'Arizona Lodges' premieres Aug. 8
From the depths of the Grand Canyon to the sculpted sandstone of the Colorado plateau, Northern Arizona is a land of uncommon beauty. Early in the 20th century, the Union Pacific and Santa Fe Railways built grand lodges to welcome those who journeyed across the country. Three in Arizona reflect the grandeur of their surroundings and recall a bygone era: El Tovar, Grand Canyon Lodge and La Posada. These are the lodges of Arizona's high country, and the subject of KAET's latest production, "Arizona Lodges: The High Country," premiering Monday, Aug. 8 at 7 p.m. on Channel 8.
This is the story of the courageous individuals who forged grand dreams out of one of America's most remote and hostile desert areas, individuals with a deep respect and admiration for the surrounding nature and culture ‹ and the passionate individuals who, years later, would labor to recapture the grandeur of the early days. This is the story of a land and how it continues to inspire people. This is the story of Arizona's high country.
Arizona Lodges profiles the entrepreneurs, the railway engineers and national parks officials, the artists and architects behind the history and legends of these historic landmarks. Through first-hand accounts, archival materials and breathtaking footage, the documentary offers a unique window to Arizona's high country, and Arizona's architectural legacy. Longtime Arizona radio and television personality Pat McMahon serves as narrator.
Arizona Lodges interviews include: Al Richmond, rail historian; Jim Garrison, Arizona Historic Preservation Officer; Jan Balsom, Grand Canyon National Park; Tom Haraden, National Park Service; Don Botta, General Manager, Grand Canyon Lodge; Bruce Aiken, artist; Allan Affeldt, owner/operator, La Posada; Tina Mion, owner/artist, La Posada; Jim Boles, Mayor of Winslow; Marie LaMar, DeTour Director, Winslow Harvey Girls; Ruby
McHood and Dorothy Hunt, Harvey Girls; Eugene Schmitz, retired locomotive engineer, Santa Fe Railway, Daniel Lutzick, artist.
Several pivotal events spurred the public's interest in the Grand Canyon and Arizona tourism: John Wesley Powell's historic exploration, the rustic architectural design of Mary Jane Colter and Gilbert Stanley Underwood and the entrepreneurship of Fred Harvey and the Harvey Girls. The documentary explores the burgeoning rail network of the early 1900s and its role in developing the West, and establishing the national parks.
"Just as it's important to preserve these buildings, it's also important to preserve the stories of Arizonans," Writer/Producer/Director John Booth said. "These hotels represent a milestone in Arizona's history. A time when our state was being noticed by the world and when the world began to come here in ever increasing numbers. 'Arizona Lodges: The High Country' is the story of creating beauty and comfort in the wilderness, of perseverance and of rebirth."
"Arizona Lodges: The High Country" was made possible by the KAET Program Partners, Friends of Channel 8 who provide additional gifts for programs about the Arizona experience. KAET-TV/Channel 8 is community service of Arizona State University.
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