MISSION 66 1955-1966

National Park Service History Collection RG 23

Preliminary Inventory

A. Provenance

The Mission 66 materials came from many different accessions. Some came from WASO and areas like Death Valley and Mesa Verde. Much came from individuals involved in Mission 66 planning and promotion, including Lon Garrison, Conrad Wirth, Ronald Lee, Herb Evison, Ben Thompson, and Ray Freeman. Non-Park Service people have contributed papers and articles.

Much of the material was generated by the Park Service for employee use. Some of the progress reports are stamped "For In House Use Only." There are also materials used to explain the program to the public, both government and industry sponsored. Several magazine articles increased the publicity. Mission 66 was in force from 1956 to 1966 with planning initiated in 1955. Several retrospective studies, articles, and papers have been published since 1966 and this program will undoubtedly continue to be investigated in the future.

B. History

Mission 66 was a ten-year developmental program that was largely the brainchild of Director Conrad Wirth. When he took over in December 1951, the parks were experiencing booming travel but deteriorating resources. A housing survey undertaken by the National Park Women's Organization in 1952 and 53 helped point the way. An October 1953 article by Bernard DeVoto calling for the parks to be closed was a catalyst. Work on a Mission 66 proposal began in 1955. It was presented to a cabinet meeting on January 27, 1956, and given a green light.

The physical development that resulted from Mission 66 are the most visual reminders. Mission 66 construction involved roads, camping and picnic areas, sanitary facilities, housing, and visitor centers. Every park in the system had one or more construction projects. Yet museum exhibits, informational pamphlets, and audio-visual programs also were developed as a result of Mission 66. It greatly increased the personnel running the parks. Mission 66 was supposed to be completed in 1966, the 50th anniversary of the National Park Service. However, it did not long survive its creator and only follow-up work was done under George B. Hartzog, Jr., who became Director in January 1964.

The memoranda, steering committee files, and reports contained in this material give a fairly clear history of the early days. Mission 66 was a WASO program, with much input from the field. In February 1955, Director Wirth presented his idea to the staff and a Mission 66 Task Force was formed comprised of William Carnes, Harold Smith, Robert Coates, Jack Dodd, Roy Appleman, Ray Freeman, and Howard Stagner. The task force undertook considerable study, touching all bases - field, region, universities and other agencies - before producing a final Mission 66 report in January 1956. A Mission 66 Steering Committee headed by Lon Garrison also helped with the planning. The Mission 66 plan aimed at bringing the whole system up-to-date by 1966. As detailed above, White House support was obtained at the January 27, 1956, Cabinet meeting. The formal inauguration of Mission 66 took place at a American Pioneer Dinner on February 8, 1956. Congress increased the National Park Service appropriation and Mission 66 monies became available July 1, 1956. Funds eventually totalled over $900,000,000. Mission 66 became a milestone in National Park Service history.

C. Scope and contents

There are (1986) 3 1/2 archival boxes of foldered material, a planning book, 4 archival boxes of Mission 66 brochures, 8 notebooks, and a half archival box plus an expanding folder of photos.

D. Dispersal

The slide collection contains slides from the Mission 66 shows. Many oral histories bear on Mission 66 as do parts of published books. The Courier files from the 50s and 60s also have much information on Mission 66. Conrad Wirth's book Parks, Politics and the People is an important source.

E. Folders

Series I - Higher Echelon

Cabinet Meeting - Mission 66 Presentation, January 27, 1956

General Statement of Director Wirth before Senate Appropriations Subcommittee, 1963

Series II - Steering Committee

Unmarked folder - Steering Committee Mission 66 Reports Monthly Reading File - Steering Committee Mission 66, March 1955

Monthly Reading File - Steering Committee Mission 66, April 1955

Monthly Reading File - Steering Committee Mission 66, June 1955

Monthly Reading File - Steering Committee Mission 66, August 1955

Monthly Reading File - Steering Committee Mission 66, September 1955

Monthly Reading File - Steering Committee Mission 66, October 1955

Monthly Reading File - Steering Committee Mission 66, November 1955

Monthly Reading File - Steering Committee Mission 66, January 1956

Monthly Reading File - Steering Committee Mission 66, February 1956

Monthly Reading File - Mission 66 Steering Committee, March-April 1956

Monthly Reading File - Mission 66 Steering Committee, May-June 1956

Monthly Reading File - Mission 66 Steering Committee, July-November 1956

Series III - Advisory Committee

Mission 66 Advisory Committee, L. A. Garrison - 1956

Memorandum and Report on 6th Meeting of Mission 66 Advisory Committee, San Francisco, October 9-10, 1958

Series IV - Planning

Planning Book Mission 66, 1957-1966 - Control Schedules 1964-1974, (Revised April 1963)

