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Project to restore murals at Grand Canyon watchtower done

October 7, 2019

GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, Ariz. (AP) — A project to conserve murals inside a historic watchtower near the Grand Canyon’s east entrance is complete.

The 1930s murals in the Desert View Watchtower have been worn down by weather and visitors over decades.

Crews have been working over the past four years to conserve them. Workers filled deep gouges in window sills and staircases where visitors had carved names. They removed writing left in marker, nail polish or pen.

They also removed salt deposits and tried to preserve what was left of the pigment in the murals.

Grant funding covered much of the project.

Famed architect Mary Colter designed the watchtower, and Fred Kabotie and Fred Geary painted the murals.

The 70-foot (21-meter) watchtower gives visitors expansive views of the painted desert and the Little Colorado River gorge.