1934 4¢ Mesa Verde
National Parks Issue
Issue Date: September 25, 1934
First City: Mesa Verde, CO
Quantity Issued: 19,178,650
As a stamp collector, President Franklin D. Roosevelt personally oversaw the selection of stamp subjects and designs during his administration. As Roosevelt was reviewing suggestions for the 1934 schedule, Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes saw an opportunity to advertise the national park system. Ickes felt many Americans were unaware the federal government had set aside vast amounts of land for their enjoyment and for future generations. At his suggestion, 1934 had been declared National Parks Year. Ickes now proposed the legacy of the national parks be portrayed on postage stamps to give people a glimpse of their diversity and natural beauty. FDR approved the idea immediately, and ten parks were chosen, each to be pictured on a different denomination ranging from 1¢ to 10¢.
Mesa Verde National Park
Mesa Verde National Park was established in 1906. American Indians lived in this area of southwestern Colorado for more than 700 years, from 600 A.D. to 1300 A.D. The park is renowned for its archeological sites.
During the last 75 to 100 years of its habitation, elaborate stone villages were built in the shelter of alcoves in the canyon’s stone walls. Today, most people call these villages “cliff dwellings.” Many remain intact today.
The cliff dwellings were built mostly for protection from hostile tribes. The dwellings were quite extensive. Cliff palace, the largest, contains more than 200 rooms. It’s structured much like a modern apartment building. Some sections of Cliff Palace are four stories high.
Twenty-four Native American tribes can trace their ancestry back to the site at Mesa Verde. Experts believe the Indians left the area around 1300, due an extreme drought.