In 1923, Michigan Congressman Louis B. Crampton was invited to give an address at the American Automobile Association about the unmatched beauty of southern Utah. His words about Bryce Canyon capture the feeling of this place better than any others I have read. So instead of writing my own ode to the Southwest, I'll let you enjoy his.
“Sit with me here near the chasm's brink as the sun drops low. Before your fancy presents to you the city beautiful, the myriad forms left in the disorder of chance after centuries of erosion resolve themselves into something planned . . .. The architecture is all in harmony. Great buildings rising hundreds of feet, passageways, sometimes but a few feet wide, separating one structure from another, but the walls erect and accurate, story upon story. From Acropolis Hill see how the grade drops rapidly to the waterless river bed which is parked so plentifully with trees on either side of the watercourse. Rising then abruptly to the right from the river are vermillion cliffs, where the palace of the king appears, surrounded by great turreted walls, a steep approach leading to the castle itself, nestling close against the barren cliff. There is no sound; no smoke arises; nothing in motion but the circling cliff swallow. It is simply the ideal of fancy.
The sun has gone. Darkness falls closer and deeper and the fine tracery of the architecture dims from sight, only the lighter shades of some of the buildings holding prominence. Still you can see the great commanding outline of the fortress and in the center the white of the crowning Acropolis. The swallows are no longer flying about . . .. There are no tones, no lights from below; only the splashes of white upon the dark background, set off with darker markings of the tree areas. The city of fancy is asleep.
At midnight we cautiously approach again the rim and watch, while far in the east over Acropolis Hill a glow enriches the horizon. Soon a silver point comes to view, like a star of hope for the darkened city. Rapidly rises the majestic moon that whitens the night and brings out formless shapes of the city but does not lighten. It mounts to the heavens and the city to the west of us reflects it dimly. It is a spectral city, and the watcher under the rays of moon, the million wonders of the Milky Way, and all the stars overhead, comes to imagine an occasional moving in the tenantless homes. But there is nothing in the city but night.
Up again and to the watcher's post; the day is dawning. A rosy hue in the east; an orange glow over Table Cliff Plateau; to the right a group of clouds which simulate a snowclad range of peaks for a time and then revert to cloud banks, reflecting rosy tints, as mounts the orb of day.
Before you now in glare of day is a prehistoric city of Babylonish splendor. It seems to have been covered with the sands of ages and appears now as if largely revealed by recent excavations still to be completed, banks of earth still in part enshrouding edifices and walls the impression mounting that further beauties are yet to be revealed.
Far in the east you see the modern Utah town of Tropic, surrounded by its fertile green fields, a touch of reality to bring fancy back to earth. But the spell of Bryce Canyon hangs long in your memory. ”