Bryce Canyon
Historic Resource Study
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1. Institutions

Bryce Canyon, History and Administrative Plans

Information obtained form park files is classified as historical, with the exception of a buildings survey compiled in 1972. The most important collection of documents proved to be the Superintendents' Annual Reports for the years 1929 to 1942 (File 207-03.2). These are invaluable for a detailed understanding of the park's establishment and early operation, The Superintendent's Annual Reports also contain visitation statistics, photographs—and a wealth of information for the road system, rapid construction phase and the Depression-era agencies.

Monthly Narrative Reports (File A2823) for the years 1956 to 1958 contribute data germane to the interrelated themes of Bryce Canyon's movement toward administrative independence from Zion, and the inception of the park's MISSION 66 program. By extension, Monthly Narrative Reports for the early 1960s say much about the recent construction phase. Data peripheral to this issue is also found in File A2827, "other reports." For a time reports were submitted to the Superintendent on a monthly basis by the park's Maintenance Supervisor and Administrative Assistant.

Bryce Canyon's comprehensive and well catalogued photograph collection was canvassed. Many illustrations in the study were taken from it.

Denver Federal Record Center

Accession 66-A-691 contains seminal documents for the history of grazing at Bryce. Superintendent's Monthly Reports for the years 1942 to 1949 (Accession 55-A-269) reveal the character of the war years and the post-war period. The disposition of the park's Civilian Conservation Corps campsite became clear after a perusal of scattered documents in Accessions 52-A-100 and 55-A-177. Both Accessions 66-A-98 and 74-A-16 yielded fragmentary but useful information for a better understanding of the MISSION 66 program.

Denver Public Library, Western History Collection

A near-complete set of The Railroad Red Book, sponsored by the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad, is found in the collection—as well as early Bryce Canyon brochures, distributed by the Union Pacific's Publicity Department. The earliest of these dates back to 1925 and includes a map of the region's road system.

National Archives, Washington, D.C.

Record Group 95 furnished enough data to elucidate the role of the Forest Service at Bryce from 1923-28. Record Group 79 was indispensable for the completion of this study. A detailed legislative summary for the years 1920 to 1942 was a real find. Numerous documents were located for a fuller understanding of; (1) boundary extensions, (2) the character of Bryce Canyon as a national monument, (3) land acquisition, (4) the establishment and early operation of Bryce Canyon, (5) contracts between the Utah Parks Company and the National Park Service, (6) the park's road system, and (7) the rapid construction phase.

Nebraska State Historical Society, Lincoln, Nebraska

A number of photographs were recently donated to the society by the Union Pacific. One set shows Bryce Lodge nearing completion in the spring of 1925. Another contains interior photographs of the lodge, and several dozen snapshots of deluxe cabins under construction at North Rim in the fall of 1927. Photographs from both sets are included in the study.

State Historical Society of Colorado—Denver

Railroad Collection 513 is housed in the Division of Documentary Resources. It contains papers donated to the society by the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad. Boxes 15 (1915-16) through 23 (1930-35) were examined to gauge the role of Marysvale in the regional development of southwestern Utah. Several illustrations in the study were found in this collection.

Union Pacific Archives, Omaha, Nebraska

Boxes 1324 and 3649 contain several hundred Union Pacific Archives documents on microfilm. Intracorporate correspondence pertaining to Utah Parks Project in the early 1920s characterizes the contents of Box 1324. Four topics in the study were derived from this correspondence; (1) the Lund-Cedar City spur, (2) the Cedar City complex, (3) the National Monument period, and (4) Utah Parks Company's initial construction phase at Bryce. Box 3649 contains invaluable documents regarding the incorporation, operation, and liquidation of the Utah Parks Company.

Union Pacific Archives' "Utah Parks Information File" was canvassed for pertinent press releases. A complete set of The Union Pacific Magazine, is also on file.

Utah State Archives, Salt Lake City

Information for Ruby Syrett's Tourists' Rest complex, and a regional road map dated January 1922 are located in the Charles R. Mabey Correspondence, 1920-22 (SE-1.20.4).

Utah State Historical Society, Salt Lake City

Worthwhile finds: (1) the Iron Mission prospectus, and (2) Mark Anderson's papers on microfilm a-622.

Zion History Files

Several documents used in the study are found in the park's library. The most important of these is Horace Albright's memorandum to Mr. Chatelain, dated August 4, 1933. Narrative Reports for Bryce's Civilian Conservation Corps camp—dated 1937-38—are outstanding documents, whose repository is the park's vault.

