The National Park Service has reversed course on its plan to remove the William Penn statue from a Philadelphia memorial park. It had announced last week it was removing the statue to make the park more inclusive to Native Americans.
“Independence National Historical Park has withdrawn the review of a draft proposal to rehabilitate Welcome Park and closed the public comment period. The preliminary draft proposal, which was released prematurely and had not been subject to a complete internal agency review, is being retracted. No changes to the William Penn statue are planned,” the Park Service announced.
In fact, the public outcry was intense, as Americans objected to the erasure of American history. Removing the historic statue in the middle of a presidential election year may have suddenly seemed unwise to the Biden Administration.
“The National Park Service (NPS) remains committed to rehabilitating Welcome Park as the nation prepares to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence in 2026. Upon completion of all the necessary internal reviews, the park looks forward to engaging in a robust public process to consider options for refurbishing the park in the coming years,” the Park Service said.
The park is located on the site of William Penn’s home, the Slate Roof House, and is named for the ship, Welcome, which transported William Penn to Philadelphia. The design and construction of Welcome Park was funded by the Independence Historical Trust and was completed in 1982.
Updates on the project may be found on the park’s website at www.nps.gov/INDE.