Verkamp's Visitor Center

Footpath leading to front entrance of two-story Craftsman style building with with 5 arches.
Verkamp's Visitor Center at twilight

NPS/M.Quinn

A curio shop and family home for more than a century, Verkamp's Visitor Center is a short walk just east of El Tovar Hotel and Hopi House.
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Open daily
8 am – 7 pm (March 3 through May 18)
8 am – 8 pm (May 19 through Sept. 7)
8 am – 7 pm (Sept. 8 through Nov. 30)
8 am – 6 pm (Dec. 1 through March 1)
Visitor Center Features:
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  • Information Desk
  • Bookstore and Museum Shop
  • Exhibits Grand Canyon Community and Pioneer History
 
Visitors talking to park ranger at Verkamp's Visitor Center
Staff on hand to answer your questions

Information Desk

National Park Service rangers and Grand Canyon Conservancy staff will answer any questions you may have. Daily ranger-led history walks also start here.

Parking in the nearby lot may be limited during busy periods, which include spring break, summer and fall months. Ride the free Village Route shuttle to the Train Depot/ El Tovar Hotel stop, then climb the stairway to the top of the hill. Here you will find El Tovar Hotel, Hopi House, and Verkamps Visitor Center
 
Exhibits at Verkamp's Visitor Center
The history timeline through the exhibits.

Exhibit Area

Exhibits focus on the Grand Canyon Community; what it was like to live and work here on the brink of one of the seven natural wonders of the world.

A walking history timeline on the floor leads visitors through the exhibits on a tour of the important moments in local, national and international history.

 

 
JOHN GEORGE VERKAMP STANDING BY  HIS TENT/CURIO STORE. 1897
John G. Verkamp by his 1898 tent store.
Verkamp Family History

John Verkamp headed to the developing South Rim in 1898. He set up a tent and sold souvenirs to the few people who made the long stagecoach trip to the rim. Not happy with the volume of business, at the end of the summer he sold his inventory to one of the hotel operators and went back to Flagstaff.

Development of the South Rim boomed with the completion of the railroad spur in 1901. Verkamp returned to the South Rim in 1905 and constructed the current building with supplies shipped in from Los Angeles. He opened his business early in 1906.

 

January 31, 1906 $4.98 A good day.

So recorded John Verkamp in the ledger for his first day of business in the new store on the South Rim of Grand Canyon. After such a promising start, Verkamp's Curios would continue operations for more than a century.

 
John G. Verkamp
John G. Verkamp (circa 1941)
Service First

The Verkamps built their business on service to their guests, service to their employees, and service to their community.

The Verkamps bought from some of the same Native American artisans for 25 to 50 years. All employees received training to explain the history and meaning of sales items, believing that an informed guest was a pleased buyer.

For decades the Verkamp family was involved in the South Rim community They were instrumental in developing the Grand Canyon School and continued to offer their committed support.

The Shrine of the Ages and community library also received assistance from the family. A Verkamp was a charter member of the Grand Canyon Rotary Club. The Boy Scouts received much support from the family.
 

For decades the Verkamp family operated the Verkamp's store as a concession permitted by the National Park Service. When their contract last came up for renewal, the Verkamps chose not to compete for a new one. The National Park Service purchased the building and opened it in November 2008 as a visitor center and Grand Canyon Association bookstore.

Return to the Visitor and Information Centers page.

 

Open Transcript

Transcript

Two girls in dresses pose and smile in front of Grand Canyon.

A girl rides on the back of a burro.

Offscreen, a man leads the burro away.

A group of several children spin around on playground equipment.

A young child in a cowboy hat rides a toy horse across a parking lot.

A girl dives into a pool at Grand Canyon's rim.

A small boy trecks through knee-deep snow.

A man shovels snow.

A couple of boys throw snowballs from a snow fort.

Football players in jersey pass the ball while playing on a dirt field.

The football player is tackled as a refaree approaches.

A marching band in red uniforms moves forward.

Two girls in dresses and three boys walk in front of Grand Canyon.

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Duration:
59 seconds

A few scenes from the Verkamp family's home movies that are shown continuously in the Grand Canyon Community Exhibit in Verkamps' Visitor Center.

Last updated: March 9, 2019

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 129
Grand Canyon, AZ 86023

Phone:

928-638-7888

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