By the early 1930’s, there were so many federally owned national parks, national monuments, and historic sites that Congress felt it necessary to organize them all under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of the Interior, to be managed by the National Park Service. The Historic Sites Act of 1935 declared a national policy for the very first time to preserve for future generations historic sites, buildings, and other objects significant to our nation’s history.
Expanding beyond the Antiquities Act of 1906, the HSA asserted that it was the duty of the federal government to safeguard important historic sites. It required surveys of promising historic sites, examination of objects for their significance, purchase of property as needed to protect artifacts, restoration and rehabilitation of historically important structures, installation of educational markers, and appropriate management of all historic sites.
What are the consequences of waiving the HSA in our borderlands? There are 46 National Historic Landmarks in Arizona, and several are located near the Mexican border. The Slaughter Ranch, for example, associated with the beginning of cattle ranching in the southwestern U.S., sits right on the U.S. border with Mexico. In fact, the home used by its original owner, John Horton Slaughter, had two rooms, one on either side of the border! The historic buildings are now part of the Johnson Historical Museum, and the land is part of the San Bernardino National Wildlife Refuge. But if a border wall is ever planned for this area, the law safeguarding the Slaughter Ranch has been waived, leaving the site unprotected.
Please contact your U.S. Senators and Representatives (https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members) and let them know that you oppose waiving The Historic Sites Act to expedite construction of a border wall. Click here if you would like to make a donation to help us fight the border wall.