1869, American History Museum
Explorer John Wesley Powell filled in "great blank spaces" on the map
Author Tim Cahill writes in our 101 Objects Special Issue:
Some have said I wasn’t there. When a one-armed Civil War veteran named John Wesley Powell made the first known descent through the Grand Canyon in 1869, from the Green River Station in Wyoming nearly 1,000 miles down to the Virgin River, it was described as the last heroic feat of exploration in the United States, the one that, as Wallace Stegner says, filled in the “great blank spaces” on the map.
Powell gathered a party of nine men, mostly former soldiers, and had four stout wooden boats shipped out from Chicago by rail.
Read more of Cahill's essay.