Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone Icons: The Roosevelt Arch

April 8, 2009, 8:09 am

There are many icons in Yellowstone National Park, in and of itself one of the most iconic places in the United States. Old Faithful Geyser, Castle Geyser, Morning Glory Pool, Old Faithful Inn, a herd of bison, a lone elk standing proudly on a hill as the sun rises. These are all proud icons of Yellowstone National Park.

For many visitors, their first experience with a Yellowsone icon will be the Roosevelt Arch, the first formal marker and entryway to the park.

Located in Gardiner, Wyoming, the arch was originally conceived by Hiram M. Chittenden, director of road construction in Yellowstone and a member of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as a way to improve and dramatize a visitor's journey. Before the arch was built in 1903, visitors would reach Gardiner, Montana via train and mount stagecoaches to enter the park. With the assistance, vision and expertise of Robert C. Reamer, the designer of the Old Faithful Inn, Chittenden's idea became a grand reality.

The Arch is built from columnar basalt and stands at 50 feet tall, a stark contrast to the relatively flat area surrounding it. Above the arch is carved what can be argued as the best motto for National Parks around the globe: "For the Benefit and Enjoyment of the People." On the east tower is carved "Yellowstone National Park." And carved on the west tower is "Created by Act of Congress, March 1, 1872," the day Yellowstone National Park was signed into existence.