In the U.S., any of numerous areas reserved by the federal government for the protection of objects or places of historical, scientific, or prehistoric interest. They include natural physical features, remains of Indian cultures, and places of historical importance. In 1906 Pres. Theodore Roosevelt established the first national monument, Devils Tower, in Wyoming. They are administered by the National Park Service of the U.S. Department of the Interior.
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National monument, north-central Arizona, U.S. Situated along the Little Colorado River, the monument was established in 1924 and comprises more than 800 red sandstone pueblos built during the 11th–13th centuries. It has an area of 55 sq mi (142 sq km).
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National monument, north-central Arizona, U.S. Established in 1915 and covering an area of 3 sq mi (8 sq km), it preserves more than 300 pre-Columbian dwellings built by the Pueblo Indians in shallow caves on the canyon walls. Main occupancy was from AD 1000 to 1200.
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National monument, central Arizona, U.S. Located in the Verde River valley, the 43-ac (17-ha) park was established in 1939. Its outstanding feature is the ruin of a 110-room Sinagua Indian pueblo that was occupied by three cultural groups from AD 1100 to 1450. The structure was excavated in 1933–34 and partially rebuilt.
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Cave system, Utah, U.S. Located on the northwestern slope of Mount Timpanogos (11,750 ft [3,581 m]), the second highest peak of the Wasatch Mountains, it was established in 1922; it occupies 0.4 sq mi (1 sq km). It centres around a three-chambered limestone cave noted for its pink and white crystal-filigreed walls and tinted formations.
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Preserve, north-central Arizona, U.S. Established in 1930, the monument covers 5 sq mi (13 sq km) and contains the brilliant-hued cinder cone of an extinct volcano that erupted circa 1064. It rises 1,000 ft (300 m) and has a crater 400 ft (120 m) deep and 1,280 ft (390 m) in diameter. The tract contains numerous lava flows, fumaroles, and lava beds.
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Historic site in New York Harbor, New York and New Jersey, U.S. Covering 58 ac (23 ha), it includes the Statue of Liberty (on Liberty Island [formerly Bedloe's Island]) and nearby Ellis Island. The colossal statue, Liberty Enlightening the World, was sculpted by Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi and dedicated in 1886. This 305-ft (93-m) statue of a woman holding a tablet and upraised torch was given to the U.S. by France and commemorates the friendship of the two countries; a plaque at the pedestal's entrance is inscribed with the sonnet “The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus. The Statue of Liberty was declared a national monument in 1924 and a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1984; Ellis Island, containing the Ellis Island Immigration Museum, was added to the monument in 1965.
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National monument, western Nebraska, U.S. Established in 1919, it has an area of 5 sq mi (13 sq km). Its focus is a large bluff that rises 800 ft (244 m) above the North Platte River and was a prominent landmark on the Oregon Trail. A museum at the base of the bluff highlights the history of the pioneer travelers.
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National Monument, northeastern Alabama, U.S. Located south of the Alabama-Tennessee border, the monument constitutes part of a cavern that was discovered circa 1953. The cave is about 210 ft (64 m) long, 107 ft (33 m) wide, and 26 ft (8 m) high. It contains an almost continuous record of human habitation dating to at least 7000 BC. The national monument was established in 1961.
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Natural area, southern Utah, U.S. Located on the Navajo Indian Reservation near the Utah-Arizona border, the monument was established in 1910 and occupies 160 acres (65 hectares). It centres on a rainbow-shaped bridge of pink sandstone 290 ft (88 m) above a creek that winds toward the Colorado River. The bridge is 275 ft (84 m) long and is one of the world's largest natural bridges. Embedded among canyons, the area is accessible only on foot, by horseback, or by boat on Lake Powell.
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National monument, southwestern Arizona, U.S., at the Mexican border. It was established in 1937. With an area of 330,689 acres (133,929 hectares), it preserves segments of the mountainous Sonoran Desert and is named for the organ-pipe cactus. Wildlife includes Gila monsters, antelope, coyotes, and a variety of birds.
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National monument, southwestern Oregon, U.S. It is a single cave comprising a series of chambers joined by subterranean corridors on four levels. Located in the Siskiyou Mountains near the California border, the monument was established in 1909. It has an area of 488 acres (197 hectares). It contains many stalagmites, stalactites, and other formations.
