First Protected National Park Areas in the U.S.

compiled by Wm. Robert Johnston
last updated 15 December 2019

Federally protected areas were initially under various authorities, including Dept. of the Interior and the War Dept. In 1906 the Antiquities Act was passed, in 1916 the National Park Service (NPS) was created, and in 1933 oversight of federal park areas was consolidated with the NPS.

current park namecurrent
statedate first protectednotes
National Capital Parks*DC16 Jul 1790transferred to NPS 10 Aug 1933
National Mall*DC16 Jul 1790transferred to NPS 10 Aug 1933
White House*DC13 Oct 1792transferred to NPS 10 Aug 1933
Hot SpringsNPAR20 Apr 1832as Hot Springs Reservation; NP status 4 Aug 1921
ChattanoogaNCemTN25 Dec 1863returned to War Dept. 7 Dec 1944
YosemiteNPCA30 Jun 1864as California state park; NP status 1 Oct 1890
Ford's TheaterNHSDC7 Apr 1866transferred to NPS as NHS 12 Feb 1932
YellowstoneNPWY1 Mar 1872first NP
MackinacN/AMI15 Apr 1875second NP; reverted to Michigan state park 2 Mar 1895
Washington MonumentNMemDC2 Aug 1876transferred to NPS 10 Aug 1933
Little Bighorn BattlefieldNMMT29 Jan 1879as National Cemetery of Custer's Battlefield; transferred from War Dept. to NPS 1 Jul 1940; designated Custer Battlefield NM 22 Mar 1946; renamed Little Bighorn Battlefield NM 10 Dec 1991
Casa Grande RuinsNMAZ2 Mar 1889as Casa Grande NM, name changed to Casa Grande Ruins NM 3 Aug 1918
Chickamauga and ChattanoogaNMPGA19 Aug 1890under War Dept.; transferred to NPS 10 Aug 1933
AntietamNBMD30 Aug 1890under War Dept.; transferred to NPS 10 Aug 1933
SequoiaNPCA25 Sep 1890third NP
Rock Creek Park*DC27 Sep 1890transferred to NPS 1 Jan 1975
Kings CanyonNPCA1 Oct 1890as General Grant NP, name changed to Kings Canyon NP 4 Mar 1940
Grand CanyonNPAZ20 Feb 1893as NM under Forest Service; NP status 26 Feb 1919
ShilohNMPTN27 Dec 1894under War Dept.; transferred to NPS 10 Aug 1933
GettysburgNMPPA11 Feb 1895under War Dept.; transferred to NPS 10 Aug 1933
General GrantNMemNY27 Apr 1897NMem status 15 Aug 1958
VicksburgNMPMS21 Feb 1899under War Dept.; transferred to NPS 10 Aug 1933
Mount RainierNPWA2 Mar 1899sixth designated NP
Crater LakeNPOR22 May 1902seventh designated NP
ChickasawNRAOK1 Jul 1902designated Sulphur Springs Reservation; designated Platt NP 29 Jun 1906; redesignated Chickasaw NRA 17 Mar 1976, incorporating former Platt NP and Arbuckle NRA
Wind CaveNPSD9 Jan 1903eighth designated NP
Sullys HillN/AND27 Apr 1904ninth designated NP; transferred to Dept. of Agriculture 3 Mar 1931 with loss of NP status
Mesa VerdeNPCO29 Jun 1906eleventh designated NP
Devils TowerNMWY24 Sep 1906first NM, designated by President Theodore Roosevelt under Antiquities Act
Petrified ForestNPAZ8 Dec 1906designated as NM; NP status 9 Dec 1962
El MorroNMNM8 Dec 1906designated as NM
Montezuma CastleNMAZ8 Dec 1906designated as NM

Note: NB = national battlefield; NHS = national historic site; NM = national monument; NMem = national memorial; NMP = national military park; NP = national park.

© 2000-2013, 2019 by Wm. Robert Johnston.
Last modified 15 December 2019.
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