U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
California

 News.bytes Extra, issue 271

The Department of the Interior celebrates its birthday

Secretary Kempthorne cuts anniversary cake with long-serving employee Nancy Appler, with 42 years of service, and a new Interior employee, Colleen Stegner, with one day on the job.

On Sunday, March 3, the Department of the Interior, BLM's "parent" agency, celebrated its 158th birthday. Above, Secretary Kempthorne cuts a huge anniversary cake with long-serving employee Nancy Appler -- with 42 years of service -- and a new Interior employee, Colleen Stegner, with one day on the job. You can see more photos from the event at the Department of the Interior website.

Some California connections:

  • The Department of the Interior was created in 1849, the year made famous by the California Gold Rush. Coincidentally, the Department of the Interior headquarters is now located a 1849 C Street NW in Washington, D.C.
  • William P. Clark was the only California native appointed Secretary of the Interior. He was appointed by Ronald Reagan, and served Nov. 18, 1983 - Feb. 7, 1985.
  • Two other former Secretaries of the Interior are listed as "appointed from California":
    • Franklin K. Lane, appointed by Woodrow Wilson, and served Mar. 6, 1913 - Feb. 29, 1920 (Lane was born on Prince Edward Island, Canada);
    • Ray Lyman Wilbur, appointed by Herbert C. Hoover, and served Mar. 5, 1929 - Mar. 4, 1933 (born in Iowa).

Created by an Act of Congress (30th Congress, Session II, Chapter 108) from authorities previously assigned to the Secretaries of State, Treasury, and War, the new agency had an auspicious legislative beginning:

"An Act to establish the Home Department...Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That, from and after passage of this act, there shall be created a new executive department of the United States, to be called the Department of the Interior..."

By another Act of Congress (August 24, 1912), the Department was given an official seal: a male buffalo with the head and body in a left position, standing on a prairie, with mountains and a rising sun in the background, enclosed within two concentric circles, having the words "U.S. Department of the Interior" and the date "March 3, 1849" inscribed in the top and bottom arcs within these circles:

The Department of the Interior seal, as described in the paragraph above

The first Secretary of the Interior was Thomas Ewing of Ohio.

For more information on its history, see the "DOI History" on the Department of the Interior website.

The National Park Service also hosts an online book about "The Department of Everything Else."

3/6/07


BLM California News.bytes, issue 271.