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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Grand Canyon National Park in Coconino County, Arizona — The American Mountains (Southwest)
 

The Watchtower

Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter

 
 
The Watchtower Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., November 11, 2010
1. The Watchtower Marker
Inscription.
Build a structure that provides the widest possible view of Grand Canyon yet harmonizes with its setting: this was architect Mary Colter's goal when the Fred Harvey Company hired her in 1930 to design a gift shop and rest area here at Desert View. Colter's answer was the Watchtower.

A perfectionist, Colter scrutinized every detail, down to the placement of nearly every stone. Each stone was handpicked for size and appearance. Weathered faces were left untouched to give the tower an ancient look. With a lavish, highly publicized dedication ceremony, the Watchtower opened in May 1933.

Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter
For almost 50 years, Mary Colter designed structures and interiors throughout the Southwest for the Fred Harvey Company. Six of her works can be seen at Grand Canyon: Hopi House, Bright Angel Lodge, Lookout Studio, Hermits Rest, Phantom Ranch, and the Watchtower.
 
Erected by National Park Service.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the National Historic Landmarks marker series.
 
Location. 36° 2.626′ N, 111° 49.553′ W. Marker is in Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, in Coconino County. Click for map. Marker is near the Watchtower, at Desert
The Watchtower National Historic Landmark Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., November 11, 2010
2. The Watchtower National Historic Landmark Marker
View Point, about 0.4 mile NNE of Desert View (East Rim) Drive (Arizona Highway 64). Marker is in this post office area: Grand Canyon AZ 86023, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 5 other markers are within 10 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. 1956 Grand Canyon TWA-United Airlines Aviation Accident Site (within shouting distance of this marker); Tusayan Ruin Trail (approx. 3.1 miles away); Tusayan Museum and Ruin (approx. 3.1 miles away); Mining on Horseshoe Mesa (approx. 9.6 miles away); Grandview, 1898 (approx. 9.6 miles away).
 
Also see . . .
1. The Watchtower Historic Photos. (Submitted on January 9, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. Desert View Pamphlet. (Submitted on January 9, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
3. National Register Nomination for Colter's Grand Canyon Buildings. (Submitted on January 9, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
 
Categories. Notable Buildings
 
The Watchtower and Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., November 11, 2010
3. The Watchtower and Marker
Photo on The Watchtower Marker image. Click for full size.
1932
4. Photo on The Watchtower Marker
[Caption reads] The Watchtower under construction, 1932. Though architect Colter studies Southwestern Indian towers for design ideas, the Watchtower is not a replica of any actual structure. It has a concrete base, and a steel framework built by the bridge department of the Santa Fe Railroad.
Photo on The Watchtower Marker image. Click for full size.
5. Photo on The Watchtower Marker
[Caption reads] Hopi artist Fred Kabotie paints The Snake Legend, one of several murals that cover the interior walls of the tower. Colter chose Hopi art for the tower's interior because of the close association of the Hopi people with Grand Canyon.
The Watchtower's Snake Legend Mural image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., November 11, 2010
6. The Watchtower's Snake Legend Mural
The Watchtower Stairway image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., November 11, 2010
7. The Watchtower Stairway
The Watchtower Observation Deck image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., November 11, 2010
8. The Watchtower Observation Deck
View From The Watchtower image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., November 11, 2010
9. View From The Watchtower
Looking west
View From The Watchtower image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., November 11, 2010
10. View From The Watchtower
Looking north
The Watchtower image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., November 11, 2010
11. The Watchtower
The Watchtower image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., November 11, 2010
12. The Watchtower
Looking north
The Watchtower image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, June 1, 2001
13. The Watchtower
View of Grand Canyon from Navajo Point image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., November 8, 2010
14. View of Grand Canyon from Navajo Point
The Watchtower is on horizon at right of photo
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 569 times since then and 2 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.   13. submitted on , by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.   14. submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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