The Biden Administration’s National Park Service (NPS) announced that it had canceled plans to remove a historic statue of William Penn from Welcome Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, after widespread backlash.
As the Washington Free Beacon reports, the announcement of the reversal came on Monday evening, after previously announcing plans to remove the statue on Friday. The statue of Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania and Philadelphia and the namesake of the former, stands in Welcome Park at the site of Penn’s historic home, the Slate Roof House. The park is named for the ship on which Penn first traveled to the territory that would become Philadelphia.
The NPS described its plan as a “rehabilitation proposal,” claiming that it would heavily remake the site to feature more memorials to the Native American population of the area, with which Penn was always historically friendly. The agency said that its goal was to provide “an expanded interpretation of the Native American history of Philadelphia” and to create “a more inclusive experience for visitors.”
“Independence National Historical Park has withdrawn the review of a draft proposal to rehabilitate Welcome Park and closed the public comment period,” the National Park Service said in its new statement abandoning the plan. “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 proposal drew significant criticism from across the political spectrum, particularly from Republicans as well as social media. Pennsylvania’s House Minority Leader Brian Cutler (R-Penn.) said in a statement that “to remove Penn’s statue to create a more inclusive environment takes [an] absurd revisionist view of our state’s history.”
Even Democrats voiced their opposition to the proposal, with Governor Josh Shapiro (D-Penn.) saying that he had been privately working with the Biden Administration to “correct” the initial decision, while Senator Bob Casey (D-Penn.) announced that he was “pleased to report that there are no plans to remove William Penn at this time.”
The initial effort marked only the latest example of the Biden Administration aggressively rewriting American history by tearing down historic monuments and renaming historical sites, from military bases to Confederate gravesites, even in Arlington National Cemetery.