Painted Desert Community Complex at Petrified Forest National Park earns National Historic Landmark Status

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Date: January 12, 2017
Contact: Richard Ullmann, 928-524-6228 x245

Petrified Forest, AZ—On January 11, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced the designation of 24 new National Historic Landmarks, to include the Painted Desert Community Complex located at the northern end of Petrified Forest National Park.
As headquarters for Petrified Forest National Park, the Painted Desert Community Complex is the largest and the most fully articulated expression of the decade-long National Park Service ‘Mission 66’ program which addressed postwar national park needs for up-to-date facilities and improved visitor experiences while limiting impacts to natural resources. Designed by renowned architects Richard J. Neutra and Robert E. Alexander in the International Style, the complex contains a visitor center, restaurant, gift shop, a plaza, and park offices.
“These new designations depict different threads of the American story that have been told through activism, architecture, music, and religious observance,” said Secretary Jewell. “Their designation ensures future generations have the ability to learn from the past as we preserve and protect the historic value of these properties and the more than 2,500 other landmarks nationwide.”
In addition, park superintendent Brad Traver said “We are thrilled that the Secretary agreed that the Painted Desert Community Complex was worthy of Landmark designation. It will help us and future managers protect the Complex as an important example of mid-century modern architecture and as operational headquarters of Petrified Forest National Park for decades to come. We want to thank the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Arizona Preservation Foundation, Modern Phoenix, and the Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation for being our partners in raising awareness about the value of the Complex.”
The National Historic Landmarks Program ( recognizes historic properties of exceptional value to the nation and promotes preservation efforts of federal, state, and local agencies and Native American tribes, as well as those of private organizations and individuals. The program is one of more than a dozen administered by the National Park Service that provide states and local communities technical assistance, recognition and funding to help preserve our nation's shared history and create close-to-home recreation opportunities.

Last updated: January 13, 2017

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