The Proclamation of National Monuments Under the Antiquities Act, 1906-1970

The first national monument to be established under provisions of the Antiquities Act was proclaimed by President Theodore Roosevelt on September 24, 1906. It was created to protect Devils Tower, well-known geological formation in Crook County, Wyoming. The massive stone shaft which gave the monument its name rises abruptly some 600 feet from its base and some 1300 feet above the nearby Belle Fourche River. This unusual geological formation, sometimes visible in that almost cloudless region for nearly 100 miles, was often used by Indians, explorers, and settlers as a guidepost. A temporary forest reservation was created around Devils Tower on February 19, 1892, to protect it from private entry and possession. A bill was subsequently introduced in Congress to establish "The Devils Tower Forest Reserve and National Park" but it failed to pass.141 The proclamation created an 1,152 acre reservation embracing "the lofty and isolated rock" known as Devils Tower which is "such an extraordinary example of the effect of erosion in the higher mountains as to be a natural wonder and an object of historic and great scientific interest."142 Although historic interest is cited as a factor, this first proclamation created what was essentially a scientific monument--an accurate foretaste of subsequent emphasis in the administration of the act.

Before President Roosevelt left office in 1909 he signed proclamations establishing eighteen national monuments. Six were created primarily to preserve historic and prehistoric structures and objects including El Morro and Chaco Canyon in New Mexico and Montezuma Castle and Tumacacori in Arizona. Twelve were created primarily to preserve "other objects . . . of scientific interest" including in addition to Devils Tower, Petrified Forest and Grand Canyon in Arizona, Natural Bridges in Utah and Mount Olympus in Washington. Nine of these first eighteen monuments were established on lands administered by the Interior Department and nine on lands under the jurisdiction of the Department of Agriculture. Let us look briefly at a sample of the proclamations creating some of these first historic and scientific monuments noting their characteristics and the implications they suggest for the future administration of the act.

The first historic monument was El Morro in the territory of New Mexico, a famous landmark familiar to the Indians and well known to white men since Spanish times. The proclamation, signed on December 8, 1906, stated that "the rocks known as El Morro and Inscription Rock . . . are of the greatest historical value and it appears that the public good would be promoted by setting aside said rocks as national monument."143 The reservation contained only 160 acres. On the same day, Roosevelt made "Montezuma's Castle" in Arizona a national monument characterizing it as a prehistoric structure "of the greatest ethnological value and scientific interest."144 It also contained 160 acres. Chaco Canyon was established as a monument on March 11, 1907, embracing 20,629 acres. The proclamation referred to the extensive prehistoric communal or pueblo ruins, generally known as the Chaco ruins, as possessing "extraordinary interest because of their number and their great size and because of the innumerable and valuable relics of a prehistoric people which they contain."145 Preservation of the Chaco Canyon ruins had for years been a major objective of archaeologists and ethnologists in all parts of the country. Its establishment on March 11, 1907, protected probably the most important group of prehistoric ruins ever to be made a national monument under the Antiquities Act.

The first scientific monument to be established after Devils Tower was Petrified Forest, initially containing 6,776 acres, designated on December 8, 1906. The proclamation referred to "the mineralized remains of Mesozoic forests" which possess "the greatest scientific interest and value." Muir Woods, California, was proclaimed a national monument on January 9, 1908, and set an important precedent as the first monument to be established on land donated to the United States under Section 2 of the Antiquities Act. Muir Woods was the generous gift of William Kent and his wife Elizabeth Thatcher Kent, who had rescued the grove from almost certain destruction only a year before. Kent soon became a Congressman from California, a close friend of Stephen Mather, and sponsor of the bill that created the National Park Service in 1916. The proclamation establishing this 295-acre reservation characterized it as containing "an extensive growth of redwood trees (Sequoia sempervirens) . . . of extraordinary scientific interest and importance because of the primeval character of the forest in which it is located, and of the character, age and size of the trees."146

The most remarkable of the early scientific monuments, however, was Grand Canyon. The first eleven historic and scientific monuments to be established had all been comparatively small in size, averaging about 3300 acres. On January 11, 1908, however, Roosevelt proclaimed an immense area in Arizona Territory containing 818,560 acres to be the Grand Canyon National Monument. The proclamation stated that "whereas, the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River. . . is an object of unusual scientific interest, being the greatest eroded canyon within the United States, . . . it appears that the public interests would be promoted be reserving it as a National Monument, with such other land as is necessary for its proper protection." This area had been designated a forest reservation by the president some years before. The proclamation creating the Grand Canyon National Monument was therefore careful to state that its establishment was not intended to prevent use of the lands for forest purposes. The two reservations were both to be effective but " the National Monument . . . shall be the dominant reservation."147 Thus the first precedent was created for establishing large scientific monuments under authority of the Antiquities Act, a precedent subsequently followed by five other presidents. In 1916, during hearings before the House Committee on Public Lands on bills to establish a National Park Service, J. Horace McFarland, president of the American Civic Association, recalled the circumstances of the Grand Canyon proclamation:

The reason the Grand Canyon of the Colorado is in the Forest Service was because the American Civic Association was bombarded by some man who insisted that there was a trolley line about to be constructed around it, which would not add to its natural attractiveness. At that time, Mr. Pinchot was the Forester, and I was one of several who made a loud noise in his ear, in consequence of which he went to Mr. Roosevelt, and had the Grand Canyon located as a monument in the forest reserve.148

