• View of the Great Rift

    Craters Of The Moon

    National Monument & Preserve Idaho

History & Culture

TIME LINE

(Before
Recorded
History)

2,000 years ago a volcanic
eruption creates the
Broken Top Flow.

The Shoshone build rock rings at
Indian Tunnel.


1805

Lewis and Clark cross northern
Idaho enroute to the Pacific Ocean.

1831

Lewis and Clark expedition member,
Jean Baptiste Charboneau, gets
separated from a brigade of fur trappers
and nearly perishes trying to cross the
Snake River Plain from south to north.

1833

Army Captain Benjamin Bonneville explores
the area with instructions to report back
his findings to the War Department.

1862

Tim Goodale leads 1,095 emigrants and
338 wagons across a cutoff of the Oregon
Trail that came to bear his name.

1901

Israel (I.C.) Russell with the Geological
Survey explores the area and provides the
first geologic description of what he calls
the Cinder Buttes.

1920

Robert Limbert hikes the entire length of
the Great Rift and widely promotes the
region for status as a national park.

1923

Harold Stearns, a geologist, describes the
area as the most recent example of a
fissure eruption in this country and recommends
it be preserved as a national monument.

1924

Limbert's article "Among the Craters of the Moon"
is published in NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE.

President Calvin Coolidge signs a proclamation
creating Craters of the Moon National Monument.


1925

First custodian Samuel Paisley constructs the
first visitor center near Registration Waterhole
and receives a salary of $12 per year.
1926 Visitation:
4,600

1927

Waterholes that supplied water to the monument
dry up following a series of earthquakes and water
has to be hauled in for four years.

A troop of Boy Scouts discovers
Boy Scout Cave.

The Craters Inn and several cabins are
built for the convenience of visitors.


1931

A waterline supplying water from springs in the
north end of the monument to the
campground and headquarters building completed.

1956

The Mission 66 Program initiates construction
of today's road system, visitor
center, shop, campround and comfort station.

1956 Visitation:
100,000

1959

The Craters of the Moon Natural History Association
formed to assist the monument
in educational activities.

1962

Addition of an island of vegetation completely
surrounded by lava known as
Carey Kipuka increases the size of the
monument by 5360 acres.

1967

Study of mule deer completed.

1969

NASA astronauts Alan Shepherd, Edgar Mitchell,
Eugene Cernan, and Joe Engle
explore the monument while training to
visit the moon.

1970

Congress creates the Craters of the Moon Wilderness,
the first such designation within
the National Park Service.

1983

Mt. Borah earthquake with a magnitude of 6.9
felt at the monument but does little damage.

1992

Dedication of first totally accessible trail
at Devils Orchard

1993

Guided walks and programs attended
by over 12,000 visitors.

1994

Visitor center lawns removed to eliminate the attraction that was causing deer to be killed while crossing the highway.
1995 Visitation:
237,000

1997

New exhibits installed in visitor center.

1999
75th Anniversary Celebration.

2000

Monument expanded to include all of the Great Rift Zone. Cooperative management initiated with the Bureau of Land Management.



 
Historic Context Statements History of Craters of the Moon and the Snake River Plain of Southern Idaho
 
Administrative History History of Craters of the Moon National Monument
 

Did You Know?

satellite view of the Craters of the Moon lava flow

Craters of the Moon is a HUGE national park! It is over 1,100 square miles (over 750,000 acres) which is roughly the size of Rhode Island. The young lava flows that make up the bulk of the Monument and Preserve can clearly be seen from space. More...