Happy Birthday Devils Tower; Country’s First National Monument Turns 116
116 years ago, on September 24, 1906, Devils Tower was designated by President Theodore Roosevelt as a national monument.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Devils Tower National Monument is celebrating its birthday today and, not only that; it's also celebrating the fact that it was the country's very first national monument.
That's according to a post from the Devils Tower Facebook page, who took a quick victory lap today to celebrate its last 116 years.
"In 1906 Theodore Roosevelt used the newly signed Antiquities Act to set aside Devils Tower," the post stated. "This designation marked a significant change from the previous inhabitation of more than 10,000 years by indigenous northern plains tribes, who served as stewards of the land for countless generations."
The post noted that 'The Tower' remains a sacred site to many indigenous people.
And while it's primarily known as Devils Tower (plural - not to be confused as Devil's Tower, the possessive), it's also known as 'Bear Lodge,' 'Bear's Tipi,' 'Tree Rock,' 'Grey Horn Butte,' and many others.
While it has many names, with 'Bear Lodge' being the most prevalent, a geologist and mapmaker named Henry Newton reported back to expedition leader Colonel Richard Irving Dodge that, after his studies, he learned that "The Indians call this place 'Bad God's Tower."
Hence, Devils Tower.
According to the National Park Services website, "The Tower is an astounding geologic feature that protrudes out of the prairie surrounding the Black Hills. It is considered sacred by Northern Plains Indians and indigenous people. Hundreds of parallel cracks make it one of the finest crack climbing areas in North America. Devils Tower entices us to learn more, explore more and define our place in the natural and cultural world."
The Devils Tower Facebook page didn't just pat themselves on the back with their post, however. They also offered a bit of info as to the differences between a National Monument and a National Park.
"A National Monument is designated by presidential proclamation, while a National Park is designated by an act of Congress," the post stated. "National Monuments are usually instituted to protect at least one national resource and are typically smaller than National Parks, while National Parks preserve a multitude of resources and are generally larger."
So, big props to Teddy Roosevelt.
"Whether looking up at hundreds of feet of naturally occurring columns or taking in the view from a distance and seeing how unique this feature is on the landscape, it is easy to understand why this place was a worthy candidate to become the country’s first National Monument," the post stated.
Indeed it is. Happy birthday, Devils Tower. Thank you for the years of beautiful scenery and inconsistent grammar choices!