2. Interviews

All interviews were conducted by the author unless otherwise noted.

Melford Ahlstrom—July 30, 1979

Glen Bean, National Park Service Regional Director, Rocky Mountain Region, with Nick Scrattish and John Albright—August 8, 1979

Dr. Berle Clemenson—September 19, 1979

Mrs. Maurice Cope—August 30, 1979

Agatha May—July 30, 1979

Tom F. Murray—July 12, 1979

Eivind T. Scoyen, with Lucy C. Schiefer—January 28, 1971. Zion History Files

Harmon Shakespeare—July 30, 1979.

3. Newspapers

Los Angeles "Times," September 3, 1922

"Piute County News" (Junction, Utah), June 20, 1947.

Salt Lake "Tribune," August 25, 1918

______, August 12, 1922

______, October 17, 1922

______, July 21, 1927

______, July 29, 1949

______, July 30, 1955

______, December 25, 1969

"The Arizona Republic" (Phoenix), July 12, 1953

"The Deseret News" (Salt Lake City), October 1922.

4. Unpublished Material


Anderson, Mark. "Autobiography," dated September 2, 1946. Uintah National Forest Correspondence. Utah State Historical Society, Salt Lake City, Utah, microfilm a-622.


"Biography of Rueben (Ruby) Carlson Syrett and Clara Armeda (Minnie) Excell Syrett." Bryce Canyon History Files, anonymous. n.d.

Bryce, A. Elnora Family Genealogist. "Biography of Ebenezer Bryce." Assistance of Annie Larson et al. Bryce Canyon History Files. n.d.


Ahlstrom, Ole. "The Early Days of Tropic." n.d. Bryce Canyon History Files.

Allen, Guena. Untitled essay re: the history of Piute County. n.d. May Papers.

Bryant, Wayne. "An Introduction to Bryce Canyon National Park." 1947, Zion History Files.

Cope, Maurice. "Stock Grazing upon our National Parks." March 16, 1936. Zion History Files.

Elder, Irene. "Marysvale history." n.d. May Papers.

Hansen, A. J.. "The Village of Tropic." n.d. Bryce Canyon History Files

"Powell National Forest." Anonymous. n.d. Zion History Files.

Yeager, Dorr O. "Comments on the Impairment of Park Values in Zion National Park." March 23, 1944. Zion History Files.

Family Collections

Maurice Newton Cope Family Papers. 1339 Beldon Place, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Agatha May Papers. Circleville, Utah.


Finch, B. J. Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway Dedication. July 4, 1930. Zion History Files.


Humphrey, J. W. "Notes, Comments, and Letters." Taped September 1959. Bryce Canyon History Files.


1. Articles Pamphlets and Papers

Alter, J. Cecil. "The Temple of the Gods," The Improvement Era Vol. 22, no. 5. March 1919.

Belknap, William, Jr. "Nature Carves Fantasies in Bryce Canyon," National Geographic Magazine, Vol. 114, no. 4. October 1958.

Bolton, H. E. "Pageant in the Wilderness," Utah Historical Quarterly, Vol. 18. 1950.

Borah, L. A. "Utah, carved by winds and waters," National Geographic Magazine, Vol. 69. May 1936.

"Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah." U.S. Department of Interior pamphlet. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1941.

Dawson, Thomas G. "Marysvale, The Potash City," The Railroad Red Book, Vol. 33. January 1918.

"Golden Rail Laying, Cedar City, Utah," The Union Pacific Magazine, Vol. 2. October 1923.

Gregory, Herbert E. "A Geologic and Geographic Sketch of Bryce Canyon National Park," Zion-Bryce Museum Bulletin, No. 4. March 1940.

______, "The Geology and Geography of the Paunsaugunt Region, Utah," Geological Survey Professional Paper 226, Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1951.

Hintze, Lehi F. "Geologic History of Utah," Brigham Young University Geology Studies, Vol. 20, part 3. July 1973.

Howley, Curt B. "Discoverer of Bryce Canyon," The Utah Magazine, Vol. 2, no. 5. 1936.

Jeffers, LeRoy. "The Temple of the Gods in Utah," Scientific American, Vol. 119, no. 14. October 1918.

"New Zion-Mount Cannel Road One of World's Great Highways," The Union Pacific Magazine, Vol. 8. April 1929.

Palmer, William H. "Indian Names in Utah Geography," Utah Historical Quarterly., Vol. 1, no. 1. 1932.

Presnath, Clifford D. "The Legend of Bryce Canyon as Told to the Park Naturalist by Indian Dick," Zion and Bryce Nature Notes, Vol. 8, no. 1. March 1936.

