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Desert View Watchtower, also known as the Indian Watchtower at Desert View, is a 70-foot (21 m)-high stone building located on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon within Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona, United States. The tower is located at Desert View, more than 20 miles (32 km) to the east of the main developed area at Grand Canyon Village, toward the east entrance to the park. The four-story structure, completed in 1932, was designed by American architect Mary Colter, an employee of the Fred Harvey Company who also created and designed many other buildings in the Grand Canyon vicinity including Hermit's Rest and the Lookout Studio. The interior contains murals by Fred Kabotie.
The watchtower was the last of the series of Mary Colter-designed
visitor concession structures at the Grand Canyon until her renovation
of the Bright Angel Lodge in 1935. The tower was designed to resemble
an Ancient Pueblo Peoples watchtower, but its size dwarfs any known
Pueblan-built tower. The closest prototypes for such a structure may
be found at Hovenweep National Monument.The structure is composed of a
circular coursed masonry tower rising from a rubble base. The base was
intentionally designed to convey a partly ruinous appearance, perhaps
of an older structure on which the watchtower was later built. The
base is arranged within a large circle with the tower to the north.
Tiny windows are irregularly disposed, some of which are themselves
irregular in shape. The main space is the Kiva Room in the base
structure, apparently roofed with logs that were salvaged from the old
Grandview Hotel. The ceiling is a false structure concealing the roof
structure that supports an observation deck. The Kiva Room features a
fireplace with a large picture window directly above where the chimney
would ordinarily go. Smoke is drawn away through an offset, concealed
flue. The room still contains its original furnishings, which are part
of the historic designation. A separate, apparently ruinous structure
was actually built in that form to provide a storage place for
The tower rises as an open shaft lined by circular balconies overlooking the central space. Access from balcony to balcony is provided by small stairways. At the top the space is decked over, creating an enclosed observation level with large glazed windows. An open observation area on the roof of this space is now closed to visitors and is used for radio equipment. The steel and concrete structure of the observation level is concealed behind plaster, stone and wood. The tower is decorated by bold murals by Fred Kabotie, with other, petroglyph-style decorations by Fred Greer. Small windows in the tower's shaft let beams of light into the lower space.