TRAVEL // ROAD TRIP: Vintage National Park: Grand Canyon

National parks are the ubiquitous American summer vacation, and we hope that’s a tradition that never changes. In Ken Burns’ documentary The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, the title conveys exactly the point. The national park is truly one of America’s best inventions.

Online archives like LIFE and National Geographic have brilliant troves of vintage national park photos, from WPA-era posters to some of the first shots captured in these parks. We’re fascinated with these glimpses into great big swaths of our country allowed to go (relatively) untamed. The grandeur and history of some of these parks have been a huge inspiration for Son of a Sailor’s LAND collection.

Now that summer wanderlust is kicking in, we’re doing a series on some of our favorite national park photos, ranging from the more kitschy to the more historical. First up, the Grand Canyon!

The Grand Canyon area became a national park in 1919 after Woodrow Wilson signed into law an Act of Congress. Where did the self-evident name come from? One-armed war veteran John Wesley Powell, who charted the Colorado River’s course in 1891 and 1892 in a wooden boat.

Parking at the Grande Canyon, 1914
Theodore Roosevelt said it best when declaring the Grand Canyon area a monument in 1908: “Let this great wonder of nature remain as it now is. You cannot improve on it. But what you can do is keep it for your children, your children’s children, and all who come after you.” (via LIFE)

Kitschy finds:
Alternate Histories // Extraterrestrial tourism in the Grand Canyon
Ebay // Flintstones at the Grand Canyon patch

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