Series V - Booklets

Booklet - Facts About Mission 66

Booklet - The Need for Mission 66 - May 1956

Booklet - Mission 66 in Action, A Report on Three Years of Mission 66

Booklet - Mission 66 in Action, A Report on the First Year of Mission 66

Booklet - Mission 66 Questions and Answers - Duplicated by Region 4 Office

Booklet - Your Mission 66 and the National Parks, A Passport to Adventure, Phillips Petroleum Company

Booklet - Your National Park System, A Passport to Adventure, Phillips Petroleum Company

Series VI - Memoranda

Unmarked folder - Mission 66 Memoranda

Mission 66 Memoranda 1 to 5

Memorandum - Telling the Story of Mission 66, February 1959

Series VII - Reports

Mission 66 Report - September 1955

Mission 66 for the National Park System - January 1956

Mission 66 Progress Report - April 1961

Mission 66 Report - ca 1961

Mission 66 Progress Report, October 1963

Visitor Centers Progress Report, February 5, 1964

Mission 66 Progress Report, March 1966

Series VIII - Information

Binder - Questions and Answers on Mission 66

Memorandum and Script - New Slide Program for Mission 66, February 1956

Outline for Mission 66 In-Service Training Meeting - February 20, 1958

Mission 66 Program Scripts

Information Paper - Park Development Progress During the First Five Years of Mission 66 in Terms of Park Purpose and Value

Mission 66 Program Statement, 1959-1966

Memorandum - Events of 1966 in National Park Service

Mission 66 Information in General

Series IX - Speeches

Speeches - Mission 66

Speeches and Remarks - Mission 66

Remarks by Director Wirth at Mission 66 Frontiers Conference, April 24, 1961

Remarks by Director Wirth at Dedication of new Visitor Center at Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky, May 14, 1961

Talk - Progress on Mission 66, Edward A. Hummel, 16 Annual California and Pacific Southwest Rec. and Park Conference, February 25, 1964

Series X - Conferences

Program Booklet - Park Development Conference September 1957

Report of the Mission 66 Frontiers Conference, 1961

Series XI - Articles and Publications

Yosemite Nature Notes, September 1957 - "Some Aspects of Mission 66, Part I"

Yosemite Nature Notes, October 1957 - "Some Aspects of Mission 66, Part II

Yosemite Nature Notes, November 1957 - "Happy Isles Nature Center, A Mission 66 Project"

National Parks Magazine - January-March 1958 Publication - NPS and AAA - The National Park System Present and Future, December 1954

Publication - The National Park System, 1955

Publication - Our Heritage

Publication - That Our Past Shall Live

Article - "Mission 66, A Program to Develop Our National Parks," by Elbert Cox, Virginia Forests, January 1960

Clipping - "Mission 66: To Make Your Civil War Tour More Enjoyable, Civil War Times, June 1961, p. 12-14

Historic Preservation, July-August 1966 - "Mission 66 and Parkscape," Director George B. Hartzog, Jr.

National Geographic, July 1966 - 3 articles on National Parks, Mission 66

Series XII - General (including files kept by individuals)

"Adv. and Rec. 1955," [containing Mission 66 Papers, Clippings, Etc. - 1955-56]

Mission 66 Material - 1955-6

Mission 66 Folder - 1955-56

Mission 66 - Miscellaneous

Director and Conservationists - Correspondence, Mission 66

Folder - Mission 66 [kept by Museum Branch]

Recommendations made by Regional Director and Chiefs, Service Centers - 1958 and 59

Folder - Mission 66

Mission 66 - Mr. Freeman's File, 1958-1961

Copy of Revised Tape - Mission 66 in Action, Number 4, 1958-9

Series XIII - Miscellaneous

Program with Seating List - American Pioneer Dinner, February 8, 1956, Washington, D. C.

Paper - Policy and Practice in the National Park Service by Conrad L. Wirth

Mission 66 Reappraisal Statement of Aviation Task Force - March 15, 1961

Binder of Mission 66 Architectures Post Mission 66 Planning

[Slide Script] - The Golden Anniversary of the National Park Service

A Brief History and Description of the National Park System, National Park Service 50th Anniversary - 1916-1966

Series XIV - Theses, Histories

Thesis - Mission 66, A Case Study, Bob Gray

Mission 66 Revisited, Thesis - Mission 66 An Example of the Bureaucratic Process by William K. Jones, interview of Conrad L. Wirth by William K. Jones on Mission 66

Proposed Mission 66 Article - Founders Day, 1976, Courier

Series XV - Mission 66 Brochures (Folders)

Archives Boxes - Mission 66, Index Folders 1-67, Folders 68-119 Index Attached)

