On this day in 1926—which is to say,
seventy-five eighty-five years ago—United States president Calvin Coolidge signed the legislation implementing Shenandoah National Park. The people who already lived in the park area must have been so thrilled … until they heard that they would have to leave their homes. There were 465 families in all, or about 2,200 people. According to our entry, feelings were mixed among the “removed”:
Some bitterly but unsuccessfully fought the removal in the courts, while others looked forward to a new beginning. The government built seven subsistence homestead communities outside the park boundary for many families, whose quality of life was significantly improved. A few people, the last of whom died in 1979, were given lifetime leases. Cemeteries in the park were left as they were.