When I first saw the stone tower on a promontory overlooking the Grand Canyon, I thought it had been built by Native Americans hundreds of years earlier.
That's just what the architect intended.
The Desert Watchtower, built at the eastern entrance to the Grand Canyon's South Rim in 1932, was designed in painstaking detail to resemble an Anasazi watchtower. At 70 feet, it is taller than the structures it mimics. But with its shape, weathered stone exterior and tiny irregular windows, it looks like a prehistoric Indian tower.
Inside the Desert Watchtower (www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/placestogo.htm) -- part of which is occupied by a gift shop -- murals depict Hopi religious ceremonies, mythology, pictographs and petroglyphs.
The tower's architect was Mary Jane Colter, who designed half a dozen buildings at the Grand Canyon, all influenced by the local geology and Indian architecture. The tower's exterior is faced with hand-picked local sandstone and Kaibab limestone, many chosen for their rough surface and irregular shape that would add to the perception that the tower simply grew out of the terrain.
Outside the tower, a group of women sat in a cluster of folding chairs, painting watercolors of the tower and the surrounding landscape -- trying to capture that same level of detail visualized so many years ago by a pioneering woman.
This is one in a series of postcards by Marjie Lambert, assistant Travel editor, who has been to all 50 states.