While President Theodore Roosevelt’s 1903 visit to the Grand Canyon was an historic precursor to it receiving National Park status in 1919, a local entrepreneur was onto the tourist destination a decade prior.
John G. Verkamp began selling souvenirs in 1898, from a tent near the Bright Angel Trail, before opening a proper shop. Verkamp’s Curios operated for a century before the historic structure – listed on the National Register of Historic Places – was transformed into Verkamp’s Visitor Center in November 2008.
Today, the locale remains rife with exhibits profiling the eponymous family’s history and integral role in the park’s deep history.
– Staff report, The Arizona 100