The first historic and prehistoric monuments, notably El Morro, Chaco Canyon, Gila Cliff Dwellings, and Montezuma Castle, helped carry out the comprehensive plan for preserving southwestern antiquities that Hewett set forth in his memorandum to the Commissioner of the General Land Office in 1904. There appears to have been little system, however, in selecting most of the early scientific monuments. In those years, no one department or bureau was charged with responsibility for making surveys or developing a comprehensive preservation program under the Antiquities Act. Its provisions, unaccompanied by criteria to guide selections, were variously interpreted by officials in three different federal departments. It is no wonder that Commissioner Fred Dennett of the General Land Office noted in his annual report for 1908 that "the words of the act, 'Historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest,' fix practically no limits as to the character of the object to be reserved, and therefore the monuments very greatly in their physical characteristics."149 This interpretation of the law helps explain the subsequent establishment of a much wider range of national monuments than the framers of the act appear originally to have in mind judging from the record of the hearings and related legislative history.

These observations and examples suggest that detailed history of the administration of the Antiquities Act from 1906 to 1970 would be long and complex, requiring a volume in itself. The unique character of each of the 87 national monuments proclaimed by successive presidents and the particular circumstances that led to each proclamation deserve investigation and recording. Such a task is beyond the limits of the present study. It is possible, however, to provide a general outline of the progress made in establishing national monuments pursuant to the Antiquities Act from 1906 to 1970 and to offer some general observations on their significance for the growth of the National Park System. No attempt will be made here to trace the interesting history of the adoption of the uniform Rules and Regulations jointly approved by the Secretaries of Interior, Agriculture and War on December 28, 1906, which define departmental jurisdiction over national monuments and govern the issuance of permits for archaeological excavations as required by Sections 3 and 4 of the Act. Neither is it possible to examine the subsequent course of permit administration or the history of the enforcement of the penalties against vandalism authorized by Section 1 of the Act. We begin our account of the establishment of national monuments with three tables:

Table I
36 Historical Areas established as National Monuments by Executive Proclamation under the Antiquities Act, 1906-1969.
by President Theodore Roosevelt:
El Morro, N. Mex., Dec. 8 1906
Montezuma, Ariz., Dec. 8, 1906
Chaco Canyon, N. Mex., Mar. 11, 1907
Gila Cliff Dwellings, N. Mex.,
Nov. 16, 1907*
Tonto, Ariz., Dec. 19, 1907*
Tumacacori, Ariz., Sept. 15, 1908

by President Taft:
Navajo, Ariz., Mar. 20, 1909
Gran Quivira, N.Mex., Nov. 1, 1909
Sitka, Alaska, Mar. 23, 1910
Big Hole, Mont., June 23, 1910**1

by President Wilson:
Cabrillo, Calif., Oct. 14, 1913**
Walnut Canyon, Ariz., Nov. 30, 1915
Bandelier, N. Mex., Feb. 11, 1916*
Old Kasaan, Alaska, Oct. 25, 1916*2
Verendrye, N. Dak., June 29, 19173
Casa Grande, Ariz., Aug. 3, 1918
Scotts Bluff, Nebr., Dec. 12, 1919
Yucca House, Colo., Dec. 12, 1919

by President Harding:
Aztec Ruins, N. Mex., Jan. 24, 1923
Hovenweep, Utah-Colo., Mar 2, 1923
Mound City, Ohio, Mar. 2, 1923**
Pipe Spring, Ariz., May 31, 1923
by President Coolidge:
Castillo de San Marcos, Fla., Oct. 15, 1924**
Fort Matanzas, Fla., Oct. 15, 1924**
Fort Pulaski, Ga., Oct. 15, 1924**
Statue of Liberty, N.Y., Oct. 15, 1924**
Castle Pinckley, S.C., Oct. 15, 1924**4
Wupatki, Ariz., Dec. 9, 1924
Meriwether Lewis, Tenn., Feb. 26, 19255
Father Millet Cross, N.Y., Sept. 5, 1925**6

by President Franklin D. Roosevelt:
Fort Jefferson, Fla., Jan. 4, 1935
Fort Laramie, Wyo., July 16, 19387
Tuzigoot, Ariz., July 24, 1939

by President Truman:
Effigy Mounds, Iowa, Oct. 25, 1949

by President Eisenhower:
C&0 Canal, Md.-W. Va., Jan 18, 1961

by President Kennedy:
Russell Cave, Ala., May 11, 1961
* Originally administered by the Department of Agriculture
** Originally administered by the War Department
1 Name subsequently changed to National Battlefield
2 Abolished July 26, 1955
3 Abolished July 30, 1956
4 Abolished March 29, 1956
5 Added to Natchez Trace Parkway, August 10, 1961
6 Abolished March 29, 1956
7 Name subsequently changed to National Historic Site
Table II
51 Scientific Areas established as National Monuments by Executive Proclamation under the Antiquities Act, 1906-1969. These are now classified as Natural Areas by the National Park Service.
by President Theodore Roosevelt:
Devils Tower, Wyo., Sept. 24, 1906
Petrified Forest, Ariz., Dec. 8, 1906
Lassen Peak, Calif., May 6, 1907*1
Cinder Cone, Calif., May 6, 1907*1
Muir Woods, Calif., Jan 9, 1908
Grand Canyon, I, Ariz., Jan 11, 1908*2
Pinnacles, Calif., Jan 16, 1908*
Jewel Cave, S. Dak., Feb. 7, 1908*
Natural Bridges, Utah, Apr. 16, 1908
Lewis & Clark, Mont., May 11, 1908*3
Wheeler, Colo., Dec. 7, 1908*4
Mount Olympus, Wash., Mar. 2, 1909*5

