A day in the life

Grand Canyon ~ Desert View Watch Tower



TowerAt the Grand Canyon East Rim, there is tower called the Desert View Watch tower or the Indian Watch Tower.  It is an interesting building and has a list of history to it. In fact, when we took he train to the Grand Canyon they talked a lot about the Tower and the gal who created it. I paid no attention until I got to the tower. Then I figured out what they were talking about.

The tower is four stories high and I huffed, puffed, and wheezed my way to the top for a spectacular view of the Grand Canyon.  One that I felt safe viewing. That topic is for another post.

roof in the tower
Ceiling in the Tower

The tower looked like brick/stone on the outside and mud ion the inside. . American architect Mary Colter designed it in 1932. Mary was an employee of the Fred Harvey Company who also created and designed many other buildings in the Grand Canyon vicinity including Hermit’s Rest and the Lookout Studio. The fabulous interior contains murals by Fred Kabotie. Mary, it seems was an admirer of the native peoples and designed many of the structures including the tower after Pueblo designs. Hence, e the brick/stone on the outside and the mud look on the inside. Guess she did that a lot.

The coolest part of the tower though is the murals on the inside. My favorite was the legend on the Snake people. The story

Legend of the Snake People
Legend of the Snake People

goes that a young warrior often wondered where the river on the bottom of the Grand Canyon went. He asked the wise men but they did not know. It was thought that perhaps the water went into the earth from here the first people emerged. The Chief thought perhaps it went to the Gods. The young warrior asked to go find out and was granted permission.

They built him an enclosed canoe with a hole at the end where he could steer and fish for his dinner. The warrior got inside and off he went. He stayed inside for a long, long time until one day he smelled the salt and felt the gentle rocking and he decided he was in the mother ocean where the sun went to sleep. He steered to the shore and when he got there, while exploring he came across Spiders web. It was tiny and spider told him to come in. When he did, it got even bigger and he was able to enter and talk to spider. Spider gave him some food and water and some medicine sticks. The warrior with spider on his shoulder wondered for a bit until he came to another tribe that he did not recognize. . The chiefs of that tribe looked at him a long time then they lit a pipe and smoked. When they handed him the pipe, the young warrior smoked the magic number of smokes. Then the chiefs welcomed him.

River Colorado
The Colorado River

That night they had a feast. All sorts of food and dancing were offered to the gods. The young warrior stayed with them for a month when the moons turned full again there was another dance and the offered medicine sticks to the gods. When they danced, the women became snakes. The chief told the warrior that if he could pick the chiefs daughter, the warrior could marry her. The warrior was confused because there were many beautiful snakes. Spider, who was still with the warrior, told him to pick the white snake with the gold stripes. He did so and gave her medicine. The snake turned back into the chief’s daughter. They were married and that is the beginning of the snake people. Love that story.
I completely recommend checking it out next time you are at the Grand Canyon. Instead of just running up the stairs take some time, as I did, at each level and check the murals.

Tower in the sky