American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing
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Legislature Acts Concerning the First Ascent of the Grand Teton

  • Notes
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1930

Legislature Acts Concerning the First Ascent of the Grand Teton. A possibly unique instance of legislative attention being devoted to a subject primarily of mountaineering interest, is a resolution of the Wyoming legislature concerning an ascent of the Grand Teton. The following quotation from an interesting pamphlet entitled “Placing the Grand Teton Memorial Tablet,” by F. M. Fryxell, reprinted from the Annals of Wyoming (Vol. VI, No. 3. Cheyenne, Jan. 1930), presents a condensed account of the matter.

“On February 9, 1927, the Nineteenth State Legislature of Wyoming, following an investigation of the question of who made the first ascent of the Grand Teton, passed by unanimous vote a Joint Resolution ‘declaring the first ascent of the Grand Teton Peak, in Teton County, Wyoming, to have been made by William O. Owen, Franklin S. Spalding, Frank L. Peterson, and John Shive, on August 11, 1898, and providing for a public record of the achievement.’

“Two years later, on February 21, 1929, the Twentieth State Legislature passed another Joint Resolution (introduced by Senator Robert C. Lundy) authorizing the ‘placement of a Bronze Tablet on the summit of the Grand Teton to commemorate the achievement of the Owen party.’ To make arrangements for the placing of the tablet, Governor Frank C. Emerson appointed the following committee: Mr. Joseph W. Weppner, chairman; Dr. F. M. Fryxell, Mr. William O. Owen, Mrs. Cyrus Beard, Dr. Grace Raymond Hebard, Senator Robert C. Lundy, Representative W. C. DeLoney, Mr. S. N. Leek, Mr. Phil Smith and Mr. William Gilman. Mrs. Emma Matilda Owen, wife of the mountaineer, offered to donate the tablet, an offer which was gratefully accepted. Subsequently the Governor designated Dr. Fryxell, Mr. Smith, and Mr. Gilman to make the actual ascent of the Grand Teton and affix the tablet on its summit.

“The placing of the Grand Teton Memorial Tablet was made a feature of the exercises held at the formal dedication of the Grand Teton National Park on the morning of July 29, 1929, at String Lake in Jackson Hole. Following the dedicatory ceremonies proper, the bronze plaque was unveiled by Governor Emerson’s small son, Eugene. Mr. Joseph Weppner, representing the State of Wyoming, next introduced the members of the tablet committee, and then formally presented the tablet itself to Mr. Sam T. Woodring, Superintendent of the newly-created park, who gave the consent of the National Park Service to its placement and in turn entrusted its keeping to Dr. Fryxell, representative of the trio commissioned to make the ascent. Shortly after noon of the same day, the climbers departed, attaining the summit and fixing the tablet in place just twenty-four hours after the beginning of their journey.”

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