Shrine of the Ages is a multi-purpose building used by the National Park Service, Grand Canyon Association, and others. It is also used to conduct religious services and may be rented for private functions, including wedding ceremonies, by obtaining a park Special Use Permit. More about Special Use Permits.
Ranger Programs and Special Activities
Special activities are also held in the Shrine. Events may include lectures, concerts, and demonstrations by visiting scientists, artists, and musicians. Programs are open to the community and the general public.
The free Village Route Shuttle (blue line on map below) has both a westbound and eastbound stop in front of the Shrine of the Ages. It can be accessed by private vehicle using Parking Lot A. It is within walking distance of Market Plaza, Mather Campground, Trailer Village, and Yavapai Lodge .
History of Shrine of the Ages
Harold E. Wagoner, a member of the board of directors of the Church Architectural Guild of America, was selected as architect. Working within park service guidelines to respect the natural environment and Native American culture, he designed a structure that reflected the architectural style of a kiva, a place of worship used by Native Americans in the Southwest.
Even as fund-raising efforts reached around the world, questions about whether the rim was an appropriate location for the structure resulted in delays. Some even argued that the building only remotely resembled a kiva, instead looking more like a huge spacecraft perched on the canyon rim.
Donations were never quite enough to realize Wagoner’s plans, so federal funding became involved. The building was ultimately redesigned and relocated away from the edge of the canyon. An appropriate site was chosen next to the existing Grand Canyon Pioneer Cemetery, and the Shrine of the Ages was completed by 1970.
A Special Use Permit is required to use the Building
The Shrine of the Ages sees many activities, including the annual Grand Canyon Music Festival, Celebrate Wildlife Day, and Hiker’s Symposium. The National Park Service uses the building for office space, training, special events, and ranger programs, including the daily Evening Program from October through April. And of course, the building continues to be used for some religious services.
Grand Canyon Pioneer Cemetery
Looking for famous historical figures involved in the development and protection of Grand Canyon? The Grand Canyon Pioneer Cemetery is a great place to explore! John Hance, Ralph Cameron, Pete Berry, Ellsworth Kolb, Gunnar Widforss, and Eddie McKee are just a few folks you might run into at the cemetery.
People interred at the cemetery include Grand Canyon pioneers, war veterans, tribal members, and employees of the concessioners, US Forest Service, and National Park Service. The cemetery, grave markers, and gateway arch are included on the List of Classified Historic Structures in Grand Canyon National Park.
The Grand Canyon Pioneer Cemetery is still an active cemetery, although most of the sites are now full or reserved. Originally, to qualify for burial, an individual must have lived at Grand Canyon for no less than three years or must have made a significant and substantial contribution to the development of, public knowledge about, understanding of or appreciation for Grand Canyon National Park.
For more stories about the Grand Canyon Pioneer Cemetery visit the Arizona State University webpages Nature, Culture, and History at the Grand Canyon: Cemetery.
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Park ranger Patrick Gamman joins ranger Nicole DeLuca for a visit to the final resting place for many of Grand Canyon's earliest pioneers.
Last updated: December 4, 2018