America's National Monuments
The Politics of Preservation
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Chapter 2:
Pothunters and Professors

Among those who worked at the Indian exhibit in Chicago was a man against whom the collective power of the Department of the Interior and the newly established anthropological discipline would soon be exerted. The state of Colorado hired Richard Wetherill, a rancher from Mancos, Colorado, to answer questions about the collections of artifacts he and his brothers had taken from ruins in south western Colorado and southern Utah. When Wetherill arrived in Chicago, he possessed not only astounding artifacts of American prehistory, but considerable knowledge and field experience as well. [17]

Wetherill's personal history was typical of the lives of many who settled the West, except that he stumbled across something extraordinary in the ruins of the Mesa Verde region. The eldest son of a wandering family that had come to Colorado in search of silver, Wetherill took responsibility for his family's less-than-lucrative Alamo Ranch near Mancos, Colorado, during the 1880s. Wetherill and his brothers drove their cattle through the steep canyons of southwestern Colorado. They were peripherally aware of the many cliff dwellings that dotted their pastures, but it was not until 1887 that one of the brothers, Al Wetherill, discovered the first major ruin (now called Sandal House) in what is now Mesa Verde National Park. A year later, while hunting for stray cattle, Richard and his brother-in-law, Charlie Mason, discovered Cliff Palace, the most spectacular of the Mesa Verde ruins. Excited, the men rapidly uncovered additional ruins, and Richard Wetherill found himself involved in more than a hobby. The "lost civilization" that he thought he had discovered consumed him. [18]

The Alamo Ranch rarely provided an ample living for the Wetherill clan, and Richard Wetherill took advantage of his growing archaeological knowledge to support his family. In 1890 the Denver Historical Society offered to purchase the mummy of a child that Clayton Wetherill and Charlie Mason had discovered at Mesa Verde, and Richard Wetherill accepted its offer of $3,000. The Wetherills then began excavating "in a more businesslike manner," and in 1892 they assembled an extensive collection of artifacts with the visiting Gustav Nordenskiold of Sweden. By 1894 Richard Wetherill was a seasoned relic hunter with extensive experience in the field. He had developed his own cottage industry and placed advertisements in the local paper offering curios and artifacts for sale. [19] There was a better living in purveying the relics of a lost civilization than ranching could provide in the Mancos region.

An individualist, Wetherill was a nineteenth-century person in an area increasingly crowded with twentieth-century scientists who had something to prove. He did as many westerners did, going about his business in a region that he believed was beyond the interest and reach of federal officials. But as the collections he made began to attract the attention of anthropologists at universities and museums, Wetherill's name became notorious. When the collection the Wetherills made with Nordenskiold appeared in Sweden, American scientists howled. Wetherill offended their professional pride and they became nationalistic as they publicly castigated him. Simply put, his presence at southwestern sites threatened the fledgling profession of anthropology, and his work with foreigners gave the anthropologists an avenue to attack him. A dramatic powerplay evolved, with Richard Wetherill at its center. He became anathema to American anthropologists, epitomizing chaos in the world of order they sought to create.

Wetherill was outside the institutional structure of American science. Unlike the military surveyors, the first Americans to explore the ruins, and the anthropologists who followed them, Wetherill was not accountable to anyone. As anthropologists strove for professional status, credentials such as field experience with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) or academic training became necessary entry cards to their discourse. Wetherill ignored such developments. He was not a member of the cadre of professionalizing anthropologists, and many of them regarded people like him as pothunters, no better than criminals.

Wetherill also knew the location of more ruins than anyone else at that time, and his knowledge made him an essential contact for anyone hoping to find undisturbed sites in Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado. He attracted considerable attention among potential excavators, and by the mid-1890s the Alamo Ranch became the meeting place for people interested in excavating ruins in the Southwest. Many travelers came to see the Mesa Verde ruins and to talk to Wetherill about the possibility of future expeditions to more remote places.

Among the expeditions Wetherill organized was one financed by two brothers, Talbot and Frederic Hyde. Heirs to the Babbitt soap fortune, the Hydes met Wetherill at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago and became interested in Indian artifacts. They went to Mancos, and in the winter of 1893 the three formed a partnership. Their first expedition to Grand Gulch, Utah, uncovered many artifacts, and the Hydes donated their collection to the American Museum of Natural History in New York. [20] In the process, Wetherill's name became more familiar to those interested in American antiquities.

