Paper No. 4
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM
WIELAND, "WINDY CAVE", AND WASHINGTON: THE RISE AND FALL OF FOSSIL CYCAD NATIONAL MONUMENT
The Fossil Cycad National Monument located near Hot Springs, South Dakota was created in 1922 by President Warren G. Harding from land donated to the government by Dr. George R. Wieland of Yale University. Although the abundant fossil cycads were discovered at this site in the 1890’s, it was Wieland who brought them to worldwide attention perhaps to the detriment of the site. Within a few years fossil cycads were gone from the surface and the only ones still present were hidden beneath the surface. Although Wieland pursued his dream of a “monumental” national monument to the fossil cycad, his dream was never realized and the monument eventually faded from public notice until its de-authorization in 1957. Letters filled with hope, frustration, and sometimes anger flowed back and forth through the years of the monument’s existence between G. R. Wieland, Superintendent Freeland of Wind Cave National Park, regional geologist Carroll Wegemann who mapped the geology of the site, E. A. Trager of the NPS, and Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes to name a few. All of this would weave an interesting tale of this almost forgotten national monument.