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Notes On The History Of The Kolob Canyons…A Two Year Mapping Project

Issue 44.10

Part 6 conclusion

In 1873, Powell hired western artist Thomas Moran to sketch the Grand Canyon, Zion Canyon and the surrounding area.  Moran left Salt Lake City for Kanab in early July.  On his way south with J.E. Colburn, a writer for the New York  Times, and Powell’s secretary, James C. Pilling, Moran stopped to sketch several scenic spots in Utah including the Kolob.  [Lindstrom, Thomas Moran in Utah]  On 22 July 1873, Moran made his way up Taylor Creek and sketched Tucupit Point, which Moran named Colburn’s Butte for his traveling companion.  When he returned to the eastern US later in the year he made a woodcut of the scene.  It was published in The Aldine- The Art Journal of America in 1874.  The woodcut gave the outside world the first view of the Kolob and its majestic fingers.  In describing the piece, the editor of the journal wrote:

The subject of another of Mr. Moran’s superb illustrations is Colburn’s Butte in Kannarro Canon.  Kannarro is a small Mormon village in Southern Utah, nestling at the foot of lofty mountains and near the terminus of the ranges extending south from Salt Lake City.  Kannarro Canon is a pass in the mountains, some five or eight miles south of the village; and it is in this canon that the visitor receives the first hint of that glorious region to the south, viz., the canon of the Colorado River of the West.  Here are first seen those wonderful masses of red sandstone that, a little further south, become overwhelmingly stupendous, staggering belief in their vastness and magnificent forms.  The butte in the illustration is two thousand feet high, and of brilliant hue.  It is equally grand and beautiful in storm or sunshine. [The Aldine, 1874-75; 15]

Moran later said that the brief time in Zion Canyon alone was worth the trip to the West. [NY Times, 4 September 1873]  The departure of Powell and his men from the Kolob Canyons left them to the few locals who ventured to visit them.

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