Wetherill's connection, via the Hyde brothers, to the American Museum of Natural History gave that institution the upper hand in the rapidly expanding field of American antiquities. At the turn of the century, prehistoric artifacts were the most important results of excavation. Cultural institutions and private collectors engaged in fierce competition for these spoils. To load their halls with full museum cases, institutions cavalierly sponsored scientists who tore through southwestern archaeological sites in search of artifacts. Wetherill often served as point man. His vast knowledge guaranteed the success of expeditions in which he was involved. Others did not fare as well, and competitors attacked Wetherill for his success because his sponsors were often beyond reproach.

The partisan nature of anthropological politicking helped account for the general disavowal of his discovery of the Basketmakers, the ancestors of the people who built the cliff dwellings. Although George H. Pepper of the American Museum of Natural History and Dr. T. Mitchell Prudden, a medical doctor with strong ties to institutional anthropology, reported Wetherill's find in scholarly and commercial articles, others dismissed it as a hoax. The self-affirmed anthropological and archaeological clique again felt threatened; without any formal training, Wetherill was altering their intellectual terrain. If his discovery gained credence, it could have dire consequences for establishing professionals.

In part as a response to their perception of this blatant challenge, institutional anthropologists in the late 1890s began to organize an appeal for legislation designed to prevent people like Richard Wetherill from digging up the ruins of prehistoric civilizations. Anthropologists needed exclusive access to sites to acquire professional respectability, if they were to avoid the challenge represented by Wetherill's work. They sought legal remedies to protect their territory from intrusion.

But the anthropologists faced western resentment of their good intentions. People scratching out a frontier existence regarded the anthropologists as aristocrats, representatives of an eastern elite in a highly specialized field that seemed superfluous. From a western perspective, they were out of touch with the key value of the times—constant progress towards a civilized West. With little support in the West and only sporadic interest on the part of the government, those who favored preservation of prehistoric ruins were in a difficult position. Achieving their desired results looked to be a very complicated proposition.

Eastern academics and scientists were a powerful force, and they took their efforts to the legislative arena. As representatives of a growing professional community just beginning to assert itself, American scientists believed that the preservation of American antiquities was an issue that demanded their input. In early 1900, at the behest of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Archaeological Institute of America, Rep. Jonathan Dolliver of Iowa introduced H.R. 8066, a measure designed to afford protection to American antiquities scattered around the Southwest. [21]

Dolliver's proposal followed earlier patterns of American land legislation and reflected the values of the scientific community. It granted the president almost unlimited power to create reservations "in the same manner and form as now provided by law and regulation for forestry reservations." The reservations could include almost anything of public interest, including historic and prehistoric places and natural or scenic areas. Most important, the bill did not restrict the size of the reservations. A much broader bill than Senator Hoar's petition in 1882, H.R. 8066 granted powers that many in the West feared. [22]

Westerners immediately rejected the concept. The next day, Rep. John F. Shafroth of Colorado introduced a bill to counter Dolliver's proposal of strong central power. H.R. 8195 focused on punishing vandals who disturbed ruins on public property, not on reserving lands on which there were known ruins. The House Public Lands Committee quickly put it aside. Yet Shafroth's proposal clearly made his point: executive interference in questions concerning the public domain had to be checked. The bill was a gesture, its rapid introduction an indicator of the seriousness of the issue to western representatives. Pursuing a worthwhile end, advocates of preservation had again imposed on the rights of individual western settlers.

His point clear to the preservationists, Shafroth tried to negotiate a compromise. On 7 March 1900, a few weeks after his initial bill, he offered a less extreme measure, H.R. 9245, which allowed the USGS to survey areas containing prehistoric ruins. It granted the secretary of the interior the power to proclaim reservations limited to a maximum of 320 acres. Shafroth's perspective typified the western view: Preserving antiquities was a good concept, but safeguarding regional interests required concrete limitations on the power granted by legislation. The restriction to 320 acres effectively prevented a chief executive from hampering the ability of western farming and ranching interests to prosper. Cropped as it was, H.R. 8195 allowed the president no powers he might use capriciously.

