Pruning the Parks: Six National Parks Acquired via Transfer in 1933 Were Subsequently Abolished
The National Park System grew by 69 units via the Reorganization of 1933, which was signed August 10, 1933. However, six of the “1933T” (1933 transfer) national parks were subsequently abolished.
Among the 12 natural area parks and 57 historical parks transferred to the National Park System via the Reorganization of 1933 were various parks that, for one reason or another, did not belong in the system. It took time to sort this out. The first pruning of the 1933T parks occurred in 1944, and by 1956 five more had been delisted.
The first 1933T park to be delisted was Chattanooga National Cemetery in Tennessee. This national cemetery was originally established under the War Department by Army general order on Christmas Day, 1863. An act of Congress returned it to the War Department on December 7, 1944. See this site for additional information about Civil War national cemeteries.
Five year later, on September 7, 1949, Congress transferred the Father Millet Cross National Monument to the state of New York. Situated on the Fort Niagara Military Reservation, the Father Millet Cross unit had been established under War Department administration by presidential proclamation on September 5, 1925. The focal feature of the park was the site where Father Pierre Millet, a Jesuit priest, had erected a cross on Good Friday, 1688, to invoke God's mercy for the starving, plague-stricken garrison of historic Fort de Nonville. The original cross had long since disappeared.
On August 3, 1950, Congress pruned two more 1933T’s, both in Colorado. Wheeler National Monument, which had been originally established under the Forest Service by presidential proclamation on December 7, 1908, was returned to the Forest Service. Also returned to the Forest Service was Holy Cross National Monument, which had been originally established under the Forest Service by presidential proclamation on May 11, 1929. The Wheeler site focused on volcanic ash deposits deemed of insufficient quality for national park status. The Holy Cross site, which was very lightly visited, focused on a geologic feature deemed to have been so badly eroded that it was no longer exceptional.
Georgia’s New Echota Marker, which was originally authorized under the War Department by act of Congress on May 28, 1930, was transferred to the state of Georgia via on act of Congress on September 21, 1950. Located near Calhoun, Georgia, the marker was erected to honor Cherokees who died on the Trail of Tears. The site was deemed to be of state park caliber.
The last 1933T unit to be pruned was South Carolina's Castle Pinckney National Monument, a small island in Charleston harbor that had housed a Civil War prisoner of war camp and artillery position. Established under the War Department by presidential proclamation Oct. 15, 1924, Castle Pinckney was transferred to the state of South Carolina after an act of Congress on March 29, 1956, reclassified it as surplus property.
The 63 other 1933T parks have survived the test of time and are still in the system.