Powell of the Colorado Nevada State Historic Marker 37

Powell of the Colorado Nevada State Historic Marker 37 is a marker commemorating the 1869 exploration of the Grand Canyon by Major John Wesley Powell. The historic landmark is located overlooking Lake Mead, Nevada.

Powell of the Colorado Nevada State Historic Marker 37- The 1871 Powell Expedition preparing to depart Green River.  Photo NPS
The 1871 Powell Expedition preparing to depart Green River. Photo NPS

After 1867, Powell led a series of expeditions into the Rocky Mountain, Green River and Colorado rivers. In 1869, he set out to explore the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon as part of several trips. Along with ten men and equipped with four boats and food for 10 months, Powell set out from Green River, Wyoming, on May 24. Passing through dangerous rapids, the group passed down the Green River to its confluence with the Colorado River (then also known as the Grand River upriver from the junction), near present-day Moab, Utah, and completed the journey on August 30, 1869.

Powell retraced part of the 1869 route in 1871–72 with another expedition that traveled to the Colorado River from Green River, Wyoming to Kanab Creek in the Grand Canyon. Powell used three photographers on this expedition; Elias Olcott Beaman, James Fennemore, and John K. Hillers, who documented the journey.

Nevada State Historical Markers identify significant places of interest in Nevada’s history. The Nevada State Legislature started the program in 1967 to bring the state’s heritage to the public’s attention with on-site markers. Budget cuts to the program caused the program to become dormant in 2009. Many of the markers are lost of damaged.

Nevada State Historic Marker Text

On August 30, 1869, Major John Wesley Powell landed at the mouth of the Virgin River, about 12 miles south of here, thus ending the first boat expedition through the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River.

The expedition left Green River City, Wyoming Territory, on May 24, 1869. For three months Powell and his men endured danger and hunger to explore, survey and study the geology of the canyons along the Green and Colorado Rivers.

Exhausted and near starvation, the Powell party was warmly greeted and fed by the hardy Mormon pioneers of St. Thomas, a small farm settlement about 11 miles north of here.

The original sites of St. Thomas and the junction of the Virgin and Colorado Rivers are now beneath the waters of Lake Mead.

This, and later Powell surveys, stimulated great interest in the water conservation problems of the Southwest.

Marker Summary

Nevada State Historic Marker 37
NamePowell on the Colorado
LocationLake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada
Latitude, Longitude36.3072, -114.4201



One Reply to “Powell of the Colorado Nevada State Historic Marker 37”

  1. Pingback: John Wesley Powell - Destination4x4

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