by President Taft:
Oregon Caves, Oregon, July 12, 1909*
Mukuntuweap, Utah, July 31, 19096
Shoshone, Wyo., Sept. 21, 19097
Rainbow Bridge, Utah, May 30, 1910
Colorado, Colo., May 24, 1911
Devils Postpile, Calif., July 6, 1911*
Papago Saguaro, Ariz., Jan. 31, 19148{erratum: by President Wilson, rather than Taft}

by President Wilson:
Dinosaur, Utah-Colo., Oct. 4, 1915
Sieur de Monts, Me., July 8, 19169
Capulin Mt., N. Mex., Aug. 9, 1916
Katmai, Alaska, Sept., 24, 1918

by President Harding:
Lehman Caves, Nev. Jan. 24, 1922*
Timpanogos Cave, Utah, Oct. 14, 1922*
Fossil Cycad, S.D., Oct. 21, 192210
Bryce, Utah, June 8, 1923*11

by President Coolidge:
Carlsbad, N.Mex., Oct. 25, 192312
Chiricahua, Ariz., Apr. 18, 1924*
Craters of the Moon, Idaho, May 2, 1924
Glacier Bay, Alaska, Feb. 26, 1925
Lava Beds, Calif., Nov. 21, 1925

by President Hoover:
Arches, Utah, Apr. 12, 1929
Holy Cross, Colo., May 11, 1929*13
Sunset Crater, Ariz., May 26, 1930*
Great Sand Dunes, Colo., Mar. 17, 1932
Grand Canyon, II, Ariz., Dec. 22, 1932
White Sands, N. Mex., Jan. 18, 1933
Death Valley, Calif.-Nev., Feb. 11, 1933
Saguaro, Ariz., Mar. 1, 1933*
Black Canyon, Colo., Mar. 3, 1933

by President Franklin D. Roosevelt:
Channel Islands, Calif., Apr. 26, 1933
Cedar Breaks, Utah, Aug. 22, 1933
Joshua Tree, Calif., Aug. 10, 1936
Zion, Utah, Jan. 22, 193714
Oregon Pipe Cactus, Ariz,. Apr. 13, 1937
Capitol Reef, Utah, Aug. 2, 1937
Santa Rosa Island, Fla., May 17, 193915
Jackson Hole, Wyo., Mar. 15, 194316

by President Kennedy:
Buck Island Reef, V.I., Dec. 28, 1961

by President Lyndon B. Johnson:
Marble Canyon, Ariz., Jan. 20, 1969

* Originally administered by Department of Agriculture
1 Nucleus of Lassen Volcanic N.P.
2 Nucleus if Grand Canyon N.P.
3 Abolished August 24, 1937
4 Abolished August 3, 1950
5 Nucleus of Olympic N.P.
6 Nucleus of Zion N.P.
7 Abolished May 17, 1954
8 Abolished April 17, 1930

9 Nucleus of Acadia N.P.
10 Abolished August 1, 1956
11 Nucleus of Bryce Canyon N.P.
12 Nucleus of Carlsbad Caverns N.P.
13 Abolished August 3, 1950
14 Incorporated in Zion N.P.
15 Abolished July 30, 1946
16 Incorporated in new Grand Teton N.P.
Table III
28 National Monuments authorized by special acts of Congress, 1929-1969: These acts of Congress were approved as follows:
Historic Monuments
by President Hoover:
George Washington B.P., Va., Jan. 23, 1930
Colonial, Va., July 3, 19301
Canyon de Chelly, Ariz., Feb. 14, 1931

by President Franklin D. Roosevelt:
Ocmulgee, Ga., June 14, 1934
Pioneer, Ky., June 18, 19342
Appomattox, Va., Aug. 13, 19353
Patrick Henry, Va., Aug. 15, 19354
Fort Stamwick, N.Y., Aug. 21, 1935
Homestead, Nebr., Mar. 19, 1936
Fort Frederica, Ga., May 26, 1936
Perry's Victory, Ohio, June 2, 1936
Pipestone, Minn. Aug. 25, 1937
Fort McHenry, Md., Aug.11, 1939
George Washington Carver, Mo., July 14, 1943
by President Truman:
Custer Battlefield, Mont., Mar. 22, 1946
Castle Clinton, N.Y., Aug. 12, 1946
Fort Sumter, S.C., Apr. 28, 1948
Pensacola, Fla., July 2, 19485
Saint Croix, Me., June 8, 1949

by President Eisenhower:
Fort Union, N. Mex., June 28, 1954
Booker T. Washington, Va., April 2, 1956
Grand Portage, Minn., Sept. 2, 1958

by President Lyndon B. Johnson:
Pecos, N. Mex., June 28, 1965
Allibates Flint Quarries, Tex., Aug 31, 1965

