Grand Canyon National Park - South Rim

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This page last updated on 09/172017
(Fig. 01
Park DescriptionIn 1908, under authority of the Act for the Preservation of American Antiquities, President Theodore Roosevelt declared the Grand Canyon a national monument. This status protected the region from private development until 1919, when President Woodrow Wilson signed the bill creating Grand Canyon National Park. In 1979, it was named a World Heritage Site, joining Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia, and other distinguished sites having exceptional natural and cultural features considered universally valuable for all humankind. The Grand Canyon ranges from 2,000 feet to 8,000 feet above sea level. At 1,904 square miles, it is 1,218,376 acres in size. The south rim is at 7,000 feet elevation; the north rim is at 8,100 feet elevation. Its average depth is one mile and runs along the river for 277 miles. Its average width (rim to rim) is 10 miles with a minimum width of 600 years (at Marble Canyon) and a maximum width of 18 miles. The park supports a wide variety of plant and animal life indigenous to desert and mountain environments. Almost 2,000 animals and plants have been cataloged in Grand Canyon National Park.

River facts: The Colorado River: The Grand Canyon is the result of erosion, primarily by water. While the Colorado River has played the primary role in creating the canyon's present depth, runoff from rain and snow, and the streams that flow into the Canyon from both rims also helped shape and size the Canyon. The Colorado river is 1,450 long from its source in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado to the Gulf of California. Within Grand Canon National Park, the river is 277 miles in length. Its average width is 300 feet and minimum width is 76 feet. With a average depth of 40 feet, it greatest depth is 85 feet. It runs at an average gradient of 8 feet per mile.

Visit Notes: Upon our arrival, we were deposited in front of the historic Grand Canyon Depot (Fig. 02). Constructed in 1909-1910, it is a log and wood-frame structure two stories high. Originally, the downstairs was designated for station facilities, and the upstairs was for the station agent’s family. Today, the first floor is used for railway passenger services. The building is one of approximately 14 log depots known to have been constructed in the United States, and one of only three remaining. Of the three, the Grand Canyon Depot is the only one in which logs were used as the primary structural material and which still serves an operating railroad. The depot’s logs are squared on three sides creating bearing surfaces, flat interior surfaces and a rustic exterior appearance. If you visit the Grand Canyon take a few moments to step back into time and history as you explore this historic building, (con't below)

(Fig. 02)
Visit Notes Continued: One of the first places we visited was the Hopi House (Fig. 03)designed by Mary Colter, built in 1905. It is a large, multi-story building of stone masonry, shaped and built like a Hopi pueblo. Originally designed to house the main salesrooms for Fred Harvey Indian Arts, Colter designed the building to resemble a Hopi dwelling, after those at Oraibi, Arizona. Initially, Hopi House was an actual dwelling: some of the Hopis who worked in the building lived on the upper floors. The Hopi House is rectangular in plan, and the multiple roofs are stepped at various levels giving the building the impression of pueblo architecture. The sandstone walls are reddish in color, and tiny windows, like those of true Hopi structures, allow only the smallest amount of light into the building. On the interior, the floor finish on the first story is concrete. Most of the rooms have the typical ceiling of the Hopi style: saplings, grasses, and twigs with a mud coating on top, resting on peeled log beams. Corner fireplaces, small niches in the walls, and a mud-plaster wall finish, typical of Hopi interiors, are also character defining features. The interior (Fig. 04) is as impressive as the outside. Inside, Mary Colter’s perfectionist tendencies are apparent everywhere. Corner fireplaces with chimneys are made from broken pottery jars stacked and mortared together. Baskets hang from peeled log beams and low ceilings thatched with young saplings. Kachina dolls, ceremonial masks and woodcarvings are displayed in niche-filled mud-plastered walls. Pottery and jewelry are arranged for inspection on counters draped in hand-woven Navajo blankets and rugs. (con't below)
(Fig. 03)
(Fig. 04)
Visit Notes Continued: After touring the Hopi House, we got our first views of the canyon (Fig. 01 top) and Connie peering through a telescope in the wind as evidenced by her wind-blown hair (Fig. 05). Next we visited the Lookout Studio, completed in 1914, also designed by Colter. Lookout Studio, known also as The Lookout, is a beautiful stone building located on the edge of the South Rim. Side view of the Lookout Studio showing the multiple levels, faux ruins appearance, and banks of windows.(Fig. 06). It currently operates as a gift shop and observation station for visitors, with telescopes on its outdoor terrace. Lookout Studio was constructed by the Santa Fe Railway in 1914 and was established as a photography studio to compete with Kolb Studio. Lookout Studio employs her signature rustic style of using jagged native rocks to imitate indigenous structures of the region and to blend in with the environment. The walls rise to an irregular parapet which incorporates the building's chimneys. Before a roof replacement the roof carried a pile of stones designed to look like they had fallen into ruin. The lookout is on three levels, with a main level housing a shop and enclosed viewing area, a lower viewing platform and a small enclosed observation tower. The view is (Fig. 07) as looking down onto the viewing areas and the canyon below. The lookout is unusually brightly lighted for a Colter building, since its interior receives a great deal of light through its banks of large windows. (Fig. 08) is a view looking back at the El Tovar Hotel and Thunderbird Lodge.

