Posts Tagged ‘Grand Canyon’

Grand Canyon Skywalk

May 16, 2011

Walk where eagles dare to fly. Carved by the Colorado River more than million years ago, the Grand Canyon captures the hearts of visitors with its magnificent splendor. Located at the canyon’s west rim, the Grand Canyon Skywalk allows visitors to “Walk the Sky” on its unique glass bottomed observation deck that spans 70 feet (21.34 M) over the canyon’s rim and sits 4,000 feet (1,219 M) above the Colorado River. A construction masterpiece, the glass deck, which is the only element that
separates visitors from the canyon floor, weighs 1.2 million pounds. Completed in 2007, the Skywalk is located on the Hualapai Indian Reservation in northwest Arizona.  David Jin envisioned the idea of extending a glass bottom observation deck directly over the edge of the Grand Canyon, and presented his idea to the Hualapai Tribe. As a result, the Skywalk was developed and allows for a bird’s eye view of the tribe’s sacred canyon formation known as Eagle Point or Sa nyu wa, which means “eagle” in the Hualapai language. The bridge deck, constructed with diamant low-iron glass and structural  nterlayer glass consisting of six layers, is ten feet-two inches (3.11 M) wide. Bridge glass railings were made with the same glass as the deck but with three layers bent to follow the walkway’s curvature. The glass railings are five feet-two inches (1.58 M) tall and have been designed for high wind pressures. The bridge was assembled on top of the canyon wall in line with its final placement. The Skywalk bridge deck was designed for a one hundred pound per  square foot live load along with code required seismic and wind forces. Design aspects included wind loading and pedestrian induced vibration analysis. Two tuned mass dampers inside the outer box beam as well as one inside the inner box beam at the furthest extension of the bridge were installed to reduce vibration induced by pedestrian footfall. The bridge weighs a little more than one million pounds (454,545 kg) without counterweights but including the tuned mass dampers, railing hardware, glass rails, glass deck and steel box beams. The walkway can carry 822 people that weigh two hundred pounds (91 kg), but maximum allowed occupancy at one time is 120 people. Skywalk engineer, Kenneth Karren discussed Skywalk glass with St. Gobain (Germany), who claimed that it could stop a bullet. Karren requested a sample of the glass be sent to Las Vegas for him to test. St. Gobain obliged, and Karren took the glass into the desert outside Las Vegas and shot the glass with his rifle from one hundred yards. The glass stopped the bullet and the overall structure of the glass remained intact.  Adjacent to the Skywalk, the Hualapai Tribe provides tribal song and dance performances in an outdoor amphitheater, as well as handcrafted arts and jewelry. Visitors can dine at the Skywalk café. Future plans for the Grand Canyon Skywalk complex include a museum, theater, VIP lounge, gift shop, and a restaurant where visitors will be able to dine outdoors at the canyon’s rim.

Grand Canyon Skywalk Mailing Address Administrative Offices 5985 W. Wigwam Ave Las Vegas, NV 89139

Tel: 702-220-8372 Fax 702- 220-8517 Web site: www.grandcanyonskywalk.com

Valle of the Planes

April 5, 2011

The Valle of the Planes is located near the Grand Canyon in Arizona at Grand Canyon-Valle Airport, an old Trans World Airlines (TWA ) base and the former  Grand Canyon Airport. The museum houses a collection of more than twenty rare aircraft in one hangar and an outdoor park. The pride of the collection is a Lockheed C-121A, the military version of the famous Constellation airliner of the forties and fifties. This aircraft, built in 1949, has a distinguished history, starting with service during the Berlin Airlift in 1949-50.

            Following the end of the airlift, the aircraft was fitted with a deluxe interior for service as a VIP transport. It was issued to General Douglas MacArthur and was called the “Bataan,” after the infamous Bataan Death March which troops under MacArthur had endured in 1942. MacArthur used the Bataan during the Korean War, when he was Supreme Commander of Allied Powers. This airplane carried him to his famous meeting with President Harry S Truman on Wake Island, and to the United States after his dismissal by Truman for making political statements about the conduct of the war. In 1966, the Bataan was stripped of her interior and flown to the “boneyard” at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson. Later acquired by NASA, the airplane was fitted with computers and telemetry equipment and used in support of the Apollo moon program. Retired once again upon the drawdown of the space program, the Bataan was flown to Fort Rucker for display at the Museum of Army Flying. The aircraft was kept on outdoor display there, and was acquired the Grand Canyon Air Museum and restored to flying condition, it arrived in Arizona in April 1995. The Bataan represents the days when the Constellation was the “Queen of the Skies.” Visitors can take a guided tour of the interior of this historic aircraft.

