Showing nearly two billion years of geological history, the Grand Canyon is one of the greatest natural wonders of the United States. President Teddy Roosevelt described it as "absolutely unparalleled throughout the rest of the world." However, as EconoTimes explains, even though the Grand Canyon was one of the nation's first natural wonders discovered by Europeans, few made note of its existence or beauty, some even going as far to say that it was "altogether valueless."
"In 1541, a party of the Coronado expedition under Captain García López de Cardenas stood on the South Rim, 138 years before explorers found Niagara Falls, 167 before Yellowstone, and almost 300 before Yosemite. A group scrambled down to the river but failed to reach it, and returned to announce that the buttes were much taller than the great tower of Seville. Then nothing. Some Coronado chroniclers did not even mention this side trip in their accounts.
Then in 1857 Lt. Joseph C. Ives led a steamboat up the Colorado River in explicit quest of the Big Cañon. After the steamboat struck a rock and sank near Black Canyon, Ives traveled down Diamond Creek to the inner gorge, briefly touched at the South Rim, and in 1861 penned one of the most infamous proclamations to ever emerge from an American explorer. "The region is, of course, altogether valueless … after entering it there is nothing to do but leave. Ours has been the first, and will doubtless be the last, party of whites to visit this profitless locality."
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Feature image via Flickr user Moyan Brenn.