Scientific Monuments
by President Coolidge:
Badlands, S. Dak., Mar. 1929

by President Lyndon B. Johnson:
Agate Fossil Beds, Tex., June 5, 1965
Biscayne, Fla., Oct. 18, 1968

by President Nixon:
Florissant Fossil Beds, Colo., August 20, 1969

1 Changed to national historical park June 5, 1936
2 Legislation not implemented
3 Changed to national historical park April 15, 1954
4 Act repealed Dec. 21, 1944
5 Never established as national monument

Examining Tables I and II we note that between 1906 and 1970 eleven presidents proclaimed 36 historic and 51 scientific national monuments under the provisions of the Antiquities Act, 87 in all. Ten of these monuments, generally small and relatively unimportant ones, have since been abolished by Acts of Congress. The remaining 77 are thriving units of the National Park System. Sixty-three are national monuments, eleven formed the basis for nine national parks, one has become a national battlefield, one a national historic site, and one has been added to a national parkway. The Antiquities Act is therefore the original authority for more than one in every four units in the National Park System. These areas, counting their original boundaries and subsequent additions, many of which were also made by proclamation under the authority of the Antiquities Act, contained approximately 12 million acres in 1970. This is more than 44% of the acreage in the entire National Park System.

Looking at the dates of the proclamations we note that 82 of the 87 national monuments established under authority of the Antiquities Act were proclaimed between 1906 and 1943. Only five national monuments have been proclaimed during the entire 27 years since. These five are Effigy Mounds, Iowa; the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, Maryland-West Virginia; Russell Cave, Alabama; Buck Island Reef, Virgin Islands; and Marble Canyon, Arizona. Two of these areas were donated to the United States and only the last was created out of the public lands. In 1943 use of the Antiquities Act as authority for establishing new units in the National Park System came abrupt halt following the proclamation of Jackson Hole National Monument in Wyoming by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on March 15 of that year. President Roosevelt's action aroused tremendous and bitter opposition in Wyoming and in Congress.150 Except for Effigy Mounds, which was donated, no more national monuments were proclaimed for eighteen years. Then on January 18, 1961, just before leaving office, President Eisenhower proclaimed the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Monument. This action revived strong opposition in Congress, especially in the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, to the continuing exercise of the authority granted to the president in 1906 to proclaim national monuments. Except for Russell Cave, 310 Acres, and Buck Island Reef, 850 acres, both proclaimed by President Kennedy in 1961, no more national monuments were established until January 20, 1969, the last day of the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson. On that day he proclaimed the Marble Canyon National Monument in Arizona embracing 26,000 acres and added 215,000 acres to Capitol Reef, and 49,000 acres to Arches, both in Utah, and 94,500 to Katmai in Alaska. President Johnson declined, however, to accept recommendations made to him to proclaim the Gates of the Arctic National Monument, comprising 4,119,000 acres in northern Alaska; a Mt. McKinley National Monument, also in Alaska containing 2,202,000 acres adjoining the national park; and a Sonoran Desert National Monument in Arizona embracing 911,700 acres.151

Although the authority of the Antiquities Act has been used only five times in the last twenty-seven years to establish new national monuments, usually by small additions but sometimes by large ones. The availability of the authority of the Act for this purpose has been a significant factor in the efficient management of the National Park System ever since 1916.

Looking at Table III we note that in addition to the 87 established pursuant to provisions of the Antiquities Act, 28 national monuments have been authorized by individual acts of Congress between 1929 and 1969. These monuments were patterned after those created by proclamation and may be considered to some extent a secondary benefit of the Antiquities Act. Three of these monuments were subsequently abolished or their establishment allowed to lapse. The remaining 25 are still thriving units of the National Park System. Twenty-three are still national monuments, and two subsequently formed the basis for national historical parks.

In many of these cases special authorizing legislation was necessary because of unusual circumstances, but these legislative actions, especially after 1943, also reflect the determination of Congress to establish its own responsibility for approving additions to the National Park System.

One of the most striking features in the administration of the Antiquities Act during the past 64 years is the surprising disparity between the number and size of the historic monuments as shown in Table I and the scientific monuments shown in Table II. The 36 national monuments classified by the National Park Service as historical areas (after subtracting four that were subsequently abolished or not implemented) contained approximately 155,000 acres in 1970. Only ten contained more than 1000 acres each. The four largest were Fort Jefferson, 47,125 acres; Wupatki 35,232; Bandelier, 29,661; and Chaco Canyon 20, 989. These four monuments alone embraced 133,000 of the 155,000 acres contained in all the historical monuments proclaimed under the act.

More than 750 million acres, or one third of the nation's land was still "owned or controlled by the Government of the United States," in 1970.152 The main purpose of the Antiquities Act, according to its legislative history, was to preserve "historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest" situated on precisely such lands. Surely our great federal domain is not so poor in such historic and archaeological resources that 155,000 acres adequately represents all those national importance suitable for preservation as national monuments.

