Warner, Mark T. (Mark Thomas), 1889-1975

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Colorado clergyman, proponent of the creation of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison River as a national monument, U.S. Army chaplain during World War II.

From the description of Mark T. Warner papers, 1813-1974 (bulk 1916-1974). (University of Michigan). WorldCat record id: 34419376

Mark Thomas Warner was born February 10, 1889 in Monroe, Ohio. He attended Muskingum College in New Concord, Ohio (1912-1915), Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio (1916-1918), and Xenia Theological Seminary in Xenia, Ohio (1915-1918) where he received his certification as a Presbyterian minister.

Warner assumed the pastorate of the United Presbyterian Church in Montrose, Colorado in July 1918. He remained the pastor of that congregation throughout his life, except during the years that he served as a chaplain in the U.S. Army during World War II. As a pastor, he was also active in missionary activities, and in promoting the welfare of Native Americans in Colorado.

Also active in promoting conservation, Warner was instrumental in having the Black Canyon region of Colorado declared a National Monument. The Black Canyon of the Gunnison River is located in western Colorado near the town of Montrose. The steep terrain and rocky rim area protected the Black Canyon from development during the 1800s. In 1928, an investigating committee headed by Warner, recommended that the Montrose Lions Club build a road to the canyon rim. The club began clearing ground in the Summer of 1929 while Warner campaigned to have the county aid in the road building activity.

The road was completed in the Fall of 1930, but well before that Warner and his committee were beginning to petition the National Park Service requesting the canyon be designated a national monument. After being rejected several times, the committee petitioned again in the Spring of 1932. The new Park Service director expressed an interest and a study was begun of the area. In the Fall of 1932, the Depression forced the Lions Club to disband and Warner immediately began to lobby the Montrose Chamber Of Commerce for their active support of the monument proposal.

The idea gained regional support in western Colorado. On the advice of Roger W. Toll of the Park Service, and with the assistance of local photographer Dexter Walker, Warner began to assemble information packets outlining the boundaries of the proposed monument and extolling its visual and geologic beauty. These packets were sent to members of the Park Service, Colorado's senators and representatives and other influential parties at the state and federal levels. Early in 1933, Colorado representative Edward T. Taylor became Warner's Washington advocate. He guided the petition through the Washington bureaucracy and by February 28, the Black Canyon Monument proclamation was approved. It was signed by President Hoover on March 22, 1933.

Warner remained actively involved with the Black Canyon Monument, serving on the local committee which provided input regarding the ongoing developments to the park. He wrote numerous articles about the history of the region and in 1967, with the help of Dexter Walker, wrote "Through The Black Canyon", a short book about the history of the canyon and the creation of the monument.

Mark Warner married Bertha Rich of Hamilton, Ohio on May 21, 1919. They had two children, Jeanne (born in 1922) and Robert (born in 1927).

From the guide to the Mark T. Warner papers, 1813-1974, 1916-1974, (Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Presbyterian Church corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Army corporateBody
associatedWith United States. National Park Service. corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park (Colo.)
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park (Colo.)
World War, 1939-1945--Chaplains--Personal narratives
Presbyterian Church
Chaplains, Military
World War, 1939-1945--Chaplains


Birth 1889

Death 1975


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