Along the Desert View drive is a neat historic site and museum, operated by the park’s not-for-profit, the Grand Canyon Association. Perfect for a brief stop on your way to or from the Desert View Watchtower, adding a greater depth of appreciation for mighty Canyon; by learning about historic and modern people’s appreciation for this place. The walk around the ruins, and down to the farm area, are short, graded, and relatively easy; the ruins area is even wheelchair accessible. But the real meat and potatoes is in the museum, and the information provided on the panels along the walking trail. As this site has never been attempted to be reconstructed, as reconstruction invariably destroys some objects and artifacts missed by archeological crews. The mission here is preservation and education. Don’t worry, there are many well preserved artifacts in the museum that help draw an image of life 800 years ago.
Reading the panels and the dioramas of the museum, you may notice a lot of terms such as: “it seems”, “perhaps”, or “maybe”, as there are things we just don’t simply know, such as what brought people to this arid land. Perhaps the climate was wetter, or the religious significance of the San Francisco Peaks and the Grand Canyon were enough to bring people here. What we do know is the bounty that exists here now, local plants provided tools, medicine, and food; agriculture was possible due to the local topography, and the forest teemed with life, supplementing the food grown and gathered from the surrounding area. This place could have been a fertile place to raise a family, and realize the dreams of a whole community, let alone individuals.