            Another exhibit is a 1929 Ford 5-AT Trimotor, one of just three still flying in the world. Built by the Ford Motor Company, the Trimotor introduced new standards of luxury and speed. The aircraft on display at the Grand Canyon Air Museum served with various airlines in Central America, returning to the United States in the sixties for promotional work with TWA. This Ford Trimotor was used by Scenic Airlines for tourist flights over the Grand Canyon until Federal noise regulations forced its retirement.

            The museum is famous for its vintage fighter aircraft collection. The P-51A on display is one of the oldest Mustangs still flying. The F-86A is a Korean War veteran.

The Messerschmitt Bf109G-10 was captured in Germany at the end of World War II. This aircraft was flown from its base on the Eastern Front to surrender to the American forces near Munich in May 1945 because of the poor treatment of German fighter pilots by the Russians.

            During World War II, the United States alone produced more than three hundred thousand military aircraft. When the war ended, most of these airplanes were scrapped at vast disposal centers.

Tel: (520) 635-1000, Web Site: http://www.planesoffame.org/valle

Arizona’s Liberty Bell

July 2, 2010

Just one of Arizona museums many memory trips in its celebration of its centennial as a state is its Liberty Bell. The 2,080-pound bell was one of fifty-three replica liberty bells cast by a French foundry in 1950. During that year, U.S. Treasury Secretary John W. Snyder presented them to each of the forty-eight contiguous states and five territories to promote a U.S. savings-bonds drive. As part of that program, the Arizona bell was paraded throughout the state from May 15 through July 4, 1950. Representatives from the Treasury Department’s Savings Bonds Division conferred with officials of the various States, Territories, and the District of Columbia to make arrangements for turning over the bells. The arrangements included plans for the organization of proper ceremonies to mark the occasion. The replica Liberty Bells are identical in size, weight, manufacturing process, legends and markings, and tonal quality, with the original Liberty Bell in Philadelphia. Each bell with its mounting stands about six feet high is twelve feet in circumference around the lip, and seven and one-half feet around the crown. 

            Local Savings Bonds volunteer organizations in the various states arranged for receptions and tours for the bells. The donors of money and material for the Liberty Bells included the Anaconda Copper Mining Company, Kennecott Copper Corporation, Phelps-Dodge Corporation, American Smelting & Refining Company, the American Metal Company, Ltd. and the Miami Copper Company. The Ford Motor Company supplied forty-nine red, white and blue trucks which took the bells on the tour of the states. The United States Steel Corporation’s American Bridge Company provided the standards, stays and hardware for mounting the bells on the trucks. Individual truck operators within the States paid the salaries of the drivers. Standard Oil Company of New Jersey contributed the oil and gasoline required by the trucks.

            Fifty-three bells were cast for the Bond Drive, however, it appears that three more were cast, according to the remarks that Secretary of the Treasury Snyder made at a luncheon in Independence on November 6, 1950 when the Bell was presented to Independence, Missouri. Snyder states that, in addition to the fifty-three bells made as part of the original project, he arranged to have the bell made that General Douglas MacArthur presented to Japan (#54), he presented another bell to the town of Annecy, France (#55) where the bells were cast, and he presented a bell from the people of Annecy to Independence, Missouri (#56). The bells were cast at the Sons of Georges Paccard Foundry in Annecy-le-Vieux, France, in 1950.  The bell that was given to Independence, Missouri by the people of Annecy was dedicated on November 6, 1950, and President Harry S Truman was present for the dedication. After the Truman Library was built (1957) the Bell was moved to the Truman Library grounds and rededicated in 1959. The inscription accompanying the Liberty Bell on the grounds of the Truman Library reads

