Whittaker Chambers Relative: Farm Need Not Be Open to Public

Roundup: Talking About History

David Chambers, a grandson of Whittaker Chambers, runs www.whittakerchambers.org

Dr. Jon Wiener needs to set some facts straight, at least in the excerpt from his new book, just published by Salon (“A visit to the right’s least popular museum”).

First, the Whittaker Chambers Farm is no museum. In fact is neither a requirement nor even an implication that a property designated as a National Historic Landmark need open to the public at all. In “Protecting America: Cold War Defensive Sites (A National Historical Landmark Theme Study),” dated October 2011, the NPS clearly holds the Whittaker Chambers Farm “private property, not open to the public.” Further, Whittaker Chambers (my grandfather) never claimed his farm meant much to the outside world. He described it as “a few hundred acres of dirt, some clusters of old barns and outbuildings… a few beeves and hogs or a flock of sheep.” (“Witness,” p. 517). It hasn’t changed much over the years....

Jon Wiener replies:

Readers can be assured I did indeed visit the site of the Whittaker Chambers pumpkin patch National Historical Landmark, but I didn’t go “skulking about.” When I saw the “No Trespassing” sign, as I wrote in the piece, I turned around and left. I thought that was what the Chambers family wanted us to do — rather than, as Chambers suggests here, “try the front door.”...

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