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National monument, northern Arizona, U.S. Covering 360 acres (146 hectares), it comprises three historic cliff dwellings: Betatakin (Navajo: “Ledge House”), Keet Seel (“Broken Pottery”), and Inscription House, among the best-preserved and most elaborate cliff dwellings known. The largest, Keet Seel, was first discovered by whites in 1895; the three sites were made a national monument in 1909. The dwellings were the principal home of the Kayenta Ancestral Pueblo (Anasazi) circa 1250–1300. The 135 rooms of Betatakin are tucked into a cliffside alcove 452 ft (138 m) high and 370 ft (113 m) wide. Also situated in a cliff alcove are the 160 rooms and 6 kivas (ceremonial houses) of Keet Seel. Inscription House (closed to the public) has 74 rooms.
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National monument, southeastern Utah, U.S. Comprising three large natural bridges carved by two winding streams, it was established in 1908. The largest bridge, Sipapu, is 222 ft (68 m) high and spans 261 ft (80 m). Pictographs were carved on another of the bridges, Kachina, by early cliff dwellers.
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National woodland, northern California, U.S. A virgin stand of coastal redwoods, it covers an area of 554 acres (224 hectares) near the Pacific coast, northwest of San Francisco. Some of the trees are more than 300 ft (90 m) high, 15 ft (5 m) in diameter, and 2,000 years old. The park, established in 1908, was named in honour of the naturalist John Muir.
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National monument, central Arizona, U.S. Situated in the Verde River valley, it occupies an area of 2.6 sq mi (6.7 sq km). Declared a national monument in 1906, it is the site of the country's best-preserved pre-Columbian Pueblo Indian cliff dwellings. The “castle” is a five-story, 20-room adobe brick structure, dating from circa AD 1100, built into the cliff face about 80 ft (24 m) above the valley floor. To the northeast is Montezuma Well, a large sinkhole rimmed with communal dwellings.
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Region, northern California, U.S. It features recent lava flows and related volcanic formations, including deep chasms, chimneys, and cinder cones that rise to 300 ft (90 m) in height. The main battle sites of the Modoc Indian war (1872–73) are located within the monument, which occupies an area of 72 sq mi (186 sq km). It was dedicated as a national monument in 1925.
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National monument, southwestern South Dakota, U.S. Established in 1908, it occupies an area of 2 sq mi (5 sq km). It is noted for its limestone caverns, a series of chambers joined by narrow passages. The known length of the caverns is 77 mi (124 km).
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National monument, southwestern Colorado and southeastern Utah, U.S. Established in 1923 and covering 785 acres (318 hectares), it consists of six groups of pre-Columbian Indian ruins, whose towers are excellent examples of Pueblo Indian architecture of the period AD 1100–1300. Hovenweep is a Ute Indian word meaning “deserted valley.”
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Memorial, southeastern Nebraska, U.S. Established in 1936 as a memorial to the hardships of pioneer life, it is the site of the first claim under the Homestead Act of 1862 and has exhibits tracing the development of the Homestead Movement. It occupies 163 acres (66 hectares) and includes a homestead log cabin.
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Historic site, northeastern corner of Minnesota, U.S. Located on Lake Superior near the Canadian border, it was designated a national historic site in 1951 and a national monument in 1958. It covers a 9-mi (14-km) overland trail from Lake Superior's northern shore that bypassed the obstacles to early canoe travel. Used by early explorers, the portage marked the end of travel on the Great Lakes and the beginning of the interior river route. The portage trail now bisects the reservation of the Grand Portage tribe of the Minnesota Chippewa Indians.
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National preserve, southwestern New Mexico, U.S. Located in the Gila National Forest near the headwaters of the Gila River, it contains groups of small but well-preserved Pueblo Indian dwellings in natural cavities of an overhanging cliff 150 ft (45 m) high. The dwellings were inhabited circa AD 100–1300. Established in 1907, the monument occupies 533 acres (216 hectares).
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National monument, eastern Virginia, U.S. Established in 1930, it consists of 538 acres (218 hectares) located along the Potomac River. Wakefield, the house where George Washington (b. Feb. 22, 1732) spent the first three years of his life, burned in 1779. The present Memorial House was reconstructed in 1931–32 and represents a typical 18th-century Virginia plantation dwelling with a period garden.
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National reserve, northeastern Florida, U.S. Established in 1924 and covering 228 acres (92 hectares), it centres around a Spanish fort on Rattlesnake Island, 14 mi (23 km) south of St. Augustine. Originating in 1569 as a wooden tower and completed in 1742, the fort is near the site of the slaughter of 300 French Huguenot colonists by Spaniards in 1565.