Runte, Alfred. "Pragmatic Alliance. Western Railroads and the National Parks," The Environmental Journal, April 1974.

"The East Rim Road," Zion-Bryce Nature Notes, Vol. 4, no. 1. April 1932.

"Utah Construction Program of U.P. Involves $5,000,000," The Union Pacific Magazine., Vol. 1. November 1922.

"Utah Parks Co.," Motor Coach Age, February 1970.

"Utah's Fabled Color Country," Sunset Magazine, August 1953.

Woodbury, Angus M., "A History of Southern Utah and Its National Parks," Utah Historical Quarterly., Vol. 12, nos. 3 and 4. July-October 1944. Revised and reprinted, 1950.

2. Books, Monographs, and Prospecti

America's Wonderlands. The Scenic National Parks and Monuments of the United States, Washington, D.C.: The National Geographic Society, 1959.

Black, Robert C. Island in the Rockies, Boulder, Colorado: Pruett, 1969.

Bryce Canyon. Based on original of: John Barnett. Adapted by: Don Follows. Bryce Canyon Natural History Association, 1972.

Bryce Canyon National Park Wonderland of the Pink Cliffs, Bryce Canyon Natural History Association. May 1953.

Building the Iron Mission Park. Prospectus. Iron Mission Park Committee, Cedar City, Utah. n.d.

Buss, Walter R. Bibliography of Utah Geology (to December 31, 1950), University of Utah Press, August 1951.

Chidester, Ida and Eleanor Bruhn. Golden Nuggets of Pioneer Days A History of Garfield County., Garfield County Chapter of the Daughters of Utah Pioneers. 1949.

Congressional Record, April 18, 1924.

Dutton, Clarence H. Geology of the High Plateaus of Utah with Atlas, Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1880.

______, Tertiary History of the Grand Canon District with Atlas Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1882.

______, Encyclopedia of American History, ed. Richard B. Morris. New York: Harper and Row, 1965.

Everhart, William C. The National Park Service, New York Praeger, 1972.

Grater, Russell K. Grater's Guide to Zion Bryce Canyon Cedar Breaks, Portland, Oregon: Binfords and Mort, 1950.

History of legislation relating to the National Park System through the 82nd Congress, Compiled by Edmund B. Rogers. Denver. 1958.

Jeffers, LeRoy. The Call of the Mountains, New York: Dodd, Mead, 1922.

Knowlton, Ezra. History of Highway Development in Utah. Issued by the Utah State Department of Highways. n.d.

McKee, Edwin D. Ancient Landscapes of the Grand Canyon Region - The Geology of Grand Canyon Zion Bryce Petrified Forest and Painted Desert, 10th ed. Atchinson, Kansas: Lockwood Hazel, 1948. First published in 1931.

Matthew, William Henry. A Guide to the National Parks Their Landscape and Geology, Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1973.

MISSION 66 for Bryce Canyon National Park, Prospectus. n.d.

Nickel, Edward A. Report on Public Works Building Program National Park Service Branch of Plans and Design. Western Division 1933 to 1937, San Francisco: Western Division, National Park Service, 1938.

Salmond, John A. The Civilian Conservation Corps 1933-1942. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 1967.

Scoyen, Eivind T. and Frank J. Taylor. The Rainbow Canyons. Foreword by Horace M. Albright. Palo Alto, California: Stanford University Press, 1931.

The Inverted Mountains Canyons of the West, ed. Roderick Peattie. New York: Vanguard, 1948.

Utah. A Guide to the State, Compiled by workers of the Writer's Program of the Works Progress Administration for the State of Utah. American Guide Series. New York: Hastings House, 1941.

Yard, Robert Sterling. The New Zion National Park Its Relation to the Grand Canyon to the brilliantly colored Plateau Country of Southern Utah, Washington, D.C.: The National Park Association, 1919.

3. Plans National Park Service

"Basic Information: The Land." Chapter 1 in the Master Plan, Bryce Canyon. Office of Resource Planning. San Francisco. January 1965.

"Basic Information: The Land." Chapter 1 in the Master Plan, Bryce Canyon. Office of Resource Planning. San Francisco. August 1967.

"Summary of Archeological Resources and Resource Management Needs for Bryce Canyon National Park." Midwest Archeological Center. Lincoln, Nebraska. June 1978.

4. Unpublished Manuscript

Tweed, William C. "Parkitecture: A History of Rustic Design in the National Park System: 1916-1942."

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Last Updated: 25-Aug-2004