By contrast, 51 scientific monuments have been proclaimed under the act. In 1970, 34 of these are still national monuments and eleven have formed the basis for nine national parks including Acadia, Bryce, Carlsbad, Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Lassen, Olympic, Petrified Forest, and Zion. All these reservations are now classified as Natural Areas by the National Park Service. In 1970 these 34 national monuments and nine national parks, with subsequent boundary changes, contained over 11,800,000 acres. The largest units in the National Park System are among these areas. A particularly conspicuous example is Glacier Bay National Monument in Alaska containing 2,803,522 acres, the largest single unit in the System. It is larger than the largest national park, Yellowstone, plus the Great Smoky Mountains. It is larger than 21 other national parks added together including Acadia, Bryce, Carlsbad, Canyonlands, Crater Lake, Grand Teton, Hawaii Volcanoes, Lassen, Mammoth Cave, Mount Rainier, Petrified Forest, Rocky Mountain, Sequoia, Shenandoah, Virgin Islands, and Zion. Furthermore, another national monument, Katmai in Alaska, is the second largest area in the System. Containing 2,792,090 acres it is larger than Yellowstone plus Sequoia. Like Glacier Bay, it is larger than 21 other national parks combined.

It must be remembered that both these tremendous reservations were originally proclaimed many years ago, Katmai in 1918 and Glacier Bay in 1925, and both were in what was then very remote country. Other very large scientific monuments include Organ Pipe Cactus, Arizona, 328,691 acres, Joshua Tree, California, 511,580, and Death Valley, California, 1,882,998. There seems to be little record of opposition in Congress to these kinds of presidential actions prior to 1943. It must also be remembered that many of these primarily scientific areas also possessed significant though secondary historical and archaeological interest. While this interest differs greatly from that present in such great National Park System historical areas as Independence Hall, Fort McHenry, or Gettysburg, the role of scientific monuments as "vignettes of primitive America" is part of their fundamental appeal to the American people.

The record for preserving scientific areas under the broad authority of the Antiquities Act is superb. Many superlative and priceless examples of the American natural environment have by this means been given permanent protection. Many splendid and highly important historic monuments have also established under this same authority. But the achievement in this category is by comparison very modest and more to the point is inadequate to meet the legitimate needs for historic preservation on federal lands.

Another striking fact revealed by Table II is that 48 scientific monuments are situated west of the Mississippi River and only three east of it. The latter three are Sieur de Monts, Maine, donated to the United States in 1916 and subsequently the basis for Acadia National Park; Santa Rosa Island, Florida, proclaimed in 1939 from lands on a military reservation but abolished by Act of Congress on July 30, 1946; and Buck Island Reef, Virgin Islands, containing 850 acres, proclaimed in 1961. Of course, this small number of eastern scientific monuments is readily understandable since most of the land owned or controlled by the Government of the United States is situated in the west. It highlights the fact, however, that the United States as yet has made no specific provision for the preservation of nationally important scientific monuments, today called "natural areas," situated on the two-thirds of the nation's land not owned or controlled by the United States.

The situation is different in respect to historic monuments. Twelve of the 36 historic monuments are located east of the Mississippi River, including one that was subsequently added to a national parkway and two that were abolished. Seven eastern historic monuments were established from military reservation lands including the Castillo de San Marcos, Florida, Fort Pulaski, Georgia, and the Statue of Liberty, New York. One was established on land formerly a military reservation--Fort Jefferson, Florida. Furthermore, passage of the National Historic Sites Act in 1935, and the National Historic Preservation Act in 1966, provided a legal basis for a broad national regardless of ownership or location, including the two-thirds of the nation's land not owned or controlled by the Federal Government, much of it east of the Mississippi River.

For a long time after the passage of the Antiquities Act in 1906 national monuments were administered by three different federal departments--Agriculture, War and Interior. Some 21 national monuments out of the total of 87 were established on lands under the jurisdiction of the Department of Agriculture. The first of these was Lassen Park, California, created in 1907 and the last, with two conspicuous exceptions, was Saguaro, Arizona, proclaimed in 1933. Five of these 21 monuments subsequently formed the basis for four national parks--Lassen, Grand Canyon, Olympic, and Bryce. Three of these national parks were already under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service in 1933. On June 10 of that year jurisdiction over the remaining monuments was transferred from the Department of Agriculture to Interior by order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Thereafter, officials in the Department of Agriculture lost interest in the proclamation of any new national monuments however nationally important the historic and scientific features on the hundreds of millions of acres of federal lands they administered might prove to be. Other measures for preserving such features not involving any transfers or jurisdiction began to appeal to them more. Cedar Breaks was nevertheless proclaimed a national monument by Roosevelt on August 22, 1933 out of lands within the Dixie National Forest.153 At that time, however, the Forest Service was still fighting a rear-guard action against the transfer to the National Park Service of the monuments covered by the Roosevelt's order of June 10. Ten years later, on March 15, 1943, Roosevelt proclaimed the Jackson Hole National Monument principally out of lands until then contained with the Grand Teton National Forest.154 This proclamation was issued in spite of bitter opposition from many sources including the Forest Service, livestock groups, and political interests in Wyoming. No new national monument has been established out of lands under the jurisdiction of the Department of Agriculture in the 27 years since 1943.

