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Following WWII, visitor counts at National Parks all over the country soared, and they continue on an upward trend even today. One of the reasons behind the increase in scenic and recreational tourism was the introduction of highways and other major roadways built in large part by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the 1930s. The better accessibility, paired with the increase in automobile ownership, the end of gas rationing, and the rise in income levels after the war led more people to visit parks, forests, and other natural areas for leisure. Herman B Wells and his mother took advantage of these circumstances and made a trip out West sometime in the late 1940s or early 1950s. Click an image to watch a movie.

See the National Park Service Visitor Use Statistics for more information on the rise of tourism in National Parks at

Royal Gorge - Mama Wells

Hermit's rest at the rim of the Grand Canyon

Royal Gorge—Mama Wells 

This reel details Wells' trip to Colorado's Royal Gorge with his mother. It depicts a train ride through the gorge, an area garden, monuments, architectural features, and images of the gorge. At 3:07 begins footage of their Grand Canyon trip (see "Grand Canyon—Indian Dance, below). At 4:11 a sign reads "Hermits Rest." Architect Mary Jane Colter designed this rest area in 1914 to resemble the structures built by the Hopi people. From Hermit's Rest, one can access the Hermit Trail into the canyon and the scenic Hermit Road, developed in 1934-35. Today, the area serves as an educational center focused on the lifestyle and culture of the many Native American tribes that lived in the area prior to its designation as a National Park in 1919, and the role of the CCC in developing Grand Canyon National Park. 

For more on Royal Gorge, check out

For more information on Hermit's Rest, see Arizona State University's webpage,

Grand Canyon - Indian Dance

A Native American performs a tribal dance for onlookers

Grand Canyon—Indian Dance 

The Grand Canyon's rich geological and cultural history make it an attractive natural feature that draws millions of visitors every year. From the numerous sedimentary rock layers to the ancient cliff dwellings, the canyon has a unique story to tell. Herman B Wells and his mother were among those who got to hear this story in the late 1940s. This film demonstrates Wells' appreciation of the natural world in its numerous shots of the scenery, and his cultural curiosity in the scenes that depict Native Americans performing a dance for onlookers. The dancers wear red, white, and black clothing, brightly colored feathers, and what appears to be beaded and metal jewelry. The earliest dance scenes in this reel depict a pueblo-style plaza dance, then an eagle dance, then a fancy dance in powwow style. The dancers are most likely members of an Arizona or New Mexico dance troupe from either the Taos or Hopi peoples. The film is blank from about 2:20 onward 

To find out more about the history of Grand Canyon National Park from both the natural and the social science perspectives, check out 

For more information on specific Native American peoples in the Grand Canyon area, check out Arizona State University's detailed webpage, 

US Travel