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History Buffs Enjoy Southwest Architectural Design on Grand Canyon Tours to the Canyon’s Village

Patrick Smith

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Mary Colter the Grand Canyon Architect

Few women worked as architects in the early 1900s. That is why the name Mary Colter is well-recognized in Grand Canyon National park. The Grand Canyon buildings she designed to form an essential part of the South Rim experience and increase the appeal of taking one of the Grand Canyon tours offered from Las Vegas to vacationers staying in the exciting locale. Learning more about Colter will add interest to your exploration of the South Rim.

The Beginning of Colter’s Career

When she was a young girl, living in St. Paul, Minnesota, Mary loved looking at Sioux Native American art. After studying art in San Francisco, Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter found work at the Fred Harvey Company. One of her first assignments was decorating the inside of a Native American craft and gift shop in Albuquerque, NM. After completing the work, the company assigned Mary to design a similar gift shop – one that would be built next to the luxurious El Tovar Hotel.

Building and Designing Hopi House

The name of the new gift shop was Hopi House – a notable contrast to the elegant El Tovar. While the El Tovar building was built to resemble a Swiss chalet, the Hopi House’s design was inspired by an 800-year-old pueblo, called the Old Oraibi. Mary immersed herself in Hopi design work so she could showcase it in her buildings. That is why Grand Canyon tours from Vegas continue to be a draw for people who love history.

Notable Sights on Grand Canyon Tours

The Hopi House complimented the surrounding park scenery, rather than competing against it. Therefore, it was regarded with much acclaim. After her success in building the Hopi House, Mary continued her work, building some of the Grand Canyon’s most famous structures. Many of these buildings are featured in Grand Canyon Village, a designated National Historic Landmark District.

Mary’s work included one amazing Grand Canyon portfolio. She was responsible for the design and building of Lookout Studio, Phantom Ranch, the Desert View Watchtower, Hermits Rest, and Bright Angel Lodge. These are some of the most popular and interesting spots that people still visit today when they take a trip to Grand Canyon National Park.

A National Park Full of History

She once made the following comment during the building of Hermits Rest, “You can’t imagine what it cost to make it look this old.” Therefore, if you want to see one-of-a-kind timeless architecture, you cannot miss taking one of the South Rim bus trips offered by Grand Canyon Destinations. The past comes alive on the South Rim as you escape to another time.

Book A Grand Canyon South Rim Tour Today

Whether you visit the buildings of Grand Canyon Village or view the sunset from one of the many scenic vistas, you will find that taking one of the Grand Canyon tours from Vegas is a rewarding travel experience. Book travel today with Grand Canyon Destinations and see the Grand Canyon with all that it has to offer.

Mary Colter looking at building blueprints of famous sites that are now seen on Grand Canyon tours.

Patrick graduated from LSE with a degree in economics. He covered the City of London beat for a while for the Financial Times before deciding to go freelance. He has been published in Market Watch and is the author of Better Spread Betting - Trading For Fun & Profit.

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