US Coins

Saint-Gaudens Historic Site getting name facelift

Sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens rendered his designs for the 1907 Saint-Gaudens, Extremely High Relief, Roman Numerals gold $20 double eagle at his home and studios in Cornish, New Hampshire.

Portrait image courtesy of National Archives; Aspet home image courtesy of National Park Service; coin images courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

The Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site in Cornish, New Hampshire, is on track to being renamed Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park after legislation to change its official designation was passed in the House on Oct. 2.

The change, if approved, would result in no material changes for the location, home of the renowned sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens who died in 1907.

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H.R. 965 was originally introduced Feb. 2, 2017, by Rep. Ann M. Kuster, D-N.H. A companion bill, S. 312, introduced Feb. 6 by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-New Hampshire, is awaiting final action.

House debate published Oct. 2 in the Congressional Record states that the redesignation of the name of the site where sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens executed many of his most famous coin and medallic works “will not change any laws or policies affecting the site and will only require changes in signage, maps and hand-outs.”

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“Therefore, redesignating this area as Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park conforms to naming standards used by the National Park Service and further honors the legacy of Augustus Saint-Gaudens.”

In testimony given before a Senate subcommittee on S. 312, Acting NPS Deputy Director Robert Vogel explained that “generally, National Park System units designated as national historic sites tell a discrete story or contain a small number of historic resources related to that story. National Park System units designated as national historical parks have a greater diversity of historical resources and interpretive themes and may be spread out over non-contiguous lands.

“The addition of the Blow-Me-Down Farm to the park in 2010 added new historical resources and interpretive themes to Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site. This increased scope provides a basis for supporting redesignating this park as a national historical park.

“The name ‘Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park’ would incorporate the word ‘park’ into the title, and it would better reflect the broad historical context and resource diversity found at this park, while conforming to naming conventions for National Park System units.”

The designation of “site” is usually reserved for a single building or other stand-alone structure, according to NPS officials.

The adjacent Blow-Me-Down Farm, a meeting place for the Cornish Art Colony led by Saint-Gaudens, was acquired through the auspices of the Saint-Gaudens Memorial.

Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site was  established in 1965.

Saint-Gaudens was one of the greatest American sculptors, whose numismatic creations include the designs for the gold $10 and $20 coins introduced in 1907, and for numerous medals. 

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