Proposal introduced to reclassify historic Jimmy Carter sites in Plains

It's located in Jimmy Carter's hometown of Plains, Georgia.

A bipartisan effort to reclassify historic sites in Plains, Ga., tied to former President Jimmy Carter has been introduced in Congress.

The entire Georgia delegation supports the proposal to re-designate the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site as the "Jimmy Carter National Historical Park."

This would affect the Plains farm where Carter grew up, the high school he attended and the train depot that served as his presidential campaign headquarters in 1976.

The Plains Depot, built in 1888, was the headquarters for Jimmy Carter's Presidential campaign in 1976.
The Plains Depot, built in 1888, was the headquarters for Jimmy Carter's Presidential campaign in 1976.

Credit: WILLIAM SCHEMMEL

Credit: WILLIAM SCHEMMEL

Eventually, the park would also include the home where Carter, 95, now lives with his wife, Rosalynn, and their future burial sites.

U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, a Democrat whose southwest Georgia district includes Plains, said the designation would provide additional protection for these landmarks and draw more tourists to learn about Carter’s life and presidency.

“With this legislation, visitors now and in the future will come to Plains and be inspired to serve the nation and make a difference,” Bishop said in a news release. “There is no other community more reflective of president and Mrs. Carter’s life and values as their hometown of Plains, Ga., and the Jimmy Carter National Historical Park.”

The Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta underwent a similar name change last year, becoming Georgia's first national historical park.

According to the National Park Service, national historical parks are usually larger and more complex that places designated as national historic sites.

The Jimmy Carter National Historic Site and Preservation District was established  in 1987 to preserve artifacts of Carter’s presidency, as well as highlight the influence the rural town had on his life.

“President Jimmy Carter’s humanitarian legacy extends far beyond the boundaries of his home state of Georgia and even the United States, but nowhere is he more beloved or ‘at home’ than in his native Plains,” U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson said. “This bill could not be a more fitting tribute, and I’m proud to join our Georgia delegation to support it.”

Growing up in rural Georgia taught the Carters the importance of faith, family, and service, and those values have guided them their entire lives,” U.S. Sen. David Perdue, who is taking the lead on this issue in that chamber, said. “Today, Plains, Georgia is a living monument to the Carters and their lifetime of service. I’m proud to stand with the entire Georgia delegation to ensure President Carter’s legacy is preserved for generations to come.”

The former president said he was grateful that lawmakers from Georgia are working to preserve pieces of his history.

“No matter where life has taken me, from the Governor’s mansion to the White House, Plains has always been my home,” Carter’s statement said. “Rosalynn joins me in thanking Senators Perdue and Isakson, Congressman Bishop, and the Georgia delegation for helping preserve my family’s legacy.”

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