November 03, 2021

Duckworth, Durbin Introduce Bill To Designate New Philadelphia, Illinois A National Historical Park


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) this week introduced legislation that would designate the original town of New Philadelphia, Illinois, as a National Historical Park. New Philadelphia, now incorporated into Barry, Illinois, in Pike County, was the first town platted and legally registered by an African American, Frank McWorter.

“Honoring the legacy of New Philadelphia and celebrating the history of Black Americans is critically important,” Duckworth said. “Making our national parks better reflect our nation’s people and history is long overdue, and it’s time we properly recognize Frank McWorter. I’m honored to join Senator Durbin in introducing this legislation to preserve this important part of Illinois and American history.”

“The story of New Philadelphia should be preserved and shared with each generation to learn about Illinois and our nation’s history,” said Durbin. “I’m pleased to introduce this legislation with Sen. Duckworth in order to ensure that Frank McWorter is recognized for his work and that the town’s history is protected as the cultural asset it is.”

Founded in 1836, New Philadelphia’s population peaked in 1865 as home to 29 households and 160 people. By 1885, New Philadelphia lost its legal status as a town because of population decline as a result of the railroad bypassing the town. New Philadelphia was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005 and was recognized as a National Historic Landmark in 2009.