Begun in 1942 after the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, the Monument of States was the vision of Dr. Charles Bressler-Pettis, a local tourism booster, who wanted a physical symbol of American unity in the dark days of early World War II. He wrote letters to every governor and to President Franklin D. Roosevelt to send him local rocks. (No clue where the President got his rock.) The donations arrived in a variety of formats -- blocks of native granite, chunks of quartz, small boulders, fossils, hunks of old buildings. One contributor even sent a human skull.
By 1943 the Doctor had a complete set from the then-lower-48, and had them mortared into a 50-foot-tall pseudo-pyramid of garishly-colored concrete slabs that weighed 30 tons. Each slab had a rock embedded in it, and was inscribed with the donor's name and location: "Idaho, Chase A. Clark Gov. 1941-42," "Lottie Lawler," "Wisconsin Dairy Land," "Harvard Medical School." The pile was dedicated as The Monument of States that year.