Iowa Heritage Digital Collections
State Library of Iowa

036_Effigy Mounds National Monument a Major Historical Site.


036_Effigy Mounds National Monument a Major Historical Site.


State Historical Society of Iowa Newsletter article titled, "Effigy Mounds National Monument a Major Historical Site."


State Historical Society of Iowa




Education use only, no other permissions given. U.S. and international copyright laws may protect this item. Commercial use of distribution of this digital item is not permitted without written permission of Cornell College Archives

Digital Reproduction Information

Items scanned using Xerox Work Centre 4735 at 600 ppi


Cornell College Archives

Repository Collection

Charles Reuben Keyes

Contact information.

College Archivist, Cornell College, Mt. Vernon, Iowa. Phone: 319-895-4240,

Digital item created



Combined Efforts of Many Helped Achieve Honor

Iowans can be justly proud of the Effigy Mounds National Monument which has become one of the State's key tourist attractions. The selections of this particular spot by the National Park Service came after years of deliberation during which our neighbor states bent every effort to gain this honor. It is worth recording the stellar role played by the State Historical Society in causing the McGregor-Marquette area to be selected.
In 1929, the Northeastern Iowa National Park Association was organized to encourage the National Park Service to create an Upper Mississippi River National Park. It should be emphasized, Dr. Charles Keyes records, that the persons identified with this project "did their work as conservationists, not as promoters of commercial interests." Not a single person of the twenty-four officers of the committee "would have benefited financially by the creation of a national park."
During 1931, the National Park Service inspected the claims of the Upper Mississipppi area, and on February 16, 1932, Horace M. Albright, Director of the National Park Service, reported there "were insurmountable difficulties, especially the presence of established municipal and commercial interests along the river, which would interfere with unified development and administration." While withholding approval of a National Park, Director Albright did express approval of one or more National Monuments.
In 1932 the Northeastern Iowa Park Association asked the State Historical Society to lend the prestige of it's professional standing in support of their program. The Society was not slow to act. In January, 1933, the Iowa Journal of History and Politics published an 86-page monograph containing articles by three recognized experts -- Assistant State Geologist James H. Lees, State Archeologist Charles Reuben Keyes, and the "Historical setting of the Mound Region in Northeastern Iowa" by William J. Petersen, present superintendent of the State Historical Society. The National Park Service was delighted with this monograph, declaring it the finest presentation they had ever received. It proved a key factor in the ultimate selection of the McGregor area as the proper site for the Effigy Mounds National Monument.
The State Historical Society was glad to assist the Northeastern Iowa National Park Association in its effort to create the Effigy Mounds National Monument. Its research proved of inestimable value to the State Conservation Commission in carrying to completion the negotiations leading to the transfer of the first 1,000 acres of land from State to Federal ownership on August 10, 1949. Two months later, on October 25, President Harry S. Truman proclaimed the area a National Monument.
The State Historical Society was officially represented at the dedication of the new Visitors Center at Effigy Mounds National Monument on May 20, 1961. The Superintendent of the Society had available for distribution at the dedication 500 copies of the April, 1961, issue of the Palimpsest, devoted to Effigy Mounds national Monument and containing a beautiful color photo of the new Visitors Center on the front cover. The authors of this issue were two well qualified National Park historians --Wilfred D. Logan and J. Earl Ingmansion -- who had been invited by the editor of The Palimpsest to prepare articles for this happy occasion.