-Arizona Centennial
5:00 am
Tue February 14, 2012

Arizona Centennial Minute: The Grand Canyon

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.