Competition for Grand Canyon tourists dollars was stiff. When the thriving Fred Harvey company arrived at the Grand Canyon, in 1904, they did so in cooperation with the Santa Fe Railway. After the Grand Canyon was established as a national park in 1919, the Park Service awarded Harvey the primary concessioner contract, which dealt another blow to the Basses. In 1923, William Wallace Bass entertained his last Grand Canyon guest and moved permanently to Wickenburg, Arizona, a community he and his family had frequented for a number of years.
Bill Bass, in the waning years of his parents' business, worked as a tour guide and driver for Fred Harvey, from 1917 to 1926. He then moved to Wickenburg, in part to care for his aging father and mother. Following in their footsteps, Bill turned to the tourist trade for a living. The businesses he operated and/or established included a camp ground, service stations, El Recreo/Bass Pavilion swimming pool, skating rink, and dance hall, a jeep touring service, Vista del Pueblo subdivision, and, dearest to his heart, La Siesta Motel. In his Cliff Room Auditorium at La Siesta, Bill showcased his photographic and entertainment skills with slide programs on topics ranging from the Grand Canyon to desert wildflowers. La Siesta was advertised as a "photographer's hangout," and succeeded in attracting other shutterbugs. A number of Bill's photographs were published in Arizona Highways among other periodicals. In addition, Bill was an active member of various service organizations, including the Rotary Club and Gold Shirt Gang, the latter unique to Wickenburg.
In 1939, Bill married Rae Owens, with whom he had a daughter, Betty. The marriage was short lived, however, lasting less than two years. On August 2, 1941, Bill married Lenore Krummel, who became his life-long partner. The couple had one son, named after his father. Lenore, following her husband's death in February of 1981, continues to entertain Wickenburg residents and visitors with Bill's lively slide shows, featuring audio recordings of his voice.
Special Collections and Archives Department
Northern Arizona University
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