Home :: Quarter Dollar :: America the Beautiful (2010-2021) :: 2010 America the Beautiful Quarters :: Grand Canyon National Park Quarter (Arizona) 2010

Grand Canyon National Park Quarter (Arizona) 2010

Grand Canyon National Park Quarter (Arizona) 2010
Philadelphia Denver Proof
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0.03 oz
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The Grand Canyon National Park Quarter is the fourth of 2010 and the fourth overall in the America the Beautiful Quarters Program. A powerful and inspiring landscape, the Grand Canyon overwhelms the senses through its immense size 277 river miles long, up to 18 miles wide and a mile deep. The Grand Canyon was first established as a national site on February 20, 1893 (27 Stat. 469).

Long before man ever set foot in the area, Mother Nature was hard at work! Tens of millions of years ago, upward pressure lifted the Colorado plateau to a higher elevation changing the drainage of the region. This additional elevation also caused an increase in the speed of the water in the streams and rivers, making them more efficient at eroding the landscape. Then, at least 5 million years ago, the Colorado River really picked up the pace and continued to cut through layers and layers of pre-historic rock, leaving us essentially with the Grand Canyon that we know today.

Evidence of a human presence in the Grand Canyon can be traced back over 10,000 years, but it is believed that permanent settlements of Native Americans only started around 4,000 years ago. This is due mostly to the fact that around this time, the Anasazi Indians of the area changed from being more nomadic to depending on agriculture.

"Modern man" would first discover the beauties of the area in 1540 when Captain Garcia Lopez de Cardenas and his Spanish solders would visit the area along with some Hopi Indian guides. Not being what they were searching for, the Spanish soldiers left and it would be over 200 years before the area would be "discovered" again.

In 1776, two priests would encounter the area along with Spanish soldiers as they searched for a passage from Sante Fe to California. Also in 1776, a Franciscan missionary would visit the area in an attempt to convert some of the local Indians. He was unsuccessful, but he did describe the canyon he saw as "profound."

It was not until the mid 1800’s that explorers made any meaningful advances in understanding the area. Several expeditions, some of the military in nature, were dispatched in the 1850's but the most scientifically credible one occurred in 1869, with an expedition led by Major John Wesley Powell. Powell was an accomplished explorer who took nine men and four boats down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. He repeated his trip again in 1871, creating a detailed map of the river and had multiple photos taken of the area.

"Leave it as it is. You cannot improve on it. The ages have been at work on it, and man can only mar it." That is what President Theodore Roosevelt had to say about the Grand Canyon in the early 1900's. His sentiment shows the appreciation most have for the national park.

In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt visited the area and was decidedly impressed. He took the first steps to protect the Grand Canyon by making it a Federal Game Preserve in 1906. However, he, along with other area supporters, was not happy with the protection this afforded and made it a National Monument in 1908.

Opponents prevented its induction as a National Park until 1919, when it became the 17th such park in the United States.

Today, almost 5 million people visit the park each year. The summer is prime tourist time with temperatures on the rim usually quite comfortable. Rains are a common occurrence during this season along with strong thunderstorms. The South Rim remains open year round, but the North Rim is usually closed late October to mid May due to heavy snows.

All who visit take in the grand coloring of the exposed canyon, which appears to change with the light of day. Most confine their visit to the rim area, but some are more adventurous and either take hikes (or ride mules) down to the river below.

The reverse image features a view of the granaries above the Nankoweap Delta in Marble Canyon near the Colorado River. (Marble Canyon is the northernmost section of the Grand Canyon.) Granaries were used for storing food and seeds (A.D. 500). Inscriptions are GRAND CANYON, ARIZONA, 2010 and E PLURIBUS UNUM. Design candidates were developed in consultation with representatives of Grand Canyon National Park.


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