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Arizona Centennial Minute: The Grand Canyon

800px-Grand_Canyon_NP-Arizona-USA.jpg
Tobias Alt
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Sunset at Grand Canyon (Arizona, USA) seen from Yavapai Point

The Grand Canyon has always been Arizona’s wonder of the world.

We don’t know who first saw it…

We do know people lived within its walls 10 thousand years ago…

And left salt caves and split twig figures.

One explorer, Joseph Christmas Ives, in 1858…didn’t see the Canyon’s beauty. He said: "Ours has been the first, and will doubtless be the last, party of whites to visit this profitless locality.”

But a one-armed Civil War hero, Major John Wesley Powell, saw it differently from the kitchen chair he lashed to the top of a rowboat…

Powell described exploring the unknown Colorado River in 1869 with nine men. Some of his men feared the river would disappear underground and left the expedition at what Powell would name Separation Canyon. They were thought killed by Paiute Indians. His journals of boats smashed in rapids as they explored the uncharted waters, and also sites of incomparable beauty…fired the country’s imagination.

By the time it became a national park in 1919, virtually everyone approved …

Today almost 5 million people a year gaze in wonder at what Major Powell saw.

But it wasn’t till last year we finally, officially became the Grand Canyon State.

 

Fred DuVal is a long-time Arizona civic leader and businessman, who began his career under Arizona Governor Bruce Babbitt. DuVal was captivated by Babbitt’s knowledge of Arizona and his peculiar habit of stopping in old cemeteries as they traveled the state, which deepened his interest in state history. DuVal has served in a number of public leadership roles including Deputy Director of Intergovernmental Affairs under the Clinton Administration, as commissioner on the Arizona Commerce and Economic Development Commission, and as chairman of the Arizona Board of Regents responsible for guiding the growth of Arizona's three public universities. He co-authored the book Calling Arizona Home, with Lisa Schnebly Heidinger in 2005. The book describes who we are as Arizonans and the common threads that unite us across all parts of the state and all walks of life.
Lisa Schnebly Heidinger is a former journalist who authored her first book in 1995. Lisa became smitten with Arizona pioneers and history after hearing as a small child that the town of Sedona was named after her great-grandmother Sedona Schnebly. She began writing journals as a child, and moved from personal writing to newspaper reporting as a raw recruit at the Green Valley News in 1979. After four years, she broke into broadcast journalism, working seven days a week at KCEE radio while working weekends on KGUN-TV in Tucson. She opened the Northern Arizona bureau for KTVK-TV in 1989 and later moved to Phoenix. Today, she is an avid author, regular volunteer, and enjoys substitute teaching and traveling. In addition to "Calling Arizona Home," she is the author of the state's official Centennial commemorative book, "Arizona: 110 Years Grand."