All three bills went to the House Committee on Public Lands, where they became entangled in Washington politics. Committee chairman John F. Lacey of Iowa, the author of many pieces of conservation oriented legislation, passed them on to Secretary of the Interior Ethan A. Hitchcock, who gave them to Binger Hermann, the commissioner of the General Land Office (GLO). Hermann was a strong advocate of preservation legislation. He inspected the bills, found them lacking, and responded by proposing his own draft, which the House Public Lands Committee coolly received. [23]

The question of preservation became deeply entangled in the issue of the administration of public lands, and the first signs of official interest in preserving southwestern ruins clearly revealed conflicting perspectives on the issue. Western congressmen wanted to solve the questions of their region without interference from national policy-makers. Federal bureaucrats seemed far too willing to sacrifice potentially valuable western land for their peculiar sense of the overall good of the nation. Dolliver and other supporters of preservation and conservation regarded recalcitrance on this type of issue as evidence of individual greed and ignorance of the problems of the future. With no consensus among the proponents, all the bills, including Hermann's proposal, H. R. 10451, died in Congress. Unpopular with Western congressmen, the protection of aboriginal ruins appeared to be a classic special-interest issue.

Nearly three thousand miles away, westerners developed new interest in the archaeological ruins that intruded upon their economic lives. On 30 April and 1 May 1900, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported that the Hyde Exploring Expedition, under the direction of Richard Wetherill, was excavating ruins in Chaco Canyon, located in the north western corner of the New Mexico territory. In an inflammatory tone, the New Mexican insinuated that the expedition was merely a raid on the ruins by professional pothunters.

The New Mexican did not initiate the public reaction to the excavation at Chaco Canyon. Earlier in the spring of 1900, Edgar L. Hewett, the president of New Mexico Normal University in Las Vegas, New Mexico, and at that time an amateur archaeologist who staked an informal claim to the thousands of pueblo ruins on the Pajarito Plateau north west of Santa Fe, complained to the surveyor general of the General Land Office about the work at Chaco Canyon. The GLO took note of the complaint but did little. When Hewett convinced the newspaper to publish its report on the excavation, Washington dispatched Special Agent Max Pracht from Santa Fe to the Chaco basin. Unhappy at being sent to a remote corner of the New Mexico territory, Pracht went unwillingly and seems to have made only a cursory attempt to understand the situation. Nevertheless, in May 1900 he sent his report to the commissioner of the GLO. [24]

Pracht indicated that he thought the excavation was a responsible, professional operation. Prof. Frederic W. Putnam of the American Museum of Natural History, an important name in American archaeology, was the nominal head, and at the time of Pracht's visit, George H. Pepper, one of Putnam's former students and the author of an article about the Basketmakers, supervised the excavating. Richard Wetherill led a band of Navajo laborers who did much of the actual digging. Pracht believed that the artifacts the men found were being "used in a legitimate way as a scientific collection. The result of the work of these scientific men . . . cannot but rebound [sic] to the immediate benefit of ethnological and historical bodies the world over." [25]

Pracht had few options, and he suggested that his superiors handle the question. He knew of no law that specifically prevented excavation of public land, and indeed none existed. Pracht thought that the secretary of the interior should contact Putnam and ask the professor to withdraw his crew or request a presidential order that forbade the work. The status quo was clearly intolerable. Either the ruins had to be left alone, or a system had to be developed that protected the ruins from depredation and destruction of all kinds. [26]

Pracht had no complaints about the Hyde Exploring Expedition as long as someone like Pepper, with scientific credentials, oversaw the work, and it appeared that the interests of science were served. He hoped to thwart those intending to make a fast profit in selling antiquities. The General Land Office in Washington, D.C., had little to go on other than the report. Its officials concurred with Pracht's findings and informed Putnam that a complaint had been filed.

Not everyone accepted Pracht's verdict on the Chaco Canyon excavations. Edgar L. Hewett particularly remained unconvinced, and on 17 November 1900 the Santa Fe Archaeological Society, upon which he was an important influence, requested that Secretary Hitchcock put an end to the "depredations" at Chaco Canyon. [27] Responding to the pressure, Commissioner Hermann secured an order requiring the excavation in the Chaco region to cease. He sent the order to Putnam and planned another inspection of the area, for which he selected Special Agent Stephen J. Holsinger.

