History & Culture

Banner image linking to ASU Nature, Culture and History at the Grand Canyon shows Grand Canyon scenic view with superimposed letters: ASU Nature, Culture and History at the Grand Canyon
The "Nature, Culture and History at Grand Canyon" website is the park's primary source of historical and cultural information, Click on the photo above to visit site.

Administrative History of Grand Canyon National Park

Although first afforded Federal protection in 1893 as a Forest Reserve and later as a National Monument, Grand Canyon did not achieve National Park status until 1919, three years after the creation of the National Park Service. Today Grand Canyon National Park receives close to five million visitors each year - a far cry from the annual visitation of 44,173 which the park received in 1919.

This link takes you to the Administrative History of Grand Canyon National Park, a political and economic history of the park from the beginning of the twentieth century to the present.

Granaries above Nankoweap

Archeological Resources

The oldest human artifacts found are nearly 12,000 years old and date to the Paleo-Indian period. There has been continuous use and occupation of the park since that time.

  • The park has recorded over 4,300 archeological resources with an intensive survey of over 5% of the park area.
  • The park's 11 Traditionally Associated Tribes and historic ethnic groups view management of archeological resources as preservation of their heritage.
  • Archeological remains from the following culture groups are found in Grand Canyon National Park: Paleo-Indian, Archaic, Basketmaker, Ancestral Puebloan (Kayenta and Virgin branches), Cohonina, Cerbat, Pai, Southern Paiute, Zuni, Hopi, Navajo, and Euro-American. Learn more...

Archeology Virtual Tour Console

Take a virtual tour

Grand Canyon Archaeology Virtual Tour

Discover ancient places within the Grand Canyon where people lived long ago.

What did the archeologists find during the first major excavation to occur along the Colorado River corridor in nearly 40 years? Interactive 360° photos, show archeologists at work, along with their tools, such as shovels, trowels, screens and buckets. https://www.nps.gov/features/grca/001/archeology/index.html

NPS Views: Discovery web site
NPS VIEWS - Grand Canyon Discovery
The Grand Canyon truly is a special place. Life abounds within the canyon, in the Colorado River, and even along the rims.

Even humans have inhabited this area for at least the past couple thousand years. Learn more...


Grand Canyon National Park Archeology Includes:

River Monitoring Program
generates data regarding the effects of dam operations on historic properties, identifies ongoing impacts to historic properties within the APE [Area of Potential Effect], and develops and implements remedial measures for treating historic properties subject to damage.

Vanishing Treasures Program
Grand Canyon National Park is one of 45 National Park Service areas that participate in the Vanishing Treasures Program. The goal of the Vanishing Treasures program is the conservation of architectural remains through research, documentation, and preservation treatment.

The Park Operations Building also known as Ranger Operations (1929)

Historic Structures in Grand Canyon National Park

National Historic Landmarks

  • Individual Buildings 5
    El Tovar Hotel, Grand Canyon Railroad Depot, Grand Canyon Lodge, Grand Canyon Park Operations Building (also known as Ranger Operations) and the Grand Canyon Power House.
  • Districts 2
    Grand Canyon Village (257 contributing properties) and the Mary Colter Buildings

National Register of Historic Places

  • Individual Properties 9
  • Individual Structures 1
  • Districts 8
  • Archeological Sites 1

Determinations of eligibility have been received for an additional 14 structures and districts and 316 archeological sites; and nominations for ten trails are pending for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places.

List of Classified Structures (LCS) 874 listings

LCS is inclusive of the National Historic Landmark and National Register programs currently being reviewed.

Shrine of the Ages

The Shrine of the Ages (1970)

is one of the many historic buildings at Grand Canyon with an intriguing history.

This multi-purpose building was originally planned as an interdenominational chapel sitting on the edge of the canyon itself.More...


Last updated: July 22, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 129
Grand Canyon, AZ 86023


(928) 638-7888

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