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The James K. Polk Site Is Still Open

Michael Femia

You may have heard a few months ago the James K. Polk Historic site in Pineville was closing due to cuts.  Indeed, it is not.

Supporters were so effective at getting the word out about the threatened closures, that the site’s managers worry people are staying away because they assume it got the budget axe. 

This spring the state’s Secretary of Cultural Resources paid a visit to the birthplace of the 11th President of the United States.  She was there to give her condolences.  The governor’s budget recommended mothballing the place and three other historic sites across the state. 

She was met by a group of determined third-graders.  They chanted, “Keep Polk open! Keep Polk open!”

“There was really a very awesome, very touching, really, grassroots movement to save the Polk site,” says the site’s manager Scott Warren. 

Hundreds of people sent emails, made calls, and petitioned state lawmakers.  All that got covered by newspapers, TV and radio.  It worked.  State lawmakers decided to keep all the historic sites open. 

But Warren thinks all that attention is still having an effect.    

“We have a seen a drop in visitation due to the fact that a lot of people in July thought that we were closed already.” 

The site had 20 percent fewer visitors last month than usual. 

Warren wants people to know the site is indeed open. It took a $10,000 cut, but he says that’s all right.  They’re still telling the story of a humble backwoods Mecklenburg County boy who became President of the United States.

Lisa Worf traded the Midwest for Charlotte in 2006 to take a job at WFAE. She worked with public TV in Detroit and taught English in Austria before making her way to radio. Lisa graduated from University of Chicago with a bachelor’s degree in English.