If you enjoy hard-to-find and collectible Grand Canyon books, there is no better place than Five Quail Books! Owners Dan and Diane Cassidy are wonderful folks whose passion and love for the canyon shines in everything they do.
Over the Edge: Death in Grand Canyon
Thomas M. Myers and Michael P. Ghiglieri
Over the Edge is very well written and easy to read. It has taken a grisly subject and turned it into a practical reference for those planning their trips to the Canyon, with even a touch of humor and hope to lighten the mood. Updated often, every known death from the 1800s up to the present is included in the volume. It’s also an excellent reference for what to do and not to do to keep yourself out of trouble in the Grand Canyon!
Grand Canyon’s Phantom Ranch [Images of America Series]
Robert W. Audretsch
Just published, this incredible book has some of the most fascinating history and accompanying photographs of Phantom Ranch and the surrounding area that I have ever seen! And that is saying something since I have delved deeply into the archives of the park’s museum collection in my own research. But this is not just a photo album of primarily historic images, the writing is excellent and engaging and full of information sure to delight the most knowledgeable Grand Canyon aficionado. This book belongs on the shelves of all Canyon fanatics!
Dave Rust: A Life in the Canyons
Frederick H. Swanson
I have always wondered about the man who built the tram that crossed the Colorado River before the Black Bridge was built. Dave Rust and Uncle Dee Woolley also constructed the first path down from the North Rim traversing what is now much of the North Kaibab Trail. I had no idea he would be such an amazing person and one that I wish I could have met. It is unfortunate that Dave Rust has been forgotten among all of the other characters of Grand Canyon. He was truly a fascinating man who was touched by wanderlust – something I can intimately identify with. I can sense that he truly loved not only Grand Canyon but all of canyon country which he explored and guided others through. He was intelligent, well-read and passionate and seemed to be a romantic about the beauty in which he lived. Wonderfully written with some great photographs; highly recommended to anyone interested in Grand Canyon’s human history.
Anyone interested in the early days of train travel in the American Southwest will enjoy this book. Fred Harvey was an Englishman who partnered with the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway in building hotels, restaurants, gift shops and newstands along the tracks from Kansas City to the California coast. His establishments were known for fine service (Harvey Girls), reasonable prices, and impeccable lodging and restaurants. Train travelers could count on excellent meals up and down the line.
This book is filled with historic photographs and vintage postcards with background information on each, many of which are now sadly gone. Fortunately for us, Grand Canyon has the largest number of buildings still standing and protected: El Tovar, Hopi House, Lookout Studio, Hermits Rest, Phantom Ranch, Desert View Watchtower, and Bright Angel Lodge.
The only thing that was strange about the book for me was Mr. Melzer’s use of the term “in today’s money” when describing how much each building cost to build in its day and what it would cost now. The book was published in 2008, but he seems to forget that people might pick the book up in 2020!
Grand Canyon Women: Lives Shaped by Landscape
Betty has been an avid hiker and backpacker at Grand Canyon and throughout Arizona for many years. The author of several wonderful hiking guides, Betty has taken her expertise at research and written this wonderful book on women whose lives have been greatly impacted by this geologic wonder.
Beginning with Ada Diefendorf Bass (1867-1951), a young woman from New York who took a tour from William Wallace Bass in 1894 and fell in love with her guide. She married W.W. Bass and raised the first family at the Canyon.
Then there is Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter, the architect born in 1869, responsible for designing the Hopi House, the Desert View Watchtower, and Phantom Ranch, among other fascinating and beautiful buildings at the Canyon.
Betty introduces you to sixteen other women, including Harvey girls, wranglers, boatmen, and hikers and tells of the impact the Canyon has had on their lives.
Be sure to check out Betty Leavengood’s Grand Canyon Women web site to see a synopsis of the book, as well as updates and trail journals.
