New Philadelphia Earns National Park Status: An Update with Marynel Corton

On this episode, we’re thrilled to share an update about New Philadelphia with Marynel Corton, the executive director of the New Philadelphia Museum. Last year we interviewed Marynel about New Philadelphia, one of the most important historical communities in the U.S. and located right here in rural Forgottonia (Pike County to be exact; Marynel lives in Barry, IL which is just outside of what used to be New Philadelphia). 

Last time we spoke to Marynel, she taught us about the importance of Free Frank McWorter & the founding of New Philadelphia; America’s 1st community founded by an A.A. (in 1836, decades before the Civil War). During this interview, Marynel informed us about efforts to help New Philadelphia earn National Park status. In December of 2022, these efforts were realized with a bill signed by President Joe Biden that made New Philadelphia into America’s 425 National Park. So on this episode, we are excited to welcome Marynel back to give us an update about all the exciting new things happening with the historic town.


  • What it means to be a National Park
  • Why Marynel and the New Philadelphia Association wanted National Park status
  • Free Frank’s contributions to American history
  • Why it’s important to keep supporting New Philadelphia


  • CELEBRATE SUCCESS: Marynel & the New Philadelphia Association have been engaged in these efforts since 2005 (around the time many of our current high school students were born!). Despite all the work that’s left to do, it’s important to celebrate this milestone! As Marynel says, an important historical site has been saved…so it’s important we celebrate!
  • FREE FRANK DESERVES TO BE PART OF AMERICA’S PUBLIC MEMORY: Frank McWhorter’s contribution is right up there with Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass and so many others. His contribution to our nation’s history should be required reading for history student’s everywhere.
  • NEW PHILADELPHIA STILL NEEDS OUR SUPPORT: Despite this success, Marynel stresses there’s lots of work left to do. Be sure to check up on news involving New Philadelphia and we will definitely do our best to pass along information we learn as well. But in the meantime, simply sharing this story with your friends and family means it will be more likely these efforts are supported. As Marynel says, be sure to recognize the gems we have in our own backyard. New Philadelphia is definitely one of the brightest gems we have right here in Forgottonia!


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