Hopewell Culture
Administrative History
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Clyde B. King, "Mr. Moundbuilder," 1946-1962

The transfer of Mound City Group National Monument from state to federal stewardship on August 1, 1946, occurred without fanfare. The National Park Service faced an immediate dilemma of providing basic public services, a task made more difficult by state removal of its non-real park property for use in other state memorials. While it would take nearly two decades to bring Mound City Group National Monument up to the high standards expected of any National Park Service unit, the initial rudimentary steps proved significant to establish an immediate federal presence.

One of Acting Custodian William W. Luckett's first moves was to secure a large entrance sign which for the first time informed visitors they were at a national monument. Another interpretive marker went up near the mounds. During Luckett's two-month tenure, the monument experienced heavy visitation and Luckett found it impossible to provide the same services as before such as reserving picnic tables for a fee and selling charcoal. He also began turning off the shelterhouse lights earlier than usual.

On November 2, 1946, Mound City Group's first permanent NPS custodian entered on duty. Clyde B. King was pleased to find buildings and utilities in good condition, slightly less than ideal roadways, and gravel walkways to the comfort station and Scioto River. Picnic facilities included seven fireplaces and an assortment of unstable picnic tables. Although picnicking was to end at dusk, there had never been strict enforcement other than flashing the lights on and off in the shelterhouse to encourage people to leave. King noted, "A hitching rail encouraged hayride parties which invariably arrived after dark to hold picnics; a ball diamond, dangerously close to the picnic area, had been unattended except such attention as could be given from the residence." [1]

King lamented the unusual amount of picnicking that occurred at the park. The recreational use, almost to the exclusion of the site's interpretive significance, would be a thorn in Clyde B. King's side for years to come.

NPS entrance sign
Figure 28: First National Park Service entrance sign on Highway 104 for Mound City Group National Monument. (NPS/William W. Luckett, September 1946)

comfort station
Figure 29: Comfort station near Scioto River, across parking lot from Mound City shelter house. (NPS/late 1940s)


Last Updated: 04-Dec-2000