Roosevelt Arch

In April 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt laid the cornerstone for the Roosevelt Arch, a massive, Rustic style monument that symbolically marked the entrance into Yellowstone National Park. The only such grand entranceway into a national park, the arch was the brainchild of Captain Hiram Chittenden, chief of the U.S. Army Engineers in Yellowstone. Using basalt quarried nearby, stonemasons constructed two fifty-foot towers spanned by a twenty-foot wide arch and flanked by two wing walls. The effect was deliberately rustic: stones were used “with the least possible dressing” to “present as natural an appearance as possible.” The arch greeted the multitude of tourists brought to the North Entrance by the Northern Pacific Railroad. Disembarking from the train, travelers left the station in stagecoaches and later buses. Passing beneath the arch, visitors read the words inscribed in tablets of molded concrete commemorating the park’s purpose: “For the Benefit and Enjoyment of the People” (from the Act creating the park), “Yellowstone National Park,” “Created by Act of Congress March 1, 1872.”


Northern Entrance Arch, Yellowstone National Park

Northern Entrance Arch, Yellowstone National Park

Jack Elllis Haynes' automobile under the Theodore Roosevelt Arch, Colonel F.T. Arnold and Haynes in car. | Source: Montana Historical Society Research Center Photograph Archives, Helena, Montana | Creator: Jack Ellis Haynes, photographer View File Details Page

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Yellowstone National Park, Montana [map]

Cite this Page:

The Montana National Register Sign Program, “Roosevelt Arch,” Explore Big – Montana's Historic Places, accessed April 23, 2017,
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