The cessation order was a necessary gesture. Disturbing reports about activities in Chaco Canyon continued to filter back to Washington. On 18 January 1901 Special Agent S. S. Mathers of the GLO office in Santa Fe informed Commissioner Hermann that the delegate to the New Mexico legislature and the county clerk of San Juan County, where the ruins were located, visited him. They reported that although the Hyde brothers had stopped excavating, Richard Wetherill had continued. Their most damaging contention was that Wetherill and his men had found a very valuable piece of turquoise, which they had sold for $1,200. Mathers also reported the existence of the Hyde Exploring Expedition trading post with stock worth more than $80,000. Mathers contended that Wetherill and the Hydes had made the entire sum since beginning their work in the Chaco region. [28]

These were devastating accusations made by responsible representatives of San Juan County, and in Washington, D.C., it appeared that Pracht had been deceived. Apparently unaware that Holsinger had already been sent from Phoenix, Mathers offered to go to Chaco Canyon. "This thing ought to be stoped [sic]," he declared, "and what is taken from these ruins ought to be sent to the Smithsonian Institute." [29] The entire situation had become a serious problem for Commissioner Hermann. Mathers's report clouded an already murky picture. Hermann's men could not agree whether responsible scientists or pothunters were excavating the ruins.

Holsinger was one of the most dependable people that the GLO employed in the West. He had extensive experience in settling land claim disputes, a reputation for being fair, and an air that made him formidable. Holsinger went to Chaco Canyon to settle the dispute by judging the facts. Along with many that followed him, he was dragged into a situation with no clear right and wrong and, in the end, made judgments based as much on conviction as on discernible fact.

Holsinger's inspection at the Chaco Canyon produced the first truly close look at the activities of Richard Wetherill and the Hyde Exploring Expedition. Holsinger arrived at Chaco Canyon on the evening of 23 April 1901, and by the time he left nearly a month later, he knew as much of the excavations as did any of the participants. On 5 December 1901 Holsinger filed his report to the commissioner of the GLO. In it he examined the situation from many points of view. His investigation resulted in a document that juxtaposed the values of the nineteenth-century frontier and those of twentieth-century regulatory bureaucracy.

Wetherill's motivation particularly intrigued Holsinger, and in his search for clues, he untangled the story of the Hyde Exploring Expedition. According to Holsinger, Wetherill realized that he had found an area with considerable significance for southwestern archaeology, and from which he could make possibly the most important collection of prehistoric artifacts yet discovered. "To make this stupendous collection entire," Holsinger wrote, "became his one ambition." [30] Wetherill's project required capital he did not have, but his acquaintances from the Chicago Exposition, the Hyde brothers, could easily afford the investment. The Hyde Exploring Expedition was the result.

The Hydes and Wetherill went to great lengths to convince Holsinger that they had reputable intentions. The men and their Navajo laborers excavated in the summers following 1896, and they estimated that they found 50,000 pieces of turquoise, 10,000 vases or pieces of pottery, 5,000 stone implements, 1,000 wood and bone implements, a few baubles, fourteen skeletons, a few copper bells, and a jewelled frog in Pueblo Bonito, the largest individual ruin. The Hydes, to whom the terms of the partnership gave the collection, reported that they donated everything to the American Museum of Natural History, "not a single specimen having been retained, not even a souvenir by any member of the company or their families." In a sworn affidavit, Talbot Hyde told Holsinger that along with the collection, the brothers gave the museum "many other valuable artifacts purchased from Wetherill, who secured them in Colorado and Utah." [31]

From the perspective of the GLO, the evidence posed numerous problems. Foremost was the question of ownership of artifacts found on the public domain. Because mineral, timber, and other rights on such land belonged to the government, it seemed a simple extension of law that artifacts and anything else remained federal property. If that was the case, then the expedition was guilty of violations of federal law. In short, from the stance of the government, their investment in the Hyde Exploring Expedition gave the Hyde brothers no right to collect artifacts or to donate them to anyone. The issue of the sale of what was ostensibly federal property also appeared. If the Hydes purchased other artifacts from the public domain from Wetherill, the government might be able to prosecute. Holsinger's report revealed that Wetherill's cottage industry and his ability to produce artifacts from all over the Southwest posed an even greater threat to the ability of the GLO to administer its domain than GLO officials had previously realized.

Fact and impression had become closely intertwined, and the situation made Commissioner Hermann's job difficult. The Hyde Expedition trading post at Chaco Canyon contributed to the well-being of destitute Navajo Indians in the area, but the economics of the trade in modern Native American goods was a side issue. The primary concern of the GLO was the disposition of what appeared to be one of the most important relics of the prehistory of the North American continent. If Chaco Canyon resembled Holsinger's description, it deserved some kind of protection from careless depredation, and Hermann believed that accredited anthropologists should be responsible for excavating the ruins. But short of a special act of Congress, similar to the one drawn up to protect Casa Grande, no means to accomplish this existed.

