Mary Colter was the chief architect and decorator for the Fred Harvey Company from 1902 to 1948. Her creative free-form buildings at Grand Canyon took direct inspiration from the landscape and served as part of the basis of the developing artistic aesthetic for appropriate development in areas that became national parks. To protect Mary Colter's work, four of her buildings at Grand Canyon (Hopi House, Lookout Studio, Hermit's Rest, and Desert View Watchtower) were declared National Historic Landmarks in 1987.
Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter
Mary Colter was born in Pittsburgh in 1869 and grew up in Texas, Colorado, and St. Paul, Minnesota. While attending the California School of Design in San Francisco she apprenticed in an architect's office and then went into teaching back in St. Paul.
Explore A Park Map
Explore all of Mary Colter's buildings on the interactive map below. To learn more information about a site click on the images below the map or a number on the map. Zoom in to see a site or area more clearly.
Hermit's Rest History
Hermit's Rest provided a place for visitors to rest when traveling on the Fred Harvey Company’s sightseeing tours.
Lookout Studio History
Inspired by the natural landscape around her, Mary Colter modeled this building after southwestern Native American architectural styles.
Bright Angel Lodge History
The Fred Harvey Company built the Bright Angel Lodge on the former site of the Bright Angel Hotel and Camp established by James Thurber.
Hopi House History
The Hopi House pays tribute to the Hopi and their ancestors that have inhabited the Grand Canyon for centuries.
Phantom Ranch History
Only accessible by mule, by foot, or by rafting the Colorado River, Phantom Ranch is the only lodging facility below the canyon rim.
Desert View Watchtower History
Modeled after Ancestral Puebloan dwellings found at Hovenweep and Mesa Verde, the Desert View Watchtower opened in 1932.
Last updated: September 20, 2019