Verkamp's Visitor Center — Things to Know
Current hours of operation: 8 am to 6 pm.
Parking in the nearby lot may be limited during busy periods, which include spring break, summer and fall months. If you are walking from the shuttle bus stop across from the Railroad Depot, climb the stairway to the top of the hill. Here you will find El Tovar Hotel, Hopi House, and Verkamps Visitor Center.
Exhibits focus on the Grand Canyon Community; what it was like to live and work here on the brink of one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
A walking history timeline on the floor leads visitors through the exhibits on a tour of the important moments in local, national and international history.
Verkamp Family History
John Verkamp headed to the developing South Rim in 1898. He set up a tent and sold souvenirs to the few people who made the long stagecoach trip to the rim. Not happy with the volume of business, at the end of the summer he sold his inventory to one of the hotel operators and went back to Flagstaff.
"January 31, 1906 $4.98 A good day."
So recorded John Verkamp in the ledger for his first day of business in the new store on the South Rim of Grand Canyon. After such a promising start, Verkamp's Curios would continue operations for more than a century.
The Verkamps built their business on service to their guests, service to their employees, and service to their community.The Verkamps bought from some of the same Native American artisans for 25 to 50 years. All employees received training to explain the history and meaning of sales items, believing that an informed guest was a pleased buyer.
For decades the Verkamp family was involved in the South Rim community They were instrumental in developing the Grand Canyon School and continued to offer their committed support.
The Shrine of the Ages and community library also received assistance from the family. A Verkamp was a charter member of the Grand Canyon Rotary Club. The Boy Scouts received much support from the family.
For decades the Verkamp family operated the Verkamp's store as a concession permitted by the National Park Service. When their contract last came up for renewal, the Verkamps chose not to compete for a new one. The National Park Service purchased the building and opened it in November 2008 as a visitor center and Grand Canyon Association bookstore.
Two girls in dresses pose and smile in front of Grand Canyon.
A girl rides on the back of a burro.
Offscreen, a man leads the burro away.
A group of several children spin around on playground equipment.
A young child in a cowboy hat rides a toy horse across a parking lot.
A girl dives into a pool at Grand Canyon's rim.
A small boy trecks through knee-deep snow.
A man shovels snow.
A couple of boys throw snowballs from a snow fort.
Football players in jersey pass the ball while playing on a dirt field.
The football player is tackled as a refaree approaches.
A marching band in red uniforms moves forward.
Two girls in dresses and three boys walk in front of Grand Canyon.
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A few scenes from the Verkamp family's home movies that are shown continuously in the Grand Canyon Community Exhibit in Verkamps' Visitor Center.
Last updated: September 10, 2023