Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter was born in Pittsburgh, PA in 1869. Following the death of her father, Mary felt compelled to go to college to support her mother and older sister. She attended California School of Design in San Francisco. Mary made her career as an architect and designer.
In the 1920’s, the National Park Service selected the Fred Harvey Company to build a tourist facility within the canyon. Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter was chosen to draft the plans. She produced sketches for a series of cabins at the base of the canyon. Everyone was pleased, and it was soon announced that the accommodations would move forward with construction. Colter had already chosen the name: Phantom Ranch.
Along with the iconic Phantom Ranch, Colter also designed the Bright Angel Lodge, Hermit’s Rest, Hopi House, the Lookout Studio, and Watchtower in the Grand Canyon.
If you’re interested in learning more about Mary Colter, we have a book in the cabin to peruse, called Watchtower (located on the console under the television).