(Fig. 05)
(Fig. 06)
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Visit Notes Continued: Next we visited the historic Kolb Studio (Fig. 09). This three story structure on the edge of the rim was operated from 1904 until 1976 as the photographic studio of brothers Ellsworth and Emery Kolb. In 1902, Emery C. Kolb (1881-1976) and Ellsworth L. Kolb (1876-1960) first arrived at the south rim of the Grand Canyon. In 1911, they successfully navigated the Colorado River, filming their journey. Built between from 1904 to 1926, the building which they constructed was both a family home and photographic studio for the pioneering Kolb brothers. The building has evolved through two major additions and countless minor changes during its century of existence at Grand Canyon. After the death of Emery Kolb in 1976, the National Park Service acquired the historic studio. The Grand Canyon Association now operates an art gallery, bookstore and information inside the building. The bookstore's proceeds go to support the building, and the store features a tribute to the Kolbs’ photographs of mule riders at Grand Canyon. The start of the Bright Angel Trail is to the west of the Kolb Studio. We then walked the rim trying to take in some of the views (Figs. 11 thru 13). By the time we finished this, Connie was freezing and couldn't wait to get inside (Fig. 14). (notes con't below)
(Fig. 09)
(Fig. 10)
(Fig. 11)

(Fig. 12)
(Fig. 13)
(Fig. 14)
Trip Notes Continued: So we headed to the Bright Angle Lodge and something hot to warm up. With a natural rustic character, Bright Angel Lodge was again designed in 1935 by famed Southwest architect Mary Jane Colter. This iconic lodge and its surrounding cabins are rich with cultural history. Over the years it has gone through many transformations – originally a hotel, then a camp and finally a lodge. All of its changes were to accommodate increased visitation after the arrival of the train in 1901. Under the direction of the Santa Fe Railroad, Mary Jane Colter was tasked to design a fresh look for Bright Angel Lodge in an effort to provide more moderately priced lodging in contrast to the El Tovar “up the hill”. Colter drew inspirations from many local sources in her architecture. For example the ”geologic” fireplace in the lobby featuring all of the rock layers of the Grand Canyon, from the river cobbles to the youngest stone strata on the rim (Fig. 16). A second fireplace actually had a fire going (Fig. 17). Included in this lodge design were a couple of historically significant structures that might well have been demolished without her intervention. The Buckey O’Neill Cabin, originally home to one of Roosevelt’s Rough Riders, and the Red Horse Station, which served as the post office for 20 years. A couple of final peek at the canyon on our way back to the train depot for our return train trip (Figs. 18 & 19). Obviously I would have preferred better weather for picture taking, but all in all it was still a great day. Once we got on board we immediately ordered a couple of sparkling winesto help "warm" us up.
(Fig. 15)
(Fig. 16)
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(Fig. 19)

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Clicking the picture-link below will open OneDrive in a new window and a folder containing 27 pictures taken of trip to the Grand Canyon South Rim. To view the show, click on the first picture in the folder and you will get the following menu bar:

Click the "Play slide show" will play a fullscreen window of the slide show.