Nine of the 87 national monuments proclaimed under authority of the Antiquities Act were established on lands administered by the War Department, all of them between 1910 and 1925. The earliest was Big Hole Battlefield created in 1910 and the last Father Millet Cross proclaimed in 1925. By that year the movement was getting under way which led in 1933 to the transfer of these national monuments, and the national military parks and battlefield sites, to the jurisdiction of the Interior Department. In 1924, in hearings before the Joint Committee on the Reorganization of the Government, Secretary of War John W. Weeks recommended that this transfer be made.155 On April 20, 1928, Secretary of the Interior Hubert Work and Secretary of War Dwight F. Davis signed a joint letter to Senator Gerald P. Nyre, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Lands and Surveys, transmitting a draft of a bill designed to transfer jurisdiction over these reservations from the War Department to Interior and recommending its enactment.156 There was a strenuous opposition to the transfer in the House Committee on Military Affairs, however, and the bill was killed.157 It remained for Director Horace M. Albright to achieve this major reorganization, full of significance for the future of the National Park System, in negotiations with President Roosevelt in 1933. This reorganization, as noted above, also transferred all of Agriculture's monuments to Interior. Albright has fortunately provided the Service with a vivid and illuminating account of the fascination course of this successful negotiation.158 After 1925 no more national monuments were proclaimed on lands administered by the War Department, perhaps because of concern that just such a transfer of jurisdiction might eventually take place.

There is a curious footnote to this brief account of the War Department and the Antiquities Act. On July 17, 1915, Major General H. L. Scott, Chief of Staff, signed War Department Bulletin No. 27 by order of the Secretary of War.159 This astonishing document named twelve forts, four redoubts one battery, one barracks, one battlefield, three Indian mound complexes, and 76 memorials, markers and monuments situated on lands under the jurisdiction of the War Department to be national monuments. Among these historic places were Fort Marion in Florida, Fort Pulaski, Georgia, Forts Pike and Macomb, Louisiana, Fort Mifflin, Pennsylvania, Fort Denelson, Tennessee, and Vancouver Barracks, Washington. The Indian sites included six mounds in Shiloh National Military Park, Tennessee, and an Indian ruin at Fort Apache. The memorials, markers and monuments included numerous individual memorials in national cemeteries as well as the Statue of Liberty. In addition to proclaiming national monuments on fifty different reservations administered by the War Department, Bulletin No. 27 also named old forts on eleven military reservations which while not declared national monuments "are to be marked by appropriate markers as being places of historic interest." Among these were Fort Morgan, Alabama, Fort Barrancus, Florida, Fort Washington, Virginia, Fort Niagara, New York, and Forts Sumter and Moultrie, South Carolina. The Chief of Staff and the Secretary of War were of course without authority to proclaim national monuments, since the Antiquities Act reserved this power to the President. Nevertheless, Bulletin No. 27 was counter signed by Adjutant General H. P. McCain. It remained in effect for ten years. It was rescinded by Bulletin No. 2 on March 20, 1925, five months after President Coolidge had made Fort Marion, Fort Matanzas, Fort Pulaski, Castle Pinckney and the Statue of Liberty national monuments by presidential proclamation dated October 15, 1924.160

Fifty-seven of the 87 national monuments proclaimed under the Antiquities Act were established on lands administered by the Department of Interior. The first was Devils Tower, Wyoming, in 1906, and the latest, Marble Canyon, Arizona, in 1969. Six of these national monuments subsequently formed the basis for five national parks--Acadia, Carlsbad, Grand Teton, Petrified Forest and Zion. Five monuments have been abolished. During the famous and important first National Park Conference, held at Yellowstone National Park on September 10-11, 1911, Frank Bond, Chief Clerk of the General Land Office, had many interesting things to say about national monuments, of which 17 were then administered by Interior, ten by Agriculture, and one by the War Department.

We have now monuments created by man, such as the pueblos, the cliff ruins, and the sepulchers of nameless and unknown peoples, often most extraordinary as to location, character, and size; we have mission churches of the earliest period of Spanish conquest in the Southwest, and also lofty rock towers and cliffs upon which were carved over 300 years ago, with the daggers of the commanders, the names, dates, and other records of their visits and activity there. We have cinder and lava mountain forms, exemplifying geologically recent volcanic activity. We have extraordinary canyons and caverns, lofty piles and monoliths, and natural bridges, magnificent and impressive almost beyond description, the products of erosion. We have also as a monument, a magnificent Pacific coast redwood forest, a grove of sequoia, which, as hardly seedlings, spread their evergreen leaflets to the warming sun almost before man began the written record of his birth and achievements. The great majority of these monuments were made possible because the objects preserved have great scientific interest; but I have at times been somewhat embarrassed by requests of patriotic and public-spirited citizens who have strongly supported applications to create national monuments out of scenery alone...The terms of the monument act do not specify scenery, nor remotely refer to scenery, as a possible raison d'etre for a public reservation.161

Frank Bond also discussed conditions surrounding administration of the 28 national monuments. With the single exception of Muir Woods, protection in 1911 was practically confined to the restraining effects of official warning notices, and a few local make-shift measures. No funds whatsoever had as yet been appropriated for any other forms of protection. Furthermore many of the monuments were inaccessible and needed at least some roads and development to become publicly useful. The chiefs of field divisions and the local land officers of the General Land Office together with parallel officials in the Forest Service exercised what supervision they could from distant locations. Bond made a strong plea for custodians, superintendents, or caretakers for the national monuments.162

Bond also pointed out that responsibility for national monuments was divided between three departments.