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Rock formation and archaeological site, west-central New Mexico, U.S. Established in 1906, it has an area of 2 sq mi (5 sq km). El Morro, or Inscription Rock, is a soft sandstone mesa rising 200 ft (60 m) above the valley floor and covering several acres. Spaniards and Americans left their inscriptions (1605–1906) on the cliff sides of the mesa. El Morro also has a number of pre-Columbian petroglyphs, and on its top lie ruins of Indian pueblos.
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Natural area, west-central New Mexico, U.S. Located at an elevation of 6,400–8,400 ft (1,950–2,560 m), it covers 179 sq mi (464 sq km), including a lava flow area of 133 sq mi (344 sq km). Features include a 17-mi (27-km) lava tube system, a number of ice caves, volcanic cinder cones, one of New Mexico's largest natural arches, and more than 20 gas and lava spatter cones. Designated a national natural landmark with the name McCarty Lava Flow in 1969, it became a national monument in 1987.
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Archaeological site, northeastern Iowa, U.S. Located on the Mississippi River, it covers 4 sq mi (10 sq km). Established in 1949, the monument has 183 known mounds, some of which are in the shape of birds and bears. The mounds were built over the course of the Woodland period (1000 BC–AD 1200), with the effigy mounds probably constructed between AD 400 and 1200. Many mounds have yielded copper, bone, and stone tools of Indian origin. One of the bear mounds is 137 ft (42 m) long and 3.5 ft (1 m) high.
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National preserve, northwestern Colorado and northeastern Utah, U.S. It was set aside in 1915 to preserve rich fossil beds that include dinosaur remains. It was enlarged in 1938 and again in 1978 to its present 330 sq mi (855 sq km). It protects the canyons of the Green and Yampa rivers, which contain highly coloured geologic formations.
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National preserve, northeastern Wyoming, U.S. The first U.S. national monument, it was established in 1906 near the Belle Fourche River. It includes 1,347 acres (545 hectares) and features a natural rock tower, the remnant of a volcanic intrusion now exposed by erosion. The tower has a flat top and is 865 ft (264 m) high.
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Natural area, western Colorado, U.S. Established in 1911, the 32-sq-mi (83-sq-km) scenic area is known for its colourful, wind-eroded sandstone formations, towering monoliths, and steep-walled canyons. Petrified logs and dinosaur fossils have been found in the area. Rim Rock Drive skirts the canyon walls, which rise more than 6,500 ft (1,980 m).
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Natural area, southeastern Arizona, U.S. Unusual volcanic rock formations forming a wilderness of tall pinnacles are crowded into 19 sq mi (48.5 sq km) of ridge and canyon on the western flank of the Chiricahua Mountains. Established in 1924, the park unfolds a geologic story dating back millions of years. The region was once a stronghold of Apache Indians under Cochise and Geronimo.
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Preserve, southwestern Utah, U.S. Established as a national monument in 1933, it consists of a vast natural amphitheatre (10 sq mi [26 sq km]) eroded in a limestone escarpment. Iron and manganese oxide impurities in the cliff produce an amazing variety of colours that change constantly.
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Historic site, northeastern Florida, U.S. Established in 1924, it is the 25-acre (10-hectare) site of the oldest masonry fort in the U.S., built by the Spanish (1672–95) to protect St. Augustine. The fort played an important role in the Spanish-English struggle for the Southeast (circa 1670–1763). In the 19th century it served as a U.S. military prison.
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National preserve, northwestern Alaska, U.S., on the coast of the Chukchi Sea. Established in 1978, it was enlarged in 1980 to 1,031 sq mi (2,670 sq km). Its remarkable archaeological sites illustrate the cultural evolution of the Arctic peoples over some 4,000 years.
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Preserve, northeastern Arizona, U.S. Located on the Navajo Indian reservation immediately east of Chinle, the preserve was established in 1931 and occupies 131 sq mi (339 sq km). It includes several hundred pre-Columbian cliff dwellings, some of them built in caves on the canyon walls. They represent a broader time span than any other ruins in the Southwest, with many dating from the 11th century. Modern Navajo homes and farms occupy the canyon floor.
