The Grand Canyon is an American icon, a scenic wonder like no other. From the several Native American tribes who have called Grand Canyon home to swashbuckling pioneers to an airliner collision over the canyon that led to the formation of the FAA, It Happened at Grand Canyon tells the history of this colossal, magnificent place.
About the Author
Todd R. Berger is the former managing editor of the Grand Canyon Association and a freelance writer, editor, and photographer based at Grand Canyon National Park. He is the coauthor of Insiders' Guide® to Grand Canyon and Northern Arizona, and his work regularly leads him into the canyon for research, photography, and inspiration. He lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Read an Excerpt
"The whole gorge for miles lay beneath us and it was by far the most awfully grand and impressive scene I have ever yet seen."
Thomas Moran, in a letter to his wife, August 13, 1873
By the time landscape artist Thomas Moran first looked out over the Grand Canyon from the North Rim at Toroweap in August 1873, he was already famous for his paintings and drawings of the American West. In 1870 Scribner's Monthly commissioned the 33-year-old Moran to illustrate an article about Yellowstone, and the versatile artist created ink wash illustrations based on crude drawings of the wonders of Yellowstone sketched by two members of an expedition to the future national park in the summer of that year. The illustrations were published in the May and June 1871 issues of the magazine along with the two-part article by Thomas Langford.
Buoyed by the publication of his Yellowstone sketches and armed with a recommendation from Jay Cooke, a Philadelphia banker and agent for the Northern Pacific Railroad, Moran talked his way onto the expedition of Dr. Ferdinand V. Hayden to Yellowstone in the summer of 1871. Relying on photographs taken by William Henry Jackson and his own sketches and watercolors made during the trip, Moran completed a seven-foot by twelve-foot oil painting, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, which the government purchased in 1872 for the then-momentous sum of $10,000 and hung it in the U.S. Capitol. Earlier that year, Congress had created Yellowstone National Park; congressional supporters of the Yellowstone bill had been heavily influenced by Moran's illustrations in Scribner's, as well as the sketches and watercolors he brought back from Wyoming after the Hayden expedition.
But when the famous explorer of the Southwest Major John Wesley Powell requested Moran's services for a trip to the Grand Canyon in 1872, the busy artist turned the major down: he had too many Yellowstone commissions to take time off that summer. A year later, after the artist had completed his work, he finally joined a new Powell expedition into the canyons of southwestern Utah Territory and on to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.
Major Powell's theories on the formation of the Grand Canyon heavily influenced Moran. In 1875 the Government Printing Office published Powell's Exploration of the Colorado River of the West and Its Tributaries, including numerous illustrations by Moran. In that book Powell described the formation of the pinnacles and buttes of the inner canyon: "No human hand has placed a block in all those wonderful structures. The rain drops of unreckoned ages have cut them all from solid rock." Today, the effects of erosion on the formation of the canyon are widely known, but in 1875 many viewed Powell's ideas as radical. Regardless, Powell heavily influenced Moran, and the artist incorporated his idealized version of the role of falling water in the creation of the canyon in his equally large companion painting to the Yellowstone piece, The Chasm of the Colorado, completed in 1874.
Table of Contents
The Colorado River Is Six Feet Wide-1540 1
Christmas at the Grand Canyon-1858 10
First through the Grand Canyon?-1867 17
The Dead Explorers-1869 22
The Ferryman-1872 28
The Chasm of the Colorado-1874 33
The Cruel Colorado-1889 38
El Tovar-1905 45
Grand Canyon Mummies-1909 49
Moving Photography-1911-1912 55
Driving to the Colorado River-1914 62
Phantom Ranch-1922 65
Inner Canyon Landing-1922 69
The Kaibab Deer Affair-1924 74
Bypassing Bright Angel-1925 80
The Honeymooners-1928 85
Hazardous Duty-1933-1936 92
Somewhere in the Grand Canyon-1944 97
Grand Canyon Enters the Atomic Age-19 51 102
Dips in the Colorado-1955 107
The Fallen-1956 112
The Battle of El Tovar-1966 118
Airborne Burros-1980 129
The Undermining of Glen Canyon Dam-1983 133
Reaching into the Past-1989 139
Danny Ray Horning-1992 144
Two Bad Days-2000 150
Fledgling Superstar-2003 157
Grand Canyon Facts & Trivia 162
About the Author 194
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Great book featuring thirty short stories about The Grand Canyon. Starting with the Spanish in the 1500's and moving to present days. These stories are informative and interesting. I would recommend reading this book before going to the Canyon. This book gives one many different aspects of the Canyon and the many colorful characters that have visited and traveled through the Canyon .