Monday, May 15, 2017

Magical Masterpiece - Desert View Watchtower

Today I (finally) have more photos to share from my recent trip to Arizona/Utah...I don't want to be that annoying person that shares a million photos from a trip that no one has much interest in; therefore, it has taken me some time to decide how much I want to share and the context. I took in an unbelievable amount of artistic beauty...and this location definitely deserves an entire post of it's own - the Desert View Watchtower, located on the South Rim near the eastern edge of Grand Canyon. These are, in my opinion, extremely inspiring images...and while I tried to capture the incredible details and artistry with my camera lens, these photos don't even begin to give this stunning stone tower justice.

First a little about the architect, artists, and history of this grand landmark...

The Desert View Watchtower was designed by Mary Colter (if you don't know who she is, Google her!), a prolific American interior designer and architect...and if you've been to the Grand Canyon, chances are, you have seen her breathtaking designs (Hopi House, Hermit's Rest, the Bright Angel Lodge complex, Phantom Ranch buildings, and Lookout Studio, to name a few...and yes, she decorated the famous El Tovar Hotel). To me, her style was admirable - blending her buildings into their surroundings mixing multiple styles, elements, and materials...she beautifully combined Native American art, Spanish Colonial Style, Mission Revival Style, and Southwestern elements. The more I research her history and her work, the more I am inspired...she has given me a new found love of Native American craftsmanship and motifs.

The historic Watchtower is a four-story, 70-foot stone building completed in 1932. The carefully arranged texture mixture of stones, rock, mortar, and concrete somewhat resembles an over-sized Ancestral Puebloan tower...and it overlooks the south rim of the Grand Canyon with spectacular views of the Colorado River and the Painted Desert. The tower interior is decorated with bold and beautiful murals painted by Hopi artist Fred Kabotie and detailed petroglyph-style motifs by Fred Greer. I could go on and on (and on and on) about this marvelous structure and the picture perfect details inside and out (like the vast array of irregular window sizes - bringing in the optimum amount of light and providing amazing views...and the fireplace that left me speechless) but there is plenty of written information, if you wish to study it further. For now, I will share a selection of my favorite photos...and just maybe, you will find them as magical as I do...

Just a note...
Long time readers of my blog may remember a post I did back on August 31, 2014 when my husband I visited the Grand Canyon and the Desert View Watchtower...back then, the tower housed a large retail shop and it was like a tourist market inside (very crowded and uncomfortable and you couldn't see any of the brilliant wall murals). In 2015, the National Park Service took over the tower and has worked hard to restore the structure to Mary Colter's vision, removing the commercial marketplace. On this visit, we arrived shortly after 8:00 AM when the entrance opens and before the crowds arrived, giving me the prime opportunity take photos and admire the magnificence.

Finally, for those who have 10 minutes and would like to learn more about Mary Colter and the Desert View Watchtower, here is an excellent video from the National Park Service...
If you can't see the video here, visit this link:


  1. I am sitting here in awe of the beauty and artistry that you captured through your camera's lens, Belinda. What an incredible structure!

  2. The Watchtower is amazing!
    What great artwork and architecture.
    I'm glad they restored it.
    Thanks for sharing the beautiful pics.

  3. I visited the Watchtower many years ago when it was a marketplace and really didn't appreciate the artwork on the walls. Thank you so much for capturing the beauty of the artwork. I have always loved the Grand Canyon, there is a vibe about the place that cannot be captured in words, but you came close in your photographs! Thank you so much for sharing!!

  4. Wow so pretty
    I love all your projects so much and your work is always amazing
    Sending you love and smiles x