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Archaeological area, north-central New Mexico, U.S. Lying along the Rio Grande 20 mi (32 km) northwest of Santa Fe, it was established in 1916. It occupies an area of 51 sq mi (132 sq km) and was named for Adolph Bandelier, a Swiss-American archaeologist. The monument contains many cliff and open-pueblo ruins of pre-Columbian Indians (mostly 13th-century) in Frijoles Canyon. Stone sculptures and man-made caves have also been unearthed.
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Archaeological site, northwestern New Mexico, U.S. Located on the Animas River just north of the town of Aztec, it was established in 1923 and has an area of 0.5 sq mi (1.3 sq km). Mistakenly named by early settlers, the site actually contains the excavated ruins of a 12th-century Pueblo town. It was designated a World Heritage site in 1987.
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Park, southern shore of the Alaska Peninsula, U.S. Situated in the volcanically active Aleutian Range, it consists primarily of a great dry caldera, which last erupted in 1931. The crater has an average diameter of 6 mi (10 km). Declared a national monument in 1978, it covers 942 sq mi (2,440 sq km).
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Natural “depository” of an extinct animal community on the Niobrara River, northwestern Nebraska, U.S. The beds, laid down as sedimentary deposits 20 million years ago, bear the remains of prehistoric mammals. Discovered circa 1878, the site was named for its proximity to rock formations containing agates. A national monument since 1965, it covers 2,269 acres (918 hectares).
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Effigy Mounds National Monument preserves three prehistoric sites in Allamakee County and Clayton County, Iowa in the midwestern United States. The North Unit (67 mounds) and South Unit (29 mounds) are located where the counties meet along the Mississippi River. They are contiguous and easily accessible. The Sny Magill Unit (112 mounds) is approximately 11 miles (17 km) south of the other units, and offers no visitor facilities. It forms the heart of a cluster of interrelated protected areas. It is adjacent to the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, the Driftless Area National Wildlife Refuge, the Yellow River State Forest, and a short distance to the south, Pikes Peak State Park. There are also a number of state-owned wildlife management areas, such as the one at Sny Magill Creek, where Clayton County also maintains a county park.
patchy remnants of Pre-Illinoian glacial drift more than 500,000 years old recently have been discovered in the area. Unlike the rest of Iowa, the Paleozoic Plateau was bypassed by the last of the Pleistocene glaciers (the Wisconsin), allowing the region's fast cutting streams to expose and carve out deep channels in the bedrock-dominated terrain. The area is characterized by thin loess soil cover, isolated patches of glacial drift, deeply entrenched river valleys, and karst (sinkholes, caves, and springs) topography.The adjacent National Wildlife Refuge takes its name from this region.
Prehistoric mounds are common from the plains of the Midwest to the Atlantic seaboard, but only in this general area was there a culture that regularly constructed mounds in the shape of mammals, birds, or reptiles. The monument contains 2,526 acres (10 km²) with 206 mounds of which 31 are effigies. The others are conical, linear and compound. Woodland period Indians built mounds from about 500 BC until the early European contact period. When the American prairies were plowed under by European settlers for agriculture, many mound sites were lost. Effigy Mounds National Monument is the largest known collection of mounds in the United States.
Examining the geography of the region reveals why human cultures have occupied this part of the country for so long. Historically, most of the Great Plains to the west of the Mississippi River was covered in grasslands, which are very prone to fires that keep trees from becoming established. Here in extreme northeastern Iowa, the Effigy Mounds area was a point of transition between the eastern hardwood forests and the central prairies. Native American and early settlers would have been able to draw on natural resources available in forests, wetlands, and prairies, making the site hospitable for humans for many centuries.
The visitor center, located at the park entrance, contains museum exhibits highlighting archaeological and natural specimens, an auditorium and book sales outlet. The park has eleven miles of hiking trails. No roads exist in the park. Rangers give guided hikes and prehistoric tool demonstrations, mid June through Labor Day weekend. Educational programs are presented on- and off-site by appointment.
Natural features in the monument include forests, tallgrass prairies, wetlands and rivers. There are no lodging or camping facilities in the park. Excellent camping is available at nearby Pikes Peak State Park and Yellow River State Forest in Iowa; there is also Wyalusing State Park in Wisconsin. Various primitive campgrounds exist in the area as well. The national monument is quite close to the town of Marquette, Iowa, and is just across the Mississippi River from the city of Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, where ample motel and gambling-boat facilities exist.
It was proclaimed a National Monument on October 25, 1949. As a historic unit under the National Park Service, the National Monument was administratively listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966.