Dunn Center Quarry becomes historic landmarkDunn Center’s Lynch Quarry received special recognition Wednesday. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar designated it, along with three other sites, as a National Historic Landmark.
Dunn Center’s Lynch Quarry received special recognition Wednesday.
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar designated it, along with three other sites, as a National Historic Landmark.
These new listings will join approximately 2,500 other sites in the National Historic Landmark Program, according to a press release.
The pre-Columbian flint quarry was added because it has yielded — and may yield more — nationally significant information of major scientific importance about the role of Knife River flint in tool production, subsistence strategies, migration and seasonal rounds of individual Native American groups during the era before European influence, according to a press release. This archeological site also provides insight into how technology changed and was adapted over a period of several thousand years to reflect environmental changes.
Dunn Center resident and landowner of the quarry site, Allan Lynch, said he and his family have been working on getting the quarry designated for about six years.
“It was hard to get it accomplished,” Lynch said. “We have thousands of hours put into getting the site preserved. It’s a unique and significant part of history and deserves to be taken care of, studied and viewed.”
Lynch said Native Americans in the area used the site for about 11,000 years.
It stopped being used when they were introduced to steel about 200 to 300 years ago, he added.
“It was easier to trade for steel and new weapons and tools rather than going to the site and making their own,” Lynch said.
Lynch said the title “national historic landmark” is one step below the title “national park.”
“It’s a big deal for southwest North Dakota,” Lynch said. “It’s a treasure. We have had many, many people come to see it.”
Lynch said he and his family have spoken with the Park Service and Knife River Indian Village officials in an effort to get them involved in promoting or handling the site.
He added, “If it is promoted we may have thousands of visitors a year instead of the hundreds we are used to, and if that happens it’s more than me and my wife Gail can handle.”
Although she would not comment on whether or not her site would be involved with the quarry, Maureen McGee-Ballinger, chief of interpretation and cultural resources for the Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site, said she is very excited about the quarry’s designation.
“It is not only a recognition of a source but of a people, the Mandan Hidatsa Arikara Nation,” McGee-Ballinger said. “They were an innovative people and the flint made them a rich community in many ways.”
She added the site and the flint are both featured and discussed in the Knife River Indian Villages Historic Site Museum.
“People were digging the stones out at the quarry site and bringing them here to make knives, spears, scrapers, and arrowheads.” McGee-Ballinger said. “It was extremely important to the people who lived here because it helped them in their daily lives and because the flint and their work were such good quality they were able to use it in trading as well.”
Other sites added to the list Wednesday were The Aubrey Watzek House in Portland, Ore., The Schaeffer House in Schaefferstown, Heidelberg Township, Pa., and Platt National Park Historic District in Chickasaw National Recreation Area, Sulphur, Okla.
“Each of these landmarks teaches us about the history of our land, our people, and our nation, from archeological sites dating back more than two millennia to a mid-twentieth century building,” Salazar said. “In designating these sites as National Historic Landmarks, we complement President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative to reconnect people, especially young people, to our nation’s historic, cultural, and natural heritage.”
Calls to the MHA Nation office were not returned.