on our way back from the Tusayan ruins (about which more to come), I took driver’s prerogative and stopped at several vistas to snap pictures and admire the Canyon. one of those locations was the site of the former Grandview Hotel, one of the first lodging options for tourists at the Grand Canyon.
in 1886, a rancher named John Hance opened his land up to visitors. thought to be one of the first non-Native American residents of the Grand Canyon area, after failing as an asbestos miner, Hance developed trails and took groups of visitors down into the Canyon. he sold his ranch to a couple of miners working around the point in 1895 to focus on guiding and serving as postmaster. he died the year the site became a National Park and was the first man buried in the Grand Canyon Pioneer Cemetery.
while successfully extracting copper, gold and silver, from claims just below Grandview Point, miners Ralph Cameron and Pete Berry improved the hiking trail into the Canyon by partially following an existing Native American path and employing mules to transport goods and people along the route. Cameron and Berry capitalized on the growth in tourism, developing services for visitors including a lodging at both Grandview Point and farther along the rim near what is now the Bright Angel Trailhead.
between 1892 and 1897, Berry and his wife, Martha, put his share of the mine profits into a rambling, rustic lodge they named the Grandview Hotel. they aimed for an “authentic” Southwest quality, using Ponderosa pine for construction and featuring Native American crafts throughout the lodge. when the Santa Fe Railroad completed a line to Williams in 1901, the Berrys offered free stage transportation to their hotel to encourage visitors. they sold the Grandview property the following year, however, to a mining company from Chicago and set up a new hotel on their homestead property nearby.
competition heated up in 1905 when the Santa Fe Railroad built the extravagant El Tovar Hotel across from their new depot (and which still stands today at the heart of Grand Canyon Village). the Berrys struggled, eventually dividing and selling their property in an effort to foster a community to rival the growing Grand Canyon Village. the venture failed but when Santa Fe offered to buy their property, the Berrys refused, opting instead to sell to William Randolph Hearst in 1913 pleased with the idea that a wealthy man had thwarted the corporation that put them out of business. Hearst closed the hotels, however, maintaining the properties as a family retreat in the short term; the Berrys served as caretakers for the property until their retirement in 1919. when Martha and Pete died, in 1931 and 1932 respectively, they were buried in the Grand Canyon cemetery along with John Hance.
despite leaving the Grandview and Berry properties as family retreats, Hearst did harbor aspirations of developing a grand tourist resort on the land, which the budding National Parks Service, which assumed supervision of the Park in 1919, found troubling (I wonder how much the railroad lobby had to do with that …). the Parks Service successfully concentrated tourist services management under the aegis of a single concessionaire — the company responsible for the Santa Fe-owned hotels. after this, while Hearst retained ownership of his property, he let the buildings fall into disrepair before finally dismantling the Grandview and selling some of the beams. in 1941, the Parks Service gained control of the Hearst property through condemnation; he did not take lightly to this challenge and waged a typically searing (though ultimately unsuccessful) campaign against the government in the press. the Parks Service finally dismantled the Summit Hotel in 1959, though some of the mining structures left from the Hearst property remain as historical artifacts on Horseshoe Mesa.