The need for rules and regulations to govern activities in places like the Chaco Canyon clearly emerged from the otherwise confused situation. Government officials increasingly believed that they had to do something to protect ruins from random excavation, but without a law that specifically defined artifacts on public land as federal property, they had no place from which to begin. Holsinger could not prove that the string of Hyde trading posts were marketing relics from the ruins, but neither was there evidence to allay his suspicions. At the conclusion of Holsinger's investigation, it seemed that the Hyde Exploring Expedition would continue its activities. Another existing law, however, offered the GLO a way to stop Wetherill.

The government used the Homestead Act of 1862 as its means to regulate Wetherill's activities. The homestead claims filed by Wetherill and Frederic Hyde were an obvious target for concerned federal officials. Both filed claims on quarter sections that contained ruins, locations they were not homesteading in the traditional sense. Instead of farming, Holsinger wrote, Wetherill "occupied and used [the land] for the purposes of trade," a practice that did not allow an individual to receive a perfected patent. Even so, Wetherill and the Hydes "took frequent occasion. . . . to avow goo[d] faith and disclaim any intent to defraud the Government or in removing relics from public." [32] But Wetherill's claims of good intention did not sway GLO officials in Washington, D.C. In March 1902 the General Land Office suspended his homestead claim because he had not planted sufficient acreage in crops to satisfy the requirements of the Homestead Act. Simultaneously, the temporary cessation order against the Hyde Exploring Expedition became permanent. [33]

Preempting homestead claims in the Chaco Canyon on superficial grounds hailed the beginning of a new era in the disposition of the public domain. Spurred by Progressive reforms in other areas of resource preservation, the GLO came to see preservation as a significant goal. The Department of the Interior began to express a position toward government land in the Southwest that was closely allied with President Theodore Roosevelt, who ascended to the White House after the assassination of William McKinley in 1901, and his belief in centralized power.

Despite its isolation, Chaco Canyon was obviously a national treasure, and an active Department of the Interior took a strong stance to protect it. The issue was no longer whether the participants in the Hyde Exploring Expedition were vandals or responsible archaeologists. Holsinger did not complain about their methods; instead he questioned whether individuals had the right to appropriate a shared resource for their own gain. Although of a different character than forests or minerals, the ruins were certainly prone to damage.

Chaco Canyon was not an isolated example, nor was the government singling out Wetherill for castigation. After 1902 the GLO stepped up its efforts all over the public domain. Before then, the bureau routinely granted requests to excavate to respectable citizens, usually anyone who could find a congressman to ask on their behalf. But by 1902 the outcry was sufficient to stem this practice, and GLO officials felt a much stronger commitment to protecting archaeological areas. After 1902 they refused requests to excavate from people without scientific credentials. Even ostensibly responsible citizens were asked to refrain from unsupervised digging, and no matter to what lengths their congressmen went, permission to excavate was rarely granted. [34] A value system different from any that Richard Wetherill understood began to govern the decisions of the GLO.

The suspension of his homestead claim was a message to the individualist from Mancos. His era of self-taught people was being brought to a close by trained, accredited institutional professionals. People like Wetherill could no longer consider the public domain of twentieth-century America their private territory. Like it or not, a strong central government was starting to manage resources, regulating and legislating land use in the United States. This meant that prehistoric ruins were no longer going to be the de facto property of the first person to stumble over them.

According to Holsinger, Wetherill chose not to cease his activities in the Chaco Canyon. On 15 May 1902 the agent again wrote the commissioner of the GLO about the actions of Wetherill and one of his brothers, who continued to excavate near Pueblo Bonito. Richard Wetherill denied the allegations, claiming that his brother acted alone, but Holsinger believed that both men were selling the newly found artifacts. [35] Wetherill also told visitors to Chaco Canyon that the excavation belonged to the Hyde Exploring Expedition, a fact that particularly galled Holsinger. "The work is the purest vandalism," he insisted. "The more I know of Richard Wetherill, the more I am convinced that he is a man without principle." [36]

Holsinger's objections to Wetherill increasingly became personal. He had given Wetherill grudging respect on his first trip to the Chaco Canyon. Holsinger had not impugned Wetherill's or the Hydes' statements, preferring instead to believe their sworn testimony. But even after the cessation order, Wetherill continued to excavate; worse than that in Holsinger's eyes, he lied about his activities and incriminated the Hydes, who had chosen to obey the regulations. Wetherill forfeited the right to have his word honored, and Holsinger came to regard him in a different light. "He boasted to me that he was known as the 'vandal of the Southwest,'" Holsinger wrote, "which at the time I did not accept seriously but have since learned was a matter of some pride with this man." [37] Wetherill's behavior offended Holsinger's sense of decency and convinced the GLO agent that the man deserved to be treated like a criminal.

