Kolb Brothers: Grand Canyon Pioneers

Emery and Ellsworth Kolb were two of the luckiest, most industrious, most intrepid brothers to ever set up shop in Arizona. They came from Pittsburgh at the turn of the century and established a photography business at the Grand Canyon that endured from 1903 until 1975. From their studio, which began as a two-room shack clining precariously to the Canyon rim, they photographed mule parties as they headed down the Bright Angel Trail.

In 1911, the brothers made a grueling thousand-mile trip down the Colorado River and brought back the first motion pictures of it the world had ever seen. Their colorful adventures continued for the next two decades, and all their stories made it onto the screen in their studio. Ellsworth died in 1961 at age 83; Emery continued to run the business until his death in 1975 at age 95. Today, the studio is protected by the National Historic Register and the Kolb brothers’ films and photos are still displayed.

A Steiger Bros. production in association with Eight made possible in part by the Eight Program Partners.

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