WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King today announced that the National Park Service has designated two new national historic landmarks in Maine, recognized as places that possess exceptional value and quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States. The Frances Perkins Homestead in Newcastle and Eagle Island in Harpswell were designated along with seven other sites from across the country, joining the more than 2,500 national historical landmarks nationwide.
“These nine sites add to a nationwide network of unique, historic places that represent the complex journey that we have taken as a nation,” said U.S. Interior Department Secretary Sally Jewell. “By designating these new national landmarks we ensure that America’s history of innovation, vision and diversity are celebrated today and for future generations.”
“These two Maine landmarks are rich in history and treasured symbols of our heritage,” Senators Collins and King said. “This designation bestows on them the national recognition they deserve and will help ensure their preservation for future generations to appreciate.”
The National Historic Landmarks Program, established in 1935, is administered by the National Park Service on behalf of the Secretary of the Interior. The agency works with preservation officials, private property owners, and other partners interested in nominating properties for National Historic Landmark designation. Landmarks are eligible for technical preservation advice.
In December 2013, Senator Collins wrote letters of support to the National Park Service in support of the Eagle Island and Perkins Homestead nominations. Senator King also wrote letters in support of both nominations, which can be read here and here.
Additional information about the landmarks follows:
- Eagle Island (Admiral Robert E. Peary Summer Home), Harpswell, Maine: Eagle Island is the longtime residence of arctic explorer Robert E. Peary, whose multiple expeditions to the North Pole brought international recognition to the United States at the turn of the 20th century and made him one of the most admired men in America. Peary acquired Eagle Island in 1881 and built his house in 1904 on a prominent ledge facing north, towards the open sea. The rustic simplicity of the house and its island setting reflect the life and work of a man who spent 23 years exploring the North Pole and the coast of Greenland.
- Frances Perkins Homestead, Newcastle, Maine: As Secretary of Labor from 1933-1945, Frances Perkins was the first woman to serve in a presidential cabinet. The homestead is her ancestral home and lifelong summer residence, which she owned and maintained from 1927 until her death in 1965. As Secretary of Labor from 1933-1945, Perkins was a figure of undisputed national significance and the driving force behind New Deal programs such as Social Security, unemployment insurance, and minimum wage that still provide financial security for all Americans to this day.