The man most responsible for getting the bill through congress was North Dakota Congressman William Lemke. He made it his cause celebre. Just why Lemke devoted more than five years of his political career to a cause he had never previously espoused and to preserving the memory of a man he didn’t particularly admire is a bit of a mystery. Whatever his motivation might have been, Lemke fought a long hard battle to make the park a reality.
The new park was named Theodore Roosevelt National Memorial Park. Although the name was a political compromise, some people, including Lemke, had hoped inclusion of the word “Memorial” would create additional status not enjoyed by other parks. Unfortunately, the proponents of that idea were misreading the tea leaves. The name turned out to be a bit of a burden. As the only “Memorial” park in the federal system, the park had a sort of nebulous status and was often omitted when the national parks were discussed.