History of the Grand Canyon Area

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An archaeological dig. Photo by Dawn Kish

Arizona delivers big when it comes to historic sites and opportunities to take a step back in time. We share information about the many national monuments that commemorate and showcase historically significant sites, including cliff dwellings, pueblos, fossils and petrified forests, trading posts, mines and ghost towns, and more.

The arch welcoming you to Hermits Rest. Photo by Whit Richardson

1800’s Grand Canyon Architect, Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter

Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter was a woman who knew what she wanted. And anyone who’s had the pleasure of gazing out over the Grand Canyon from Lookout Studio or taken a load off their feet at Hermits Rest should thank her for it. Read More...

An artist's impression of United Airlines Flight 718 colliding with TWA Flight 2. Wikimedia Commons by anonymous author.

1956 Grand Canyon Airplane Crash

A mid-air collision occurred on June 30, 1956 when a United Airlines Douglas DC-7 struck a Trans World Airlines Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellation over the Grand Canyon in Arizona Read More...

3D Map of Deaths in the Grand Canyon by Kenneth Field and Damien Saunder

770 Deaths in the Grand Canyon Mapped

Inspired by the book, Over the Edge: Death in Grand Canyon, Kenneth Field and Damien Saunder created a map of more than 770 unfortunate events. Read More...

WWII Navajo Code Talkers - Navajo Veterans Park, Window Rock, Arizona. Courtesy photo

Arizona Historic Sites

Visit old pueblos, see ancient cliff dwellings, tour historic mines, re-live the Old West, explore Native American culture and ride a historic train. Read More...

Guano Point at Grand Canyon West

Bat Cave Mine at the Grand Canyon

Estimation were that the cave held 100,000 tons of guano with a net worth of $12 to $15 million as fertilizer. Read about elaborate schemes to mine the cave. Read More...

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Down the Great Unknown Book Review

Edward Dolnick’s book details John Wesley Powell’s expedition down the Colorado River from notes, journals, interviews and factual info from research. Read More...

Early Tourists of Grand Canyon

Early Tourists of the Grand Canyon

The first people to come to sightsee were transcontinental travelers, who disembarked in Williams or Flagstaff and came to the canyon via stagecoach Read More...

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Excavation Reveals Grand Canyon’s Ancient Human History

Nine sites located along or just above the Colorado River were excavated over a period of 136 gritty days in the field between 2007-2009. Read More...

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Extinct Humpback Chub Found

On October 9, 2012 Arizona fish and wildlife officials caught a fish thought to be extinct in the Grand Canyon area. This razorback sucker was the first of its kind to be obtained in more than 20 years. Read More...

John Wesley Powell.

Float Your Boat: Grand Canyon Rafts, Then and Now

The four boats used on the 1869 Powell expedition were made of oak and pine and poorly suited for running Grand Canyon rapids. Read More...

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Fred Harvey and the Harvey Girls

The Harvey Girls “well groomed and carefully trained young women in spotless, white and black uniforms” worked for Fred Harvey at his chain of restaurants in the late 1800s. Read More...

Indian Garden and Three-mile Resthouse from Bright Angel Trail. n

Grand Canyon Becomes a National Forest

Creating Grand Canyon National Forest Read More...

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Grand Canyon Becomes a National Park

Woodrow Wilson Signs Grand Canyon Park into Law Read More...

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Grand Canyon Fanatics

They couldn’t get enough of the Grand Canyon. Read about the early explorers and fanatics that passionately forged great adventures out in the wild canyon. Read More...

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Grand Canyon Saved from Flooding

Until January 20, 1969 the Grand Canyon was not fully safe from flooding and becoming another major man made lake in Arizona. Read More...

Sunset at Bright Angel Point on the North Rim. Photo by Whit Richardson

How Old is the Grand Canyon?

Study by the Univ. of CO and the CA Institute of Technology aims to debunk previous research that the canyon is only five to 6 million years old. Read More...

Grand Canyon View

How the Grand Canyon Became a National Park

The Canyon’s natural beauty was under attack from developers, miners and ranchers. Jan 11, 1908, Roosevelt stopped them by establishing a national monument. Read More...

Lees Ferry - Mile 0 for rafting in the Grand Canyon

Legendary Grand Canyon Boatman – Martin Litton

In the Grand Canyon, 296 miles of the Colorado River runs free, largely because of Martin Litton. He was a Grand Canyon river runner and environmental activist. Read More...

Yavapai Point in the Grand Canyon

Naming of Places in the Grand Canyon

Learning about names is a fun way to discover some of the history of the area, so check it out. Read More...

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Naming The Colorado River

The Colorado River had many names before it became the “Colorado” River. Read More...

Dave Uberuaga, former Superintendent of Grand Canyon National Park. Photo courtesy of NPS

NPS Centennial Q & A with Dave Uberuaga

August 25, 2016 marks the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary. We asked Dave Uberuago, former Grand Canyon National Park Superintendent to look back and also look forward to the next 100 years. What stories from the grand canyon’s past most resonate with you? One of the more emotional settings for me is to recognize that Read More...

Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona

Places from the Past near Grand Canyon

Visit these parks on your way to Grand Canyon. Read More...

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Powell’s Grand Ambition – Rafting Through the Grand Canyon

Running the treacherous Colorado River in 1869 would be one of many historic firsts for explorer and scientist John Wesley Powell. Read More...

Lee's Ferry River Access

Story of Lee’s Ferry and the Mountain Meadows Masacre

The story of the complex character behind Lee’s Ferry in the Grand Canyon and his part in killing 120 people Read More...

Blueprints of Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon Throughout Time

Travel back in time with a history lesson on the Grand Canyon Read More...