Bright Angel Trail

Bright Angel Trail PostcardPrior to March 3rd, 1907 postal regulations prohibited written messages on the back of postcards, and that limitation inspired some creative workarounds. This Grand Canyon view was mailed to San Gabriel, California on Oct. 27, 1905, and though the tiny writing is difficult to read I believe I’ve “decoded” the message. It’s an interesting, if brief, chronicle of a trip into the canyon, written at a time when the Grand Canyon had been a tourist destination for only a handful of years:

Bright Angel: At Grand Canyon. Oct. 27th, 1905. Dear ones, You see we are still at the canyon & will be until 3 P.M. then we go down to Williams & leave there at 6:47 P.M. Get home Sunday P.M. We took a walk down the canyon. We started at 9 A.M. & went to the river & it took us 3 1/2 hours. We came back in 5 hours. It was dreadful coming back, & after we got back we learned it was a 14 mile trip & we walked every step. We are somewhat sore this A.M. We will write when we get home. We almost froze when we got here. There was a heavy frost. We are all well & trust you are. Anna.

The Grand Canyon, 1902

Grand Canyon PostcardGrand Canyon PostcardGrand Canyon PostcardThis trio of Grand Canyon postcards are very early views of the canyon (by postcard standards), all copyright 1902 by Detroit Photographic Co. (later known as Detroit Publishing Co.) The undivided back postcards show, from top to bottom: view from the El Tovar Hotel, view from O’Neill’s Point, and a view from Rowe’s Point.

Verkamp’s Souvenir Store

Verkamp's Souvenir Store PostcardFounded by Cincinnati native John George Verkamp in 1906, Verkamp’s Souvenir Store became a Grand Canyon icon that continues to this day. On the back:

At this store, located a short distance east of the Hopi House, on the rim of the Grand Canyon, a complete line of Canyon souvenirs and handwork done by Indian tribes of all parts of the West, is on sale. A specialty is made of Navajo rugs.

The Kiva

Grand Canyon PostcardPublished by Fred Harvey, this linen card shows the “Kiva”, a replica of a prehistoric indian tower that was constructed along the Grand Canyon in 1932. On the back:

The low, round Kiva, forty feet in diameter, built at the base of The Watch tower at Desert View, lies half-buried in its foundation of green stained Canyon boulders. In all details it reproduces the prehistoric Kiva or ceremonial chamber, except for the introduction of great windows overlooking the magnificent panorama of Canyon and Desert.

Bright Angel Lodge

Bright Angel Lodge PostcardThis linen postcard was published by the Fred Harvey Trading Co. and shows the entrance to the Bright Angel Lodge. The hub of activity on the Grand Canyon’s South Rim, the lodge was built in 1935 and is still in operation today. On the reverse:

“Grand Canyon visitors can frequently see native deer browsing about the grounds of El Tovar Hotel and Bright Angel Lodge. Wild deer of this species abound in the nearby Kaibab National Forest.”