History of Grand Canyon National Park

The Lodge

The beautiful Grand Canyon Lodge at the North Rim was built by architect Gilbert Stanley Underwood and was finished in 1928. Native stone and timber were used to make the lodge, with much of the main lodge featuring Kaibab limestone that makes up the cliff at Bright Angel Point. Underwood built 120 cabins, surrounding the main lodge, and added 20 more in 1928. The lodge was initially run by the Utah Parks Company, who was also a National Park Concessioner in Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks.

As the lodge flourished when it was initially opened, a devastating fire the began in the lodge’s basement, nearly destroyed all of the main lodge and two cabins. In spite of this set back, in 1936 the lodge began being rebuilt. Much of the original stonework was reused but much of the lodge was scaled back to ensure it could withstand strong winter snow that comes to the North Rim. Thus, the original second story observation tower was not rebuilt and the main Dining Room and Recreation rooms were reconstructed with higher roofs.

The lodge has been in operation since it reopened in 1936 and officially earned designation as a National Historic Landmark on May 28, 1987, forever cementing it’s place in American History.

The Grand Canyon

​Grand Canyon National Park is one of the most popular National Parks in America with more than five million visitors each year. The history of the Grand Canyon goes back approximately six million years, with the Colorado River being the focal point of its creation. Over these millions of years, the Colorado River slowly eroded the land beneath it forming the spectacularly deep canyon that we all know today. The canyon’s average depth is 4,000 feet deep and is 277 miles long, with a wide variety of ecosystems living all throughout the canyon. The Grand Canyon earned recognition as a National Park on February 26, 1919, and was later declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Of course though, the canyon was discovered long before it earned this recognition. In 1776, 236 years after the South Rim of the Grand Canyon was first discovered by settlers, Father Escalante visited the ponderosa covered North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Over time, ownership of the North Rim was heavily negotiated as Arizona and Utah claimed the territory until Arizona earned official statehood on February 14, 1912.

If you ever have the chance to travel into the canyon, you’ll see a wide variety of wildlife (such as Kaibab squirrels, goshawks, porcupines, mule deer, and elk), flora, and Native American petroglyphs at some point during your journey. As one of the seven natural wonders of the world, the Grand Canyon is a historical wonder to be explored with a variety of hiking trails available so visitors can explore the canyon for themselves.

If you’d like to learn more about the Grand Canyon’s history, visit www.nps.gov.

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