I believe, therefore, that not only should we have effective local custodianship, but the administration of all national monuments of whatever character or wherever located, or however secured, should be consolidated and the responsibility for their development, protection, and preservation placed where it can be made effective. It is possible that 28 national monuments, or that portion of them that needs development, do not form a sufficiently weighty trust to warrant a separate administrative unit to develop and administer them. If this be true, why not consolidate a little further? Create an administrative unit for the national monuments and national parks together. The method of creating these reserves is different, but after creation there is no evident difference between them. They are as like as two peas in a pod.163

The idea of a National Park Service and a National Park System has a much longer history than can be traced here. It appears, however, that these concepts had been growing from various roots for some years and began to crystallize into specific proposals in 1911. On January 9 of that year Senator Reed Smoot of Utah introduced a bill in the Senate to establish a Bureau of National Parks. He introduced it on December 7 and on April 26, 1912, reported favorably with amendments from the Committee on Public Lands.164 This bill went all the way in the direction of consolidation. After a first section establishing a bureau in the Department of the Interior to be called the National Park Service, Section 2 outlines its responsibilities as follows:

That the director shall, under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior, have the supervision, management and control of the several national parks, the national monuments, the Hot Springs Reservation in the State of Arkansas, lands reserved or acquired by the United States because of their historical associations, and such other national parks, national monuments, or reservations of like character as may hereafter be created or authorized by Congress.165

It was to take four more years, and remarkable labors by Stephen T. Mather, Horace M. Albright, and their associates and friends before establishment of the National Park Service was finally authorized in 1916, and twenty-two more years before all these reservations were finally consolidated into one National Park System.

It is not possible in this study to trace the course of the National Park Service bill through Congress during 1915 and 1916. A strong effort was made at that time to consolidate all the national monuments administered by the Departments of Agriculture and Interior under the National Park Service. The two monuments under the jurisdiction of the War Department were passed over. The Forest Service, however, was strongly opposed to the proposed transfer of their monuments to the new bureau and Stephen Mather yielded the point rather than risk having the bill defeated. On May 16, 1916, Secretary of Agriculture D. F. Houston wrote Representative Scott Ferris of Oklahoma, Chairman of the House Committee on Public Lands, that

unquestionably the Grand Canyon (which was still under the Forest Service) should be established as a national park and placed under the direct administration of the national park service . . . In addition, the Mount Olympus national monument, which is the only other monument under the administration of this department embracing any considerable area, should be given careful consideration as a possible national park, and if not included in such park by congressional action, should be restored to its original status as national forest land. If it should eventually be found desirable to transfer to the park service any of the other nine national monuments in the national forests, this may be accomplished at any time for any particular area by the issuance of a presidential proclamation.166

This was on the whole a generous statement. Grand Canyon did become a national park under the Service in 1919. It turned out later, however, that the president lacked legal authority to transfer national monuments from one department to another by proclamation or executive order until passage of the Reorganization Act of 1933 gave him that authority.167 This fact, together with continuing opposition from many officials in the Departments of Agriculture and War, and from many members of Congress, delayed the consolidation until 1933.

The reorganization of 1933 was an event of epoch-making importance for the National Park Service. It brought about, at long last, the consolidation of all the national parks and national monuments into one National Park System. But it achieved much more. It greatly broadened and strengthened the as yet embryonic historic preservation program of the National Park Service by the addition of all the famous federally-owned national military parks and battlefield sites such as Gettysburg, Antietam, Chickamauga-Chattanooga, Shiloh, and Vicksburg, and such well-known national shrines as Fort McHenry, Abraham Lincoln's Birthplace, and the Lee Mansion. It also added the great national memorials to the System, including the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Statue of Liberty. And it added the national Capital Parks to Service responsibilities, a model metropolitan park system directly under the eyes of Congress.168 The large and important contribution the War Department made to historic preservation in the United States by the rescue, protection, and development of these many nationally significant historic places during a half century of dedicated effort prior to 1933 is insufficiently understood and appreciated today. The consolidation, however, was absolutely vital to the future of historic preservation on a national scale in the United States. The National Park Service, the historic preservation movement, and the nation will remain indebted to Director Horace M. Albright for his key role in this achievement.

Even though consolidated into one National Park System, most national monuments still suffered in 1933 from serious under-staffing and inadequate or even make-shift facilities for administration, protection, and the reception of visitors. Superintendent Frank Pinkley, in charge of more than a score of Southwestern National Monuments situated in New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado with headquarters at Casa Grande, strove valiantly during a long and constructive life-time to achieve recognition for the importance of national monuments together with sufficient resources for their proper administration. He left as a legacy a tradition of exceptional dedication to conservation and public service which still lives in National Park System areas throughout the Southwest.