People either loved her or hated her. Georgie White was a wild woman with a past. Always independent and always a bit crazy, it wasn’t until she lost her teenage daughter while they were out riding bikes together that she just decided to let it all go. It seemed nothing was sacred or too frightening to try from that point on. After some incredible escapades, Georgie is credited with bringing river running to the masses with her huge “baloney” boats—military surplus rubber rafts that could be strapped together for safety and run over Grand Canyon’s previously “un-runnable” rapids.
Here is one of my favorite subjects at the Canyon, and no one tells it like Grand Canyon Park Historian Mike Anderson. Mike begins with the early occupation of the region by Native Americans, and continues through to present, with most of the emphasis from the time of John Wesley Powell’s fateful voyage in 1869 through the late 1930s. Think you’ve been on some rough trails before? Check out page 79 to see a 1913 photograph of someone on the Hummingbird Trail. If you enjoy historic maps and photographs, this book will be an exciting book for your library!
Mary Colter: Builder Upon the Red Earth
Virginia L. Grattan
Anyone who has seen Phantom Ranch, Hopi House, Lookout Studio, Hermit’s Rest, or Bright Angel Lodge, has seen this remarkable woman’s architecture. Born in 1869, Mary Colter made her mark, not just here at Grand Canyon, but upon architecture throughout western national parks and resort areas. Her first job was in 1901 with the interior design of the Indian Building of the new Alvarado Hotel in Albuquerque, N.M. Her career in architecture and interior design with Fred Harvey lasted until 1948, when she was seventy-nine years old! I can’t even imagine Grand Canyon with other buildings; Colter’s fit so perfectly into their surroundings!
Mary Colter: Architect of the Southwest
The newest and most comprehensive book on Mary Colter! This excellent history of my favorite architect of all time includes exquisite historic and current photographs of all of Ms. Colter’s buildings, as well as many of her interior designs. Not only does the book provide a fascinating history of the woman and her work, but it does so in such a beautiful way that this book can qualify as a coffee table book to treasure for years. Highly recommended!
The Harvey Girls: Women Who Opened the West
For those of you who have visited the Grand Canyon, I’m sure you’ve noticed the name Fred Harvey around the park. While that name slowly fades into the sunset, the impact that this Englishman had on the early days of train travel, and indeed the population of the west, was incredible. He was known as the Civilizer of the West, because of his role in bringing women to the Wild West. A fascinating story of these adventurous women who left home and family to live an exciting life full of opportunities and freedom not available to them in the east. Included are some wonderful interviews and photographs of past Harvey Girls.
In the House of Stone and Light: A Human History of Grand Canyon
J. Donald Hughes
Although this book is out of print, it is still an excellent choice for those who are truly interested in Grand Canyon’s history. You can often find used copies through Amazon and other booksellers. NOTE: Good news. At the 2012 Grand Canyon History Symposium, Mr. Hughes was one of the speakers and said that he was updating this book and would be coming out with a new edition soon!
Beginning with the early Native Americans and continuing through to the mid-1970s, In the House of Stone and Light is a wonderful overview of the human history of the Grand Canyon region. As a naturalist ranger at Grand Canyon, this was my “bible” for the information used in my evening programs! Easy to read and filled with many historic photographs, this is one of my favorite books. You’ll learn about John Wesley Powell’s famous river trip of 1869 and the many obstacles they had to deal with. You’ll meet presidents, prospectors, entrepreneurs, and pioneers, all of whom left their mark on the region, and how the park evolved to what we know as Grand Canyon National Park today.
A Grand Canyon classic! Colin Fletcher is famous in the ranks of Grand Canyon backpackers and hikers who have praised and curse their way over the trails in this rugged country. He was the first man to walk the entire distance of the Grand Canyon. It takes hiking the Canyon to truly appreciate the difficulty of the two-month trek that Colin Fletcher took in 1967. At the time, Grand Canyon did not encompass the entire distance it does today, but that does not take away the incredible accomplishment this trip represents. An enjoyable book for those who have hiked the Canyon and perhaps even dreamed of doing something similar.