By: Scott RossPublished: September 24, 2022

Teddy Roosevelt

For most folks, Devil's Tower in Crook County, Wyoming, is best known as the place where the aliens come to collect Richard Dreyfuss and the others with whom they've been surreptitiously communicating, so they might take them off into outer-space for anal probes or who-knows-what in Stephen Spielberg's 1977 sci-fi classic Close Encounters of the Third Kind. But long before Devil's Tower was a part of the pop culture iconography, it was a part of American history.

On September 24, 1906, then President Theodore Roosevelt established Devil's Tower as the country's very first national monument, one 18 sites that TR designated as national monuments, though only nine remain so honored. Ironically, there is no evidence that Roosevelt ever visited Devil's Tower.

In all, there are now 129 national monuments, with the home of Medgar and Myrlie Evers at 2332 Margaret Walker Alexander Drive in Jackson, Mississippi, being the most recently anointed, on December 10, 2020.


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