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Colter and Winslow, Arizona Friday, December 1: In the s, as a railhead and a crossroad, Winslow was a major Arizona town. The Santa Fe Railroad and the Fred Harvey Company which operated restaurants and hotels for the railroad gave architect Mary Colter the assignment to build a hotel for tourists who came West to see the Grand Canyon and visit neighboring Indian reservations. La Posada, which opened in , was Colter's masterpiece.

Interagency Access Pass

Coming from the East entrance this should be your first stop. The 25 mile scenic drive to the South Rim Visitor Center has several canyon and river viewpoints to stop at or drive it the other way, either way, it is worth going to. Park shuttles do not have this on their route however.

It is usually less crowded than the Grand Canyon Village and does have a small store, a trading post gift shop and a good deli. This is a wonderful place to visit! The tower is fabulous and what an amazing attraction. And, it seems the park service could care less because they were not helpful AT ALL to any of the tourists and could have cared less if their food sat there without being picked up because the tourists didn't understand an absolutely abhorrent system of ordering.

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Log in Join Recently viewed Bookings Inbox. Mary Colter Outdid Herself Designing Grand Canyon Desert View Watchtower. Grand Canyon Landmarks Tour by Airplane. Ranked 18 of 77 things to do in Grand Canyon National Park.

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Reviewed October 27, Write a Review Reviews Show reviews that mention. All reviews " desert view ". Review tags are currently only available for English language reviews. During Colter's student days in San Francisco, the country was in the midst of discovering its own architectural style, one that would reflect both an American vision of beauty in its buildings and sensitivity to its environment. The Arts and Crafts Movement, described as "a look of dark, handmade natural woods and homey handcrafted Victorian clutter," reached its height in the late 19th century and early 20th.

Within that movement were several unique American styles: Spanish Mission, Prairie and California Craftsman. The Craftsman Style emphasized exquisite cabinetry and joinery, as well as truly appreciating the craftsman's skill and raising that skill to the level of Art while the mission and prairie styles adopted historic and romantic imagery that spoke to the American fascination with its past. Between and two variants of the mission style were most often manifested in Southwestern architecture: Both of these architectural expressions found their inspiration in the old California Spanish missions of the late s and the Southwest's prehistoric pueblos.

These two design principles were integrated into Colter's subsequent work.

Many historic Grand Canyon buildings were designed by St. Paul’s Mary Colter

She has been described as "the quintessential practitioner of the Arts and Crafts Movement. In addition to a clean room and tasty food, elegantly presented, Fred Harvey brought an awareness of the culture and history of the Southwest to travelers. Accounts vary regarding her introduction to officials of the company. According to one account it was during a vacation to San Francisco that Mary, visiting with a friend who worked in a Fred Harvey gift shop, expressed an interest in working for the Fred Harvey Company and managed to make it happen.

Another more plausible version was credited to the intercession of Minnie Harvey Huckel, daughter of Fred Harvey. The story goes that Minnie convinced her husband, John Frederick Huckel, a company vice-president, to hire Colter to design the exhibit and sales spaces for Native American crafts in the new Indian Building at the company's Alvarado Hotel in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Fred Harvey Company had made a business decision to merchandise Indian crafts to passengers as they traveled through the Southwest.

The Colter designed Indian Building, part of the Alvarado Hotel in Albuquerque, was both museum and shop where items were displayed to such good effect that tourists soon clamored for similar items to purchase from on-site artisans. Native artists such as Elle, a Navajo weaver from Ganado, enjoyed wide-spread fame from the Harvey business strategy.

Bright Angel Lodge -- South Rim

Surviving photographs of the interior of the Indian Building illustrate Colter's design concepts, utilizing Native crafts and artistry. Two years later in Colter was again hired to design and decorate a new sales building at Grand Canyon's South Rim called Hopi House. Today's traveler has the pleasure of seeing first-hand the Colter style. Relying upon information from the Mennonite missionary and Hopi ethnographer, Henrich R.


  • Mary Colter's Buildings at Grand Canyon - Grand Canyon National Park (U.S. National Park Service).
  • Mary Colter's Buildings at Grand Canyon;
  • Mary Colter.
  • A Place to Belong.

Voth, as well as her own careful study of pueblos at Oraibi, Colter created her version of a stone Hopi house and staffed it with working Hopi artisans, including the famous potter, Nampeyo. After a short stint as display manager for the Frederick and Nelson Department store in Seattle, Washington, Mary was hired permanently as a Fred Harvey Company architect and designer, in Working with ATSF's licensed architects Colter was from the non-license era , she brought to fruition her best work.


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  4. For the rest of her Fred Harvey Company career she moved between projects as head architect, designer, decorator and interior designer.