Some progress in staffing and physical facilities was made at certain national monuments during the years of the Civilian Conservation Corps and the Public Works Administration between 1933 and 1941. But the national monuments did not come fully into their own as units of the System until Mission 66. This great program, the fruit of the leadership of Director Conrad L. Wirth, at long last provided the resources to bring every unit of the National Park System to a consistently high standard of protection and carefully controlled but essential physical development. Beginning in 1956 a half century after the passage of the Antiquities Act, Mission 66 provided the housing, the monument headquarters, the visitor centers, and the trails that finally revealed the full significance of the National monuments as parts of our national heritage.

Frank Bond's phrase characterizing national parks and national monuments "as like as two peas in a pod," was often quoted over the years as part of the justification for consolidating the national monuments into the National Park System. It is probably true that many national parks and national scientific monuments are as like as two peas in a pod. But national parks and national historical monuments are not as like as two peas in a pod and never have been. Rather, they are as different as apples and oranges. It took 53 years after 1911 for the fundamental distinction between natural and historical areas to be clearly recognized by the National Park Service and properly reflected in the formal organization of the National Park Service System. Based on the strong recommendation of Director George B. Hartzog, Jr. who drafted it, Secretary of the Interior Stewart L. Udall signed a landmark memorandum on July 10, 1964, identifying three categories of areas in the National Park System--Natural Areas, Historical Areas, and Recreation Areas. The memorandum also set forth separate but interdependent general principles for their respective management.169

This concept of the National Park System as consisting of three different but related categories of areas was recommended as legislation by Director Hartzog, written into law by Congress in Public Law 91-383, and approved by President Nixon on August 18, 1970. The preamble of that act makes a fitting conclusion to our story:

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That Congress declares that the national park system, which began with establishment of Yellowstone National Park in 1872, has since grown to include superlative natural, historic, and recreation areas in every major region of the United States, its territories and island possessions; that these areas, though distinct in character, are united through their inter-related purposes and resources into one national park system as cumulative expressions of a single national heritage; that, individually and collectively, these areas derive increased national dignity and recognition of their superb environmental quality through their inclusion jointly with each other in one national park system preserved and managed for the benefit and inspiration of all the people of the United States; and that it is the purpose of this Act to include all such areas in the System and to clarify the authorities applicable to the system.


141. Frank Bond, "The Administration of National Monuments," Proceedings of the National Park Conference held at the Yellowstone National Park, September 11 and 12, 1911 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1912), pp. 82-83.

142. Proclamation of September 24, 1906 (No. 658), Sullivan, p.171.

143. Proclamation of December 8, 1906 (No. 695), Sullivan, p. 177.

144. Proclamation of December 8, 1906 (No. 696), Sullivan, p. 235.

145. Proclamation of March 11, 1907 (No. 740), Sullivan, p. 148.

146. Proclamation of January 9, 1908 (No. 793), Sullivan, p. 240.

147. Proclamation of January 11, 1908 (No. 794), Sullivan, p. 28.

148. National Park Service, Hearing before the Committee on Public Lands, House of Representatives, Sixty-Fourth Congress, First Session, on H.R.434 and H.R. 8668, bills to establish a National Park Service and for other purposes, April 5 and 6, 1916 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1916), p. 53. An unnumbered report.

149. Annual Report of the Commissioner of the General Land Office for 1908, cited by Claus, p. 7.

150. Ise, pp. 498-501.

151. Department of the Interior news release from the Office of the Secretary, January 21, 1969.

152. One Third of the Nation's Land, A Report to the President and to the Congress by the Public Land Law Review Commission (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1970). See especially Chapter One, "Where and What Are Public Lands?", pp. 19-30, and the excellent map which accompanies the report showing the location of all Federal Lands in the United States and the departments and bureaus having jurisdiction.

153. Proclamation of August 22, 1934 (No. 2054), Sullivan, P. 146.

154. Proclamation of March 15, 1943 (No. 2578), Sullivan, p. 213.

155. Transfer of National Military Parks, Hearings before the Committee on Military Affairs, House of Representatives, Seventieth Congress, Second Session, on S.4173...January 31, 1929 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1929), pp. 3-10. An unnumbered report.

156. Ibid.

157. Ibid., pp. 11-23.

158. Horace M. Albright, "National Park Service Administration of Historic Sites" typewritten manuscript in files of Office of Archeology and Historic Preservation, National Park Service, Washington, DC.

159. War Department, Bulletin No. 27, July 17, 1915, pp. 1-12.

160. War Department, Bulletin No. 2, March 20, 1925, p. 1.

161. Bond, pp. 80-81.

162. Ibid., pp. 96-100.

163. Ibid., p. 100.

164. Bureau of National Parks, Senate Rep. No. 676, 62nd Cong., 2d Sess. (1912), pp. 1-5.

165. S.3463, Calendar No. 607, 62nd Cong., 2d Sess., 1912, p. 2.

166. National Park Service, House Rep. No. 700, 64th Cong., 1st Sess., pp. 6-7.

167. Opinions of Attorneys General (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1933), Vol. 36, 1929-32, pp. 75-79

168. Executive Order No. 6228, July 28, 1933, Sullivan, p. 6.

169. U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Compilation of the Administrative Policies for the National Parks and National Monuments of Scientific Significance (Natural Area Category). Revised August 1968. (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1968), pp. 76-80.

Part of a series of articles titled The Antiquities Act of 1906.

Last updated: March 6, 2023