Glen Canyon died in 1963. However, it lives on in the hearts and memories of those who knew her and in the magnificent collection of photographs preserved in the Special Collections Department of the Cline Library. It is our pleasure to be able to share some of these photographs with you. We have arranged these photographs in order (mostly!) just as if you were traveling downstream through the canyon from the Dirty Devil River through to Lees Ferry. To follow this sequence, simply continue through the exhibit from this point counterclockwise until you arrive at the last photograph directly behind you. Interspersed with these photographs are some interpretive notes to assist with the historical and archaeological context of the display.
A note on the mileages
All mileages along the Colorado River are measured from Lees Ferry, Arizona, which is designated as Mile 0. Hence, the river mile given with each of the photographs in our exhibit is the distance from that point to Lees Ferry. You will note, therefore, that as you move through the exhibit, in order, the mileages decrease. This is because as one moves downstream each subsequent photograph is getting closer and closer to Lees Ferry.
On the walls, and back many miles into the country, numbers of monument-shaped buttes are observed. So we have a curious ensemble of wonderful features–carved walls, royal arches, glens, alcove gulches, mounds and monuments. From which of these feature shall we select a name?
We decide to call it Glen Canyon.
John Wesley Powell, August 3, 1869
When your spirit cries for peace,
Come to a world of canyons
Deep in an old land;
Feel the exaltation of high plateaus,
The strength of moving waters,
The simplicity of sand and grass,
And the silence of growth.
August Frugé, 1977
The Story of Hite
Cas Hite arrived in Glen Canyon in the fall of 1883. He soon found a good ford, a place he named Dandy Crossing (‘cause it was a dandy place to cross the river). Cas was looking for gold, and he found some in the gravel at the mouth of Trachyte Creek just downstream from his crossing. When word of his discovery got out, gold seekers descended upon the canyon. As the only convenient place to access the river in the 280 miles between Moab, Utah and Lees Ferry, Arizona, these miners naturally congregated at Dandy Crossing. It wasn’t long before a little village grew up near Cas’ prospect, and soon this village boasted a general store and even a post office. The village came to be called Hite, after Cas’ brother, John, who was the first postmaster.
Later on Cas moved his prospect downstream to the mouth of Ticaboo Creek, where he built himself a homestead with a garden and orchard. Cas Hite died on February 15, 1914 and was buried on his Ticaboo property.
In 1944 the state of Utah bulldozed a road between Blanding, Utah to the river at Dandy Crossing. Unfortunately, there was no bridge to cross the river. Art Chaffin bought out the Hite properties, and in 1946 he established a ferry. This ferry was operated with the engine of a Model A 1928 Ford with a few modifications. It provided enough power to haul up to 18 tons of vehicles and material across the river in both directions. As the waters of Lake Powell flooded the river and the crossing, the ferry was abandoned. It made its last crossing on June 5, 1964. It is worth noting that it took three magnificent (and very expensive!) bridges to replace Art Chaffin’s simple and elegant operation.
Born in 1869, Bert ran his first river in 1908. He was a member of the 1921 United States Geological Survey party, which mapped the San Juan and Colorado Rivers from Bluff, Utah to Lees Ferry, Arizona. He soon became a fixture among those who ran the river through Grand Canyon. Loper was involved with farming, prospecting, river running, and exploring. Often referred to as the “Grand Old Man of the Colorado,” Loper leased A.P. Adams’ gold claim and property, and moved into the stone cabin at the mouth of Red Canyon on the Colorado River. He called his home The Hermitage and lived there until his death. Bert died on July 8, 1949 while running 24 ½ mile rapid in Marble Gorge.
Glen Canyon Tapestries
The photographs in this exhibit reveal many “tapestries” in Glen Canyon. This particular tapestry is more extensive than most, and, hence, earned its name as Tapestry Wall.
The streaks on the canyon walls are caused by rain water falling on the plateaus and canyon rims and then trickling down the face of the rock. The drainage patterns direct the water into tiny rivulets, which dribble over the edge of the canyon in a predictable pattern. The water carries a variety of minerals gathered from the rock over which it flows. When a particular storm ends and the water stops flowing, the minerals from the water remain on the canyon wall. The effects of sunlight and heat cause these minerals to oxidize. This process results in a variety of colors, depending upon the mineral; hence, the wide variety of patinas seen in various parts of the tapestry.