Park Founders

A black and white photo man wearing a cowboy hat stands among shrubs leaning on a walking stick. A row of large rock fins can be seen in the background.
John "Doc" Williams was an early advocate for the creation of Arches.
A black and white photo of the profile of a mans face as he looks at something out of frame. He is wearing a collared shirt and a fedora.
Loren "Bish" Taylor, 1940s

Photo courtesy of Dan O'Laurie Museum

Every small town needs a good newspaper, and early Moab was no exception. The beauty of the red rock country around Arches was glowingly described in print by Loren "Bish" Taylor, who took over the Moab newspaper in 1911 when he was just eighteen years old. Bish editorialized for years about the marvels of Moab, and loved exploring and describing the rock wonderland just north of the frontier town.

Some of his journeys were with John "Doc" Williams, Moab's first doctor. As Doc rode his horse north to ranches and other settlements, he often climbed out of Salt Valley to the spot now called Doc Williams Point, stopped to let his horse rest and looked back over the fabulously colored rock fins.

A black and white photo of a man standing on a rock ledge holding a hammer and a hat.
Alexander Ringhoffer

Word spread. Alexander Ringhoffer, a prospector, wrote to the Rio Grande Western Railroad in 1923 in an effort to publicize the area and gain support for creating a national park. Ringhoffer led railroad executives on hikes into the formations; they were impressed and believed such wonders would certainly attract more railroad customers, so the campaign began. The government sent research teams to investigate and gather evidence.

On April 12, 1929, President Herbert Hoover signed presidential proclamation No. 1875 reserving 1,920 acres in the Windows and 2,600 acres in the Devils Garden for the purpose of establishing Arches National Monument. Since that time, the park's boundaries have been expanded several times. In 1971, Congress changed the status of Arches to National Park, recognizing over 10,000 years of human history that flourished in this now-famous landscape of rock.

Last updated: September 25, 2021

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PO Box 907
Moab, UT 84532


435 719-2299

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