Theodore Roosevelt National Park, in the Badlands of North Dakota, memorializes the president best known for promoting the conservation of America’s natural and archaeological resources, an ethos instilled in him in large part due to his experiences in the Badlands. In 1883 during his first visit to the Dakota Territory, twenty-four year old Theodore Roosevelt invested in cattle and bought a ranch. Park visitors can tour the site of Roosevelt’s cattle ranch, appreciate stunning landscapes and local wildlife (including bison), and enjoy impressive views of the night sky.
Archaeological Fun Fact: As with many abandoned pioneer homesteads, the buildings at Roosevelt’s Elkhorn Ranch were quickly disassembled by neighbors to be reused in new construction projects and by 1901, a neighbor reported that only a couple of half-rotten foundations remained on the site. In 1957 and 1959 NPS excavations re-discovered the locations of Roosevelt’s house and various outbuildings with help from historical descriptions as well as photos taken by Roosevelt himself.
Park website: www.nps.gov/thro/
On a hilltop in Arizona’s Verde Valley between Phoenix and Flagstaff, you will find Tuzigoot National Monument, the ruins include a three story pueblo and 110 rooms. The pueblo was built and inhabited by the Sinagua people between 1000 and 1400 AD. On the site, you can also see petroglyphs as well as the remains of pithouses.
Archaeological Fun Fact: The first known excavations at Tuzigoot were conducted from 1933 by archaeologists from the University of Arizona with funding from the federal Civil Works Administration and Works Project Administration.
Park website: www.nps.gov/tuzi/