Administrative History


Polishing the Jewel: An Administrative History of Grand Canyon National Park

By Michael F. Anderson

Copyright © 2000 by the Grand Canyon Association -- Monograph No. 11

Based on extensive research of the administration of the park under both the U.S. Forest Service and the National Park Service, this book takes a look at the challenges government officials have faced in preserving and protecting one of the crown jewels of the National Park System.


Contents and List of Illustrations (45.4KB PDF File)

1) 1882 - 1919 Becoming a National Park
2) 1919 - 1929 Foundations
3) 1930 - 1941 Ironic Golden Years
4) 1942 - 1955 World War and Its Wake
5) 1956 - 1975 Infrastuctural Last Hurrah
6) 1976 - 1999 An End to Consensus
7) Upshots and Prognosis


Preface (42KB PDF File)

This book is an administrative history of Grand Canyon National Park with a target audience of park employees and others concerned with how the park has been managed over the years. It therefore falls short of a comprehensive history of the canyon and its environs.


Acknowledgements (171kb PDF File)
Among the sources, I must single out the secretaries of the interior, National Park Service directors, and Grand Canyon’s park superintendents, who wrote candid annual reports of park concerns, plans, and actions from the mid-1910s until the early 1960s. I studied these remarkable reports alongside other contemporary documents to identify original motivations for creating a park system, parks bureau, and Grand Canyon National Park, and to judge the consistency of management decision making through the years...


Chapter One: (549kb PDF File)
Becoming a National Park, 1882-1919
Although corporate cattle, sheep, and lumber companies crept closer to the canyon during the 1880s and 1890s, the chasm itself produced nothing but headaches for shepherds and cowboys and precluded timber extraction. Initial development therefore fell to a few dozen pioneering individuals and families...


Chapter Two: (840kb PDF File)
Foundations, 1919-1929
Aside from providing utilities and other essential services required of a burgeoning tourist village, park managers had to be concerned with properly housing employees and equipment. Competing responsibilities, the absence of a village plan, and inadequate budgets resulted in temporary edifices, multi-functional buildings, false starts, and...


Chapter Three: (900kb PDF File)
Ironic Golden Years, 1930-1941
The 1930s at Grand Canyon National Park witnessed a seamless progression of building programs begun in the mid-1920s. The two decades were linked as well by persistence with earlier efforts to enhance visitors’ experiences and protect the landscape through educational programs, boundary extensions...


Chapter Four: (932kb PDF File)
World War and Its Wake, 1942-1945
The war itself caused tourism to drop more precipitously and bottom more deeply than it had during the depression, providing some administrative respite, but concomitant reductions in appropriations and staff left buildings, roads, and trails in disrepair by the war’s end.

Chapter Five: (416kb PDF File)
Infrastructural Last Hurrah, 1956-1975
At Grand Canyon, construction of visitor services actually accelerated after 1966 and did not subside until 1983, belatedly catching up with Mission 66 objectives but once again far in arrears of consumer demand. Meanwhile, administrators’ focus on development angered others more concerned with external threats to the park’s integrity...

Chapter Six: (620kb PDF File)
An End to Consensus, 1976-1999
Most visitors to Grand Canyon limit their stay to a few hours of panoramic viewing from the rim, gazing at rock shapes, slopes, sunrise, sunset, shadows, and shifting forms. Such visions have been obscured since mid-century by the emissions of internal-combustion vehicles plying regional and inner-park roads, but more so by...

Chapter Seven: (1.02MB PDF File)
Upshots and Prognosis
The paved walkway from Kolb Studio to Verkamps is often congested, but those who take the time can stroll among junipers and ponderosa along canyon-view paths to the west as far as Hopi Point and east to Yavapai Point, capturing some semblance of solitude and quiet that has not yet been lost.
Endnotes (301kb PDF File)
Index (84kb PDF File)

Grand Canyon Association is a non-profit organization. All proceeds from the sale of this book will be used to support the educational goals of Grand Canyon National Park.

Copyright © 2000 by Grand Canyon Association. All rights reserved.
Monograph Number 11

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Anderson, Michael F.
Polishing the jewel : an adminstrative history of Grand Canyon National Park/by Michael F. Anderson
p. cm. -- (Monograph / Grand Canyon Association ; no. 11)
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 0-938216-72-4
1. Grand Canyon National Park (Ariz.)--Management-History. 2.Grand Canyon National Park (Ariz.)--History. 3. United States. National Park Service-History. I. Title. II. Monograph (Grand Canyon Association) ; no. 11.
F788 .A524 2000

Edited by L. Greer Price and Faith Marcovecchio
Designed by Kim Buchheit, Dena Dierker and Ron Short
Cover designed by Ron Short

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