What to See in the Watchtower Plaque
What To See In The Watchtower
Hopi Room on the First Floor - A large circular painting depicting the "Snake Legend" Numberous wall paintings including those of Muyingwa or the god of germination; symbol of the womens' secret society - Lalakontu, a Hopi wedding scene, the little war god Pookongahoya, and Baloongahoya the god of echo. The center of the room is occupied by a snake altar, a sandpainting, religious crooks and wands carved wood figures of kachinas, snake whips and a tray of scred corn meal.
Kiva Roof - Black glass mirrors or "reflectoscopes" giving excellent views of the Painted Desert and Grand Canyon country.
Second and Third Floor - Devoted to: Replicas of petroglyphs and pictographs of Mimbres pottery; sunshield and animals decorating rocks and walls in the Painted Desert. Betatakin and Keet Seel Cliff dewellings of Arizona, and many other important Indian ruins in the southwest.
Fourth Floor - Elevation 7522 feet, this is the highest point along the South Rim. Several 40 power binoculars are avialable through which the tower visitor can see the Colorado River, San Francisco Peaks 14 miles to the south, Tuba City 30 miles to the east, Navajo mountain 85 miles to the northeast, and an emense westward view of the Grand Canyon.
Purpose of the Watchtower - This tower was built in 1932 by Fred Harvey and the Santa Fe Railroad. It is not a restoration or copy of any particular Indian ruin. Many months of research and three years of construction were needed to combine the finest examples of Indian designs and masonry found in the southwest. Ancient towers serving as models for the Desert View Watchtower were probably used by their builders for protection and storage of food. There are also indications that some towers were used by aboriginal priests for making astronomical observations. Since the main purpose of such towers seems to be for people to observe or "watch" from, the term "watch tower" is widely appled to such structures. The watchtower serves as a rest stop and as an aid for helping the visitor to better understand the past and present life of the southwestern Indians.