NPS Takes Down Sand Creek Monument

The National Park Service removed the stone monument from their traditional Sand Creek site in March. The monument read, “Sand Creek Battle Ground.” It was erected in 1950 and was paid for by private citizens of Lamar and Eads. An unveiling of the marker was held in August of 1950. 

The monument sat in the lower center part of the photo.

From our book, We Found the Lost Sand Creek Site: 

A concrete monument with a bronze plaque was erected a mile east of the Friends Church in Chivington on Highway 96 to recognize the battleground. The plaque stated “north eight miles, east one mile, is the site of the Sand Creek ‘Battle…’” Several hundred from the Eads and Lamar areas attended the dedication on Sunday, August 6, 1950. R.J. McGrath of Lamar was the master of ceremonies, and state historian, Dr. Leroy Hafen, was the principal speaker. My mother, Frances, often played the piano, accordion, and sang at the church. She was asked to play her accordion for the dedication, and after thinking about what would be appropriate, she decided to play God Bless America. The group went north to the traditional site for the unveiling of the stone monument, made by Paul Steward, of Steward Monument Works in Lamar. 

Steward “spoke briefly on past history of the site and pointed out the attack plan figured out some years ago by himself from old writings about the battle.”  (Lamar Daily News, Two-Three Hundred Attend Dedication Sand Creek Marker, Monday, August 7, 1950, page 1) It’s unknown what he said, but it could have added false information about what happened and where.

It’s been accepted to be the bend at the monument since it was the furthest to the south. The veterans and others that searched before never found any evidence of the location.   

Two monuments now memorialized the Sand Creek battleground. Most people won’t question the placement of a monument; they’re trusted to be right. I’m starting to question if both monuments memorialized the wrong site. 

We Found the Lost Sand Creek Site

The NPS quietly removed the monument in March and there is no information on their Sand Creek website why it was removed or that is was removed. The wording “Battle Ground” on the monument may have been considered offensive to the NPS and some members of the Cheyenne and Arapaho. In 1864 the settlers of Colorado viewed Chivington as a hero and saw the event as a celebrated battle.  George Bent said there were warriors in the camp that fought soldiers. In one letter to a historian, Bent said he and a group of Indians ran 2 ½ miles up the creek from the top of the camp to a rifle pit, and “men fought off the soldiers until the pits were ready to get into” (Bent to Hyde 4-30-1913). The massacre narrative began back east by Lt. Colonel Samuel Tappan who was known as Chivington’s enemy. Tappan oversaw the commission that led the hearings following Sand Creek. Before Sand Creek, Tappan was in line to be Colonel. That promotion was instead given to Major Chivington due to his huge victory at Glorieta. Chivington went into the military with no experience and went from a Major to Colonel in just a few months. 

Chuck is in front of the monument looking to the right. His brother Greg, in the hooded jacket, is in front of Chuck looking to the left. This was taken around 1962. Chuck went with his Cub Scout Troop 229 in Eads for an outing, and he listened with great interest as the den mother told the Sand Creek story.

A lot of American history is being erased in this politically correct society with the taking down of historical monuments across the US. 

Even though the monument didn’t mark the right spot for the village, the ridge where it sat is significant to the Sand Creek story. Irving Howbert’s account details the significance, and it is all explained in our book. Howbert provided one of the biggest clues that led to Chuck and Sheri Bowen discovering the Lost Sand Creek Site.

The place where the monument sat is called Monument Hill, but now without a monument, we suggest it be renamed Howbert’s Ridge. Read our book to learn why we call it that. 

Pick up our book here and read about our discovery: WeFoundtheLostSandCreekSite

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1 comment

  1. Since the monument was paid for by Lamar and Eads, can Big Timbers attempt to contact the NPS to get possession of the monument for the museum as an artifact?

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