1. ABRAHAM LINCOLN National Historical Park

2. ACADIA National Park

3. ANDREW JOHNSON National Monument


5. APPOMATTOX COURT HOUSE National Historical Park

6. ARCHES National Monument

7. AZTEC RUINS National Monument

8. BADLANDS National Monument

9. BANDELIER National Monument

10. BIG BEND National Park



13. BRYCE CANYON National Park

14. CABRILLO National Monument

15. CANYON DE CHELLY National Monument

16. CAPE HATTERAS National Seashore

17. CAPITOL REEF National Monument

18. CAPULIN MOUNTAIN National Monument

19. CASA GRANDE National Monument

20. CHALMETTE National Historical Park


22. COLONIAL National Historical Park

23. CORONADO National Memorial

24. COWPENS National Battlefield Site

25. CUMBERLAND GAP National Historical Park

26. CUSTER BATTLEFIELD National Monument

27. CASTILLO DE SAN MARCOS National Monument

28. CASTLE CLINTON National Monument

29. CEDAR BREAKS National Monument

30. CHACO CANYON National Monument

31. CHIRICAHUA National Monument

32. COLORADO National Monument

33. COULEE DAM National Recreation Area

34. DEVILS TOWER National Monument

35. EFFIGY MOUNDS National Monument

36. EVERGLADES National Park

37. FEDERAL HALL National Memorial

38. FORT CAROLINE National Memorial

39. FORT FREDERICA National Monument

40. FORT MATANZAS National Monument

41. FORT NECESSITY National Battlefield Site

42. FORT PULASKI National Monument

43. FORT RALEIGH National Historic Site

44. FORT SUMTER National Monument

45. FORT VANCOUVER National Monument





50. GETTYSBURG National Military Park

51. GLACIER National Park

52. GRAN QUIVIRA National Monument

53. GREAT SAND DUNES National Monument

54. GUILFORD COURTHOUSE National Military Park

55. HAWAII National Park

56. HOME OF FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT National Historic Site

57. HOMESTEAD National Monument

58. HOMESTEAD National Monument

59. HOT SPRINGS National Park

60. HOVENWEEP National Monument

61. JEWEL CAVE National Monument

62. JOSHUA TREE National Monument

63. KATMAI National Monument

64. KENNESAW MOUNTAIN National Battlefield Park

65. KINGS MOUNTAIN National Military Park

66. LAKE MEAD National Recreation Area

67. LAVA BEDS National Monument

68. LEHMAN CAVES National Monument

69. MONTEZUMA CASTLE National Monument

70. MOORES CREEK National Military Park

71. MORRISTOWN National Historical Park

72. MOUND CITY GROUP National Monument

73. MOUNT MC KINLEY National Park

74. MOUNT RAINIER National Park

75. MOUNT RUSHMORE National Memorial

76. MUIR WOODS National Memorial


78. NATURAL BRIDGES National Monument

79. NAVAJO National Monument

80. OCMULGEE National Monument


82. OLYMPIC National Park

83. OREGON CAVES National Monument

84. ORGAN PIPE CACTUS National Monument


86. PETERSBURG National Military Park

87. PINNACLES National Monument

88. PIPE SPRING National Monument

89. PIPESTONE National Monument

90. PLATT National Park

91. RICHMOND National Battlefield Park

92. ROCKY MOUNTAIN National Park

93. SAGUARO National Monument

94. SALEM MARITIME National Historic Site

95. SAN JUAN National Historic Site

96. SARATOGA National Historical Park


98. SHADOW MOUNTAIN National Recreation Area

99. SHENANDOAH National Park

100. SHILOH National Military Park

101. SITKA AND GLACIER BAY National Monuments

102. STONES RIVER National Military Park

103. THEODORE ROOSEVELT National Memorial Park

104. TIMPANOGOS CAVE National Monument

105. TONTO National Monument

106. TUMACACORI National Monument

107. TUZIGOOT National Monument

108. VANDERBILT MANSION National Historic Site

109. VICKSBURG National Military Park

110. VIRGIN ISLANDS National Historic Site

111. WALNUT CANYON National Monument

112. WHITE SANDS National Monument

113. WHITMAN MISSION National Monument

114. WRIGHT BROTHERS National Memorial

115. WIND CAVE National Park

116. YOSEMITE National Park

117. YUCCA HOUSE National Monument

118. ZION National Park


2 Other Boxes Brochures - Chief one missing from index but in Box 4


Series XVI - Mission 66 Notebooks ("Red notebooks")

Mission 66 Hs Book I

Mission 66 Reports, Book II

Mission 66 Talks, Book III (also clippings)

Mission 66 Press Releases, Book V

Mission 66 Reappraisal, Natural History, Personnel

Recreation Resources, Book VII

Mission 66 Preliminary Legislative, Statistics, operations, Maintenance, Book VIII

Mission 66 Safety HABS, Inter., Parks, Ranger Activities, Corollary, Book IX

Mission 66 (Return to H. G. Smith)

Series XVII - Photos

Carnes Staff Photos with 2 Slides of Mission 66 Sign

Folder - Dedication Photos

Mission 66 Dedications - 1958

Mission 66 Dedications - 1959

Mission 66 Dedications - 1960

Mission 66 Justification Photos

Folder - Dedication Photos

Mission 66 Dedications - 1960

Mission 66 Justification Photos

June 23, 1986
Reformatted October 1, 1998