As you’re touring the Grand Canyon, your focus will understandably be on the amazing vistas, but you’ll also want to take time to visit some of the Grand Canyon’s buildings, uniquely designed with direct inspiration from the landscape.
The South Rim is home to buildings designed by Mary Colter, a pioneering chief architect for the Fred Harvey Company. She designed many landmark hotels and lodges. As you’re visiting the South Rim, make sure to view these five buildings designed by the woman known as the “architect of the Southwest”:
1. Hopi House
This building was commissioned in 1904 to serve as a marketplace for Native American wares – a function it still serves today. It was built by Hopi craftsman and modeled after their 10,000-year-old pueblo dwellings. The only real concession to modern life was the use of a front door instead of the traditional roof entrance used by the Hopi.
2. Hermit’s Rest
Constructed as a rest stop for a stagecoach line in 1914, Hermit’s Rest is located a few miles to the west of Hopi House, several feet back from the rim’s edge. It was designed to look like a structure that an untrained mountain man might build, using natural logs and stones found in the area.
3. Lookout Studio
As its name suggests, Lookout Studio was built on a precipice to give visitors a chance to photograph the canyon and get a closer look through telescopes. The multi-level building has plenty of viewing windows and the building also has an observation room with a small balcony. Lookout Studio was built to imitate a natural extension growing out of the Grand Canyon.
4. Phantom Ranch
Nestled at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, Phantom Ranch is the only lodging facility located below the canyon’s rim. Built in 1922 using fieldstone and wood from the site, the ranch is situated next to Bright Angel Creek and remains a popular spot for hikers and mule-riders to stop rest thanks to its remote location.
5. Desert View Watchtower
This stunning structure was built in 1932 and modeled after ancient Puebloan watchtowers. Its foundation is made of concrete and steel covered in aged native stone. The interior has Hopi murals and paintings, as well as petroglyphs from a Hopi reservation about 100 miles away. You can still climb the stairs of the tower today to see spectacular views.
To see more
Maverick Helicopters offers the Canyon Spirit Tour, departing from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Fly over the Kaibab National Forest and see the canyon’s North Rim and eastern end, as well as the Painted Desert in the distance. You’ll also cross over the Colorado River and fly over the South Rim before landing at the Grand Canyon Airport. For more information or to book a tour of the Grand Canyon, contact us at 1-888-261-4414.