Hank Schmidt’s first reports as Park Custodian at Arches National Monument in the fall of 1939 were all addressed to “Boss” Pinkley, then the Superintendent of the Southwestern National Monuments. Pinkley was a Park Service legend. According to Arches historian John Hoffman, it was Pinkley who gave the famous Utah park its name. When he visited the area in 1925, he wrote to Stephen T. Mather, the first director of the National Park Service, “…I stopped over a day at Moab and looked into the possibilities of making a national monument out of some formations which lie seven miles north of there…Should a monument be made, I would suggest calling it ‘The Arches National Monument.” He was the new Monument’s first superintendent upon its creation in 1929, and rose through his career to the role of Superintendent of the Southwestern National Monuments. Pinkley died on February 14, 1940, of a heart attack, just minutes after giving a speech to the first conference held for the custodians of the Southwestern Monuments–a group that certainly would have included Arches Custodian Hank Schmidt.
A week after the death of “The Boss,” Schmidt sent this letter to his new Superintendent, Hugh Miller:
There are some thoughts that are so apparent to others that they hardly need to be expressed, but I do want to say again, at this time, that the high regard in which I hold the Southwestern National Monuments has increased immeasurably the past month. I think the entire group is the finest with which a man could ever hope to be associated and I am proud to be a member of the outfit. Hugh, you know better than I, the full extent of cooperation extended to and the deep affection each of us had for The Boss. His influence and inspiration will be far-reaching and lasting. I am sure that I express the resolves of all the men and women in the “Outfit” when I say that you are held in the same high level of esteem and can count on our loyalty and cooperation to the last draw.
By Henry C. Schmidt, Custodian
Visitors this month, 70; travel year to date, 720
In March, Schmidt returned to his normal reports:
* NOTE: Thanks to former Arches NP superintendent Paul D. Guraedy, who gave me access in 1988 to the old monthly reports…JS
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*Note: The Cartoonist screwed up. In a subconscious attempt to escape the world’s news, he changed one of our Backbone Member’s names from “Michael” to “Richard” Cohen. Sorry, Michael. We know you’re a way better guy than that infamous Michael Cohen and we beg your forgiveness.