Celebrate Devils Tower’s Anniversary with These Beautiful Photos
Some call it Bear Lodge Butte. Some call it Bear Wigwam. Officially, it is known as Devils Tower. On September 24th, 1906 President Theodore Roosevelt used the Antiquities Act to create our first National Monument for future generations to enjoy.
The colossal butte is more than a film site for Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Way before the film and motion pictures, the tower was a sacred place for Native Americans. Today there are prayer flags tied to trees all around the monument. Several different native tribes have a connection to the large pillar of igneous rock, and each tribe has their own origin stories.
According to the National Park Service, Devils Tower is a holy place for the Lakota, Cheyenne, Crow, Arapahoe, Shoshone, and Kiowa. Each tribe has its own stories and mythology about the creation of the monument. Most (if not all) stories involve a bear clawing the tower.
The Crow story told by the NPS starts with a group of girls being hunted by a large bear. The girls climb on to a rock to escape. The Great Spirit saw the girls in trouble and cause the rock to grow and grow. The bear clawed and clawed causing rocks the crumble thus giving the tower it's appearance. The girls were safe from the bear, but are still stuck on the top of the rock.
Geologists have a few theories on how the rock formation was formed. It is commonly accepted that it is an igneous rock formation (meaning the rock was made of magma solidified underneath the earth's surface). According to the Wyoming State Geologic Survey, the most prevalent theory is the rock that once surrounded the tower eroded away leaving behind the 1200 foot column behind. How this happened is still a hot debate.