DEDICATED TO YOU, A FREE CITIZEN IN A FREE LAND

           Arizona Capitol Museum, 1700 W. Washington, Phoenix, Arizona 85007, Tel: (602) 926-3620, Fax (602) 256-7985, Web Site: http://www.lib.az.us/museum/

Marty Robbins Museum

May 17, 2010

Arizona Museums: A Journey Into Arizona’s Memory celebrates Arizona’s Centennial with a diversity of music. Some of its most beautiful music was written and sung by its beloved musician, Marty Robbins. The Friends of Marty Robbins Museum in Willcox displays the private collection of Juanita Buckley and her son Shawn P. Ring. Rex Allen Jr., whose father is featured in the museum next door, invited Juanita to move her extensive collection of Marty Robbins memorabilia to Willcox. Here the visitor can listen and purchase music CD’s and DVD’s in the gift shop and learn about Marty Robbins. The photograph exhibits lining the walls document Marty Robbins’ family and professional life. Don’t miss the museum’s wonderful exhibit of Man Walks Among Us. This song, written and performed by Marty Robbins, is from the from the 1963 Columbia film Return of the Gunfighter. Bob Nolan described this song as ‘one of the great nature songs.’ This is high praise from a man who wrote Cool Water and Tumbling Tumbleweeds.  

Marty Robbins was born in Glendale, Arizona on September 26, 1925, to John G. and Emma Heckle Robinson. His father played a harmonica, his grandfather Texas Bob Heckle was a story teller and a Texas Ranger.  Marty chose to join the Navy at the age of seventeen instead of graduating from high school. When World War II broke out, he saw action in the South Pacific. It was while he was in the Navy that he taught himself to play the guitar and before long he was composing music and entertaining the troops. He could always sing and most of the time he made up songs as he went.

After his discharge from the Navy, Marty returned to Glendale where he married Marizona Baldwin on September 28, 1948 in Parker, Arizona. Their first child, Ronald Carson Robinson, was born July 16, 1949. After his discharge from the Navy, he played at local venues in Phoenix, before moving on to host his own radio station show on KTYL. He eventually hosted his own television show on KPHO in Phoenix. After Little Jimmy Dickens made a guest appearance on Robbins’ TV show, he got Robbins a record deal with Columbia. Marty’s beautiful voice made him a natural for the plaintive ballads that he wrote about Arizona. He had an amazing vocal range, which went from deep, brooding lows to the lilting tenor.     He became the first country entertainer to receive a Grammy and he went on to win two Grammys: one for El Paso, one for My Woman My Woman My Wife. He joined the Grand Ole Opry show in 1951 and moved to Nashville a year later. Marty was the last to play at the Ryman Opry House and the first to play at the new Opry House. He was the first to receive a Golden Guitar Award and the Decade Award. Robbins’s 1957 recording of A White Sport Coat and a Pink Carnation sold over one million copies, and he was awarded a gold disc. He received the Country Music Hall Of Fame Award in October 1982, less than two months before he died.

Because of his beautiful voice, people don’t realize that he also starred in both English and Spanish movies. His movies include: The Badge of Marshal Brennan (1957),  Ballad of a Gunfighter (1964), Buffalo Gun (1961), Country Music (1972),  El Aventurero de Medianoche (1982), El Sueño de Mi Vida (1982), Guns of a Stranger (1973), Hell on Wheels (1967),

The Friends of Marty Robbins Museum, 156 N. Railroad Avenue, Willcox AZ 85643 Tel: 520-766-1404

The Franklin Auto Museum

May 1, 2010

Get ready to take another trip down memory lane by traveling into Arizona Museums: A Journey into Arizona’s Memory. We are going to get into one of those new fangled contraptions the automobile and visit the Franklin museum. Mr.

