The Stickler Years (1965-1971): Development



Though development was not a major issue after the Mission 66 construction projects, the status of forty acres west of the monument grounds was still in question in 1965. The 1964 master plan revised by Raymond Stickler and approved by Acting Regional Director Warren F. Hamilton in 1965 recommended that "Immediate steps should be taken to secure legislative approval to increase the authorized acreage of Whitman Mission sufficient to provide for the acquisition of the forty acre farm." [143]

This suggestion was based on objections to neighbor Ray Shelden's 40-acre operation "immediately adjacent to and west of the Mission site" which James Myers described in his 1965 Appraisal Report as an "unfortunate intrusion on the historic scene." [144]

In March 1966, Mr. Sheldon purchased forty more acres adjacent to his farm and the park from Glen Frazier. [145] By July, Regional Director Hummel discussed with Superintendent Stickler the possibility of acquiring scenic easements rather than the recently expanded farm. [146] However, since Sheldon and his son planned to farm the land, by 1971 all designs for acquiring the acreage were dropped: "There are no plans to acquire additional land for inclusion in the area." [147]

One final development project remained unfinished in 1965. According to the 1965 revised master plan, the historian's residence, planned for Fiscal Year 1967, was needed "to insure service personnel in the Park most of the time to deter any vandalism and to provide adequate fire protection" [148] However, Superintendent Stickler wrote in the 1971 management objectives, "There is no immediate need for the additional residence, although it is retained in the construction program." [149] One residence provided adequate protection against vandalism and intrusion, so the mission's last development project remained a paper development project only.

With the Mission 66 facilities completed by 1964, Superintendent Stickler's administration focused on maintaining the status quo rather than development. "Whitman Mission was pretty stable . . . . Nothing much was happening at that time," said Larry Dodd. [150] As a result, the staff attacked several time-consuming projects such as public relations, cataloging artifacts, and constructing extra display cases. This attention to detail resulted in a more polished interpretive program, a more organized management division, and a busy maintenance staff. This new emphasis on perfecting park operations quickly set the precedent for the following administration.


Last updated: March 1, 2015

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