Wetherill was the consummate representative of the attitudes of nineteenth-century Americans, accustomed to doing as he chose with out being bothered by rules and regulations. Firm in his convictions to the point of self-righteousness and stubborn to a fault when compelled to obey the directives of others, Wetherill believed he had as much right to the artifacts that he found as did the government. He felt unjustly deprived of his way to earn a living. Washington, D.C., was a long way from the San Juan River basin, and Wetherill knew the Chaco area from first-hand experience. To give an order was one thing, to enforce it another, and Wetherill felt no remorse as he continued to dig. Perhaps realizing his days in the field were numbered, he set out to "take all that I can get in the next four years." [38]

Holsinger was equally determined to put an end to Wetherill's activities. He continued to keep a close eye on his suspect and stepped up his attacks on other southwestern pothunters. In November 1902 Holsinger arrested four Mexicans in Arizona whom he caught trafficking in illegal artifacts. He hoped that the arrests might deter Wetherill, but by December 1902 he was convinced that Wetherill would not stop excavating. "I have understood upon reliable information that he has openly boasted that he would pay no attention to the warning notices given by me in the name of the Interior Department G.L.O.," Holsinger wrote to his superiors, "and that he defies anyone to prevent his despoiling said ruins." [39]

By this point, Holsinger recognized Wetherill as a direct challenge to the ability of the government to enforce the law in the West, and his quest for justice took on broader connotations. Wetherill's success led others to emulate his behavior, and Holsinger feared that people in the West would not respect the law. Further investigation into Wetherill's affairs became a high priority. "Wetherill has the reputation of being a 'bad man,'" Holsinger insisted. "My acquaintance with him convinced me that he at least wants to be a proverbially bad man. It is important . . . that he be made an object lesson for others who would follow his example if given the least encouragement." [40] In Holsinger's opinion, no less than the ability to properly administer the public domain was at stake. A symbol of the lawless frontier past, Wetherill challenged the federal government to a confrontation. If he could catch Richard Wetherill in the act, Holsinger would make an example of this individualist pothunter as he had of the four Mexicans he had caught in Arizona.

The conflict between Wetherill and the General Land Office further emphasized the need for legislation defining what could be done with relics found on the public domain. Wetherill was an extreme case, but many westerners shared his sentiments about public land; laws that did not specifically apply to a situation were not enough to restrain those who had come to see the public domain as their own. But the Chaco Canyon episode became an important turning point. It placed GLO employees in the West firmly in the pro-legislation camp. Pracht, Holsinger, and their counterparts dealt with questions about the public domain on a daily basis. To Holsinger, Wetherill was exactly the kind of person who had to be tamed before the West could become an orderly, law-abiding place. To its employees in the outposts of the nation, the federal government was a powerful entity and the one best suited to bring the West into the twentieth century. From the perspective of the Department of the Interior, people like Richard Wetherill were symbols of a past that needed to be forgotten.

More than a scofflaw, Richard Wetherill was a man out of his time. He grew to adulthood in a world where the individual reigned supreme and people made their own rules. The West he knew was an open place, where people had the option to do as they pleased without interference from government. But that time had passed, and Wetherill could not adapt. The idea of a regulated society confounded him, and he could not adjust to federal agencies that exerted power over land thousands of miles from Washington, D.C. He continued to act as if no laws applied to his situation.

The clash of values between Wetherill and Holsinger was indicative of the future. The cessation order represented new and decisive action by the federal government, and its ramifications stretched to Congress and beyond. Wetherill's name became synonymous with vandalism, and his presence galvanized supporters of legislation to preserve American prehistory. Twentieth-century congressmen, their elitist archaeological and anthropological associates, and concerned citizens all responded to what the name Wetherill represented, and some came to see stopping him as their singular goal. From the battle over Chaco Canyon, and many others like it, came the drive for legislation to protect American prehistory.


America's National Monuments: The Politics of Preservation
©1989, Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois
©1994, University Press of Kansas
All rights reserved by the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois

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Copyright © 1989 by the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. Material from this edition published by the University Press of Kansas by arrangement with the University of Illinois Press and may not be reproduced in any manner without the written consent of the author and the University of Illinois Press.