 Hubbard wanted to preserve “a small but delightful window into our past one that excites the imagination, especially of younger viewers, and helps people understand how things change and how things that may no longer be practical for today’s conditions, yet can be worth preserving for their beauty. Few things do this as well as the automobile.”   — Thomas H. Hubbard, April 12, 1992

Hubbard, who died on January 2, 1993, left Tucson a legacy of Franklin cars and automobile history. Born January 3, 1925, in Worcester, Massachusetts, he graduated from the New Mexico Military Institute in 1943, and received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona in 1947. He worked for the Magma Copper Company until 1952. Two years later he restored his first car, a 1909 Reo. He restored several cars for the late William Harrah, founder of Harrah’s casinos and developed a sizable Franklin collection of his own. At present the Franklin Auto Museum houses the 1909 Reo, twenty-three Franklins and a 1957 Porsche coupe. Work is proceeding on restoring his home and will eventually display Hubbard’s vast collection of Native American Archaeological artifacts and his splendid collection of Arizona paintings and furniture, which he inherited from his aunt.

The H. H. Franklin Manufacturing Company built the most successful American direct air-cooled cars from 1902 to 1934. These cars engendered a loyal following and many owners preserved them long after production ceased. While restoring classic-era Franklins, Hubbard obtained and preserved the original factory Franklin blueprint collection so he could assure the authenticity of his restorations and also create a Franklin car which never saw production. The 1932 Series 16 V-12 was to have represented the crowning achievement of the Franklin automobile but just before production was scheduled the company fell into receivership and the production of the V-12, which Hubbard considered the ultimate Franklin, was altered. The V-12 Phaeton in the museum which Hubbard created from the drawings is one of a kind.

The Franklin automobile fell on hard times during the Great Depression of the 1930s, along with many other fine luxury car manufacturers. The emphasis for the Tucson collection of Franklin cars is on the finest classic automotive styling. All the major body types are represented from the exclusive “Town Car,” in which a liveried chauffeur sat outside, to the sporty “boat tail,” coupe, and including a 7-passenger open touring car with “jump seats,” a convertible coupe with a rumble seat, a sporty model called a “Speedster,” which is styled to look like a convertible sedan, a “Club Brougham” in the V-12 series which is the most handsome of these V-12 cars and of which only 200 were built in all body types. Five of the Franklins are open 4-door body types with dual windshields, that is, windshields for both front and rear seats, but with four completely different arrangements for the rear windshields.

The museum includes Hubbard’s entire Franklin automobile collection; an extensive library of Franklin Company research materials; the Alice Carpenter Collection of Native American artifacts; an historical adobe home, museum and other buildings along with an endowment to preserve the facility in Tucson. The museum has published a handsome book documenting every Franklin automobile. Today, the Franklin Auto Museum is working with high school students who are involved in vocational education. A group of these students oversaw the moving of a Franklin automobile from the museum to the Tucson Airport where it is on display.

The Franklin Auto Museum is located at 3420 N. Vine Ave., Tucson, AZ 85719

Telephone: 520-326-8038 Web Site: www.franklinmuseum.org

Grand Canyon: Kolb Studio

April 20, 2010

My book Arizona Museums: A Journey Into Arizona’s Memory has been designated as an Arizona Centennial Legacy Project. In this excerpt, the visitor will take a trip to the grand Canyon and visit the Kolb Studio Museum

            Nearly two decades before the creation of Grand Canyon National Park, two reckless brothers, Ellsworth and Emery Kolb wandered into the canyon. In 1904, the Kolb brothers began construction on this rambling, Victorian era building which has been restored to its original condition. It is not hard to believe that this haphazard structure jutting over the canyon was built without plans. A look outside gives visitors the feeling that they just might slide down the Bright Angel Trail. The Kolb brothers decided to earn their living by photographing tourists descending at Bright Angel trailhead.  By the time the tourists returned, the Kolb’s had photographs waiting for them. The Kolbs received worldwide attention when they filmed their 1911 trip down the Colorado River and delivered moving pictures of the Grand Canyon to awe-struck theater goers in 1912.. By 1915, their studio was a three-story structure which included living quarters for two families and a showroom for their prints. In their final addition in 1925 they converted the showroom into an auditorium to show their river trip movie, and added a new darkroom and lab space. Kolb Studio was now five stories and twenty-three rooms, teetering precariously over the canyon floor. Only the upper floor bookstore and second floor auditorium are open to visitors. Canyon-related art exhibits in the auditorium at Kolb Studio change every few weeks. Rangers conduct tours of portions of the living quarters during the winter.