study evaluates criteria for inclusion in the national park system and is designed to provide Congress with information about the resource qualities at the site and alternatives for protection, which can be used in the legislative process of designating potential additions to the National Park System. The National Park Service prepares the study for the Secretary of the Interior; the findings and any recommendations will then be presented to Congress. Regardless of the outcome of the study, new units of the national park system can only be established by an Act of Congress or by Presidential Proclamation.

The purpose of this special resource study is to gather information about the James K. Polk Home through historical research and public input, and then to report these findings to Congress. The special resource study evaluated the potential for inclusion of the property in the national park system based upon whether it meets established criteria for significance, suitability, feasibility, and the need for NPS management. Please use the "Links" tab on the left to find additional information on the criteria used to evaluate new national parklands.


The James K. Polk Home was designated as a National Historic Landmark (NHL) in 1961. The National Park Service conducted a reconnaissance survey of the James K. Polk Home in 2014 to provide a preliminary evaluation of the property as a potential new unit of the National Park System . The survey analyzed the suitability, feasibility, and need for NPS to manage the James K. Polk home and found that further analysis through a Congressionally authorized special resource study was warranted. Please use the "Links" tab on the left to visit the reconnaissance survey project website and find an electronic copy of the completed survey.

The John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act of 2019 (Dingell Act) directed the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a special resource study of the James K. Polk Home to evaluate its national significance and determine the suitability and feasibility of designating it as a unit of the national park system. Based on this legislated directive, the National Park Service prepared a study to analyze the property for its potential as a new unit of the national park system.

Contact Information

Ben West