Table of Contents
Collection Overview +/-
Collection Inventory +/-
box 1: Music Temple Visitor Registers
The Music Temple visitors registers have been digitized and are available online.
folder 1: Loose Pages (1938-1956)
folder 2: Notebook (1946-1952)
folder 3: Notebooks (1953-1956)
folder 4: Notebook (1958-1960)
folder 5: Notebook (1961)
folder 6: Notebook (1946-1952)
folder 7: Loose Pages (1938-1956)
Biographical Note/Historical Note +/-
Music Temple was a spectacular grotto in Glen Canyon of the Colorado River about three miles below the mouth of the San Juan River. The grotto was named by John Wesley Powell on his exploring expedition in 1869 because the wonderful acoustics to be found inside. When Powell and his crews stopped there in 1869 and again in 1871, several of the crew members, including Bill Dunn, Frederick Dellenbaugh, and Powell himself, chiseled their names into the soft sandstone at the end of the canyon, thus establishing what is known as a "river register." From the earliest commercial river tours through Glen Canyon, Music Temple was a popular stop for parties of tourists, who often would try the acoustics with songs and musical instruments. Many early river travelers followed the tradition of chiseling their names into the sandstone, but fortunately for history, as early as the 1930s someone began the tradition of leaving a metal box in the grotto where travelers could write their names on notebooks and pieces of paper.
There were other such "registers" found at other sites in Glen Canyon, most notably the register books at Rainbow Bridge. When Lake Powell began to fill in the 1960s, the Rainbow Bridge register books were taken by the National Park Service, and are now housed in the archives at the Lake Powell National Recreation Area headquarters at Wahweap. It should be noted that this a fairly common practice along the Green and Colorado Rivers and their tributaries, and a number of such "registers" can be found today if the traveler knows where to look for them. There is one at Bowknot Bend in Labyrinth Canyon of the Green River, and a similar one at Deer Creek Falls in the Grand Canyon, as well as many others scattered up and down the river canyons.
After World War II, the easy availability of inflatable rafts greatly increased the numbers of people floating Glen Canyon, and from about 1947 on the names found in the Music Temple Visitor Registers include many Boy Scout and church groups. These include Scout groups from all over Utah and the other Intermountain states, as well as California and Nevada; outdoor clubs such as the Wasatch Mountain Club and the Sierra Club; and commercial outfitters such as Nevills Expeditions and its successor Mexican Hat Expeditions, Harris-Brennan Expeditions, Georgie White's Share-the-Expense River Trips, Wonderland Expeditions, Cross Tours, and Hatch River Expeditions. Of especial interest are paw-outlines of Pard the Dog and Mickey the Cat, the latter surely one of the few cats ever to traverse Glen Canyon.
Nor were signatures the only inscriptions left in the notebooks and papers found in the Music Temple visitor registers. Drawings of boats, canyon scenes, and faces were quite common, as were doggerel verses and remarks about the beauty of the canyons, the water levels, and other aspects of the trip. Occasionally there are barbs aimed at other river runners, or what are in effect advertisements for a particular outfitter. One private group, SOCOTWA, had a particular logo consisting of a stylized Native American in a canoe, and this was often crossed out by other river runners for reasons unknown.
Even before Glen Canyon Dam was completed in 1963, the rising waters of Lake Powell had inundated Music Temple. The chiseled inscriptions were of course lost, although they were extensively photographed and documented by the Glen Canyon Historical Salvage Survey [see Historical Sites in Glen Canyon: Mouth of San Juan River to Lee's Ferry. University of Utah Anthropological Papers no. 46, June 1960. pgs 57-59.] Fortunately, the contents of the Music Temple visitor register box or boxes were saved, allowing a glimpse into another side of what has been called "The Place No One Knew."
Content Description +/-
The Music Temple visitors registers (1938-1961) consists of notebooks, notepads, and miscellaneous scraps of paper upon which were written names and (usually) dates of members of river parties who stopped at Music Temple in Glen Canyon of the Colorado River before its inundation by Lake Powell in the 1960s. Photocopies of the notebooks and loose pages are available and should be used unless there is a pressing need to see the originals.
Collection Use +/-
Restrictions on Access:
Originals available only with permission of the head of the Manuscripts Division.
Twenty-four hour advanced notice encouraged. Materials must be used on-site. Access to parts of this collection may be restricted under provisions of state or federal law.
Restrictions on Use:
It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances.
Permission to publish material from the Music Temple visitors registers must be obtained from the Special Collections Manuscript Curator.
Initial Citation: Music Temple visitors registers, Ms 661, Box [ ]. Special Collections and Archives. University of Utah, J. Willard Marriott. Salt Lake City, Utah.
Following Citations:Ms 661.
Administrative Information +/-
Donated by Joan Nevills-Staveley in 1991.
Donated by anonymous in 1993
Processed by Roy Webb in 1993.
Collection materials are in English.
0.25 linear feet
Language of the Finding Aid:
Finding aid encoded in English in Latin script.
Author of the Finding Aid:
Finding aid prepared by Roy Webb
EAD Creation Date:
See also the Norman D. Nevills papers (Ms 552) and the C. Gregory Crampton papers (Accn 727).