Kolb Studio (1905)
This restored building was a family home and photography studio.
At First GlanceKolb Studio appears to be just an old house perched on the rim of the canyon.
However, if you step inside, or see it from Bright Angel Trail on your hike out of the canyon, you get the sense it is much more than that.
It’s not an exaggeration to claim that photographers Emery and Ellsworth Kolb helped turn the Grand Canyon into a national icon. They were responsible for building Kolb Studio, one of the earliest tourist destinations on the South Rim. These two made their way west to the Grand Canyon in search of a new lifestyle more exciting than the steel mills of western Pennsylvania.
In 1901, Ellsworth Kolb came to the Grand Canyon. He found the canyon so captivating, that he begged his younger brother Emery to come join him out west. Emery arrived a year later. From here, the brothers started their photography business for tourists on the South Rim.
The brothers began to take photographs of the mule riders from the small toll shack on the Bright Angel Trail. The toll shack would later become a five story photo studio built right on the edge of the canyon! The studio was used to document the trips of visitors and create imagery of the Grand Canyon for the next 75 years.
The Kolb brothers did a lot of exploring in the Grand Canyon; but their adventures didn’t stop at still photography. In 1911, the brothers decided to venture down the Colorado River from start to finish. What made their trip special was the 50lb hand crank motion picture camera.
The footage from their wild ride was turned into the historic film-”Shooting the Rapids of the Colorado River Canyons”. From downstairs in the auditorium of Kolb Studio, this film was shown every day until 1976 when Emery Kolb passed away.
Today, the film is no longer played however, visitors can still enjoy Kolb Studio by touring the gallery that now resides inside the auditorium room. The gallery continues to honor the Kolb Legacy by contributing to the cultural benefit of the community and canyon visitors for years to come!
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Photographers Emery and Ellsworth Kolb helped turn the Grand Canyon into a national icon. They built Kolb Studio, one of the earliest tourist destinations on the South Rim. The brothers began to take photographs of the mule riders from a small toll shack on the Bright Angel Trail. The toll shack would later become today's five story home, theater and photo studio built right on the edge of the canyon! The studio was used to document the trips of visitors and create imagery of Grand Canyon for 75 years.
Live View From Kolb Studio
In this north-facing view, the Battleship is in the center, and Havasupai Gardens (formerly known as Indian Garden) is visible - lower right, 3000 feet (915 m) below. Kolb Studio was the family home and photography studio of the Kolb Brothers, pioneer photographers at Grand Canyon. Verify that the time and date of the picture is current (upper left in image) Camera is hosted by Grand Canyon Conservancy. The image updates every minute.View Webcam
Kolb Studio Exhibits
Amazing Kolb Brothers Exhibit
A Grand Life at Grand Canyon
January 25 through September 6, 2023
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More About Kolb Studio
A home, business, tollgate, and photography studio, this historic building has been rebuilt and reimagined many times in its tenure on the rim of Grand Canyon. From humble beginnings, Kolb Studio grew and changed with the family who called it home to become the multi-storied structure you see today.
More About the Kolb BrothersIn 1901, Ellsworth Kolb arrived at the rim of Grand Canyon by train. By October 1902, he had persuaded his brother Emery to join him. A year later, the brothers established their photography business near Bright Angel Trailhead after receiving permission from Ralph Cameron, who at the time owned Bright Angel Trail. They camped out in a small tent on the canyon rim before building a small wooden house in 1906, which they called Kolb Studio.
Over the next 12 years, the Kolb brothers established themselves as both photographers and adventurers. From capturing unorthodox photos of hard-to-reach areas of the canyon to documenting their 101 days running the Colorado River on film with a motion-picture camera, Ellsworth and Emery revealed images that few had dreamed of. Selling their images in leather-bound books for three dollars each and touring the country to present their film lecture series, the Kolb brothers made a name for themselves and opened the eyes of a nation to this wonder of the world.
For decades, the Kolb brothers continued to make a living out of Kolb Studio on Grand Canyon’s South Rim. Later in life, when their contractual agreements with the park ended, the National Park Service actually wanted to demolish this studio in the 1960s. The architecture wasn't quite in line with the style and theme of other buildings in the park. After several years of quibbling between Emery and the agency, the structure was saved when Congress passed the National Historic Preservation Act in 1966, legislation that effectively protected park structures over 50 years old from being destroyed.
Continue reading Kolb Brothers, Conflict on the Canyon Rim ,
2023 Grand Canyon Celebration of Art
Hosted each year by Grand Canyon Conservancy, the Grand Canyon Celebration of Art is an annual event that includes 6 days of art related events followed by a 4 month long exhibition in Kolb Studio on the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. The 2023 events will take place September 8, 2023, through January 15, 2024.
Fourteenth Annual Event in the park and online.
Last updated: March 5, 2023