Bryce Canyon National Park is located in southern Utah and is notable for stunning landscapes. The Park sits along the rim of a steep-edged valley that drops away to reveal a maze of sunset-toned hoodoos, ridges and nobs of rock that form an alien and endlessly interesting landscape. Trails zigzag down into to the valley, snaking around and through the hoodoos; the trails themselves are historic in their own right as constructions of the Civilian Conservation Corps.
On my recent visit to Bryce, I was drawn to a collection of historic cabins just south of the lodge. The cabins are arranged like a small village, complete with lamp posts and curving streets of sidewalks. The architecture at Bryce is emblematic of the developing “Parkitecture” (architecture in National Parks) as well as early twentieth-century ideas about communities and travel. In fact, the layout mimics the design of idealized suburbs of the late nineteenth century–for example, that of Riverside, Illinois. The goal for the architects and landscape architects was one of integration and cohesion between natural and built environments. And, of course, a welcoming vacation spot (count me in!). Was it successful? I will let you be the judge.
Today, this rustic design type is iconic within the National Park system. Historic lodges stand as testaments to this in many of the most-visiting National Parks, from Yellowstone’s Old Faithful Inn to Yosemite’s Ahwahnee Hotel. The historic cabins at Bryce Canyon National Park, where a wander amongst the cabins is also a wander amongst the trees, perhaps best encapsulate a true integration of design and landscape.
Sources and Further Reading:
There are a number of places in Bryce that are listed on the National Register. They are nicely rounded up, with links, on this Wikipedia page.