The Hance Brothers in Yavapai County

Publish Date: 2019-07-20

By Shane Murphy

Today, John Hance is widely remembered as the Grand Canyon’s famous storyteller. Even President Theodore Roosevelt called him the “greatest liar on earth.” But he also built the first road to the Grand Canyon where he constructed the first trail to the river, becoming the Canyon’s first permanent white resident and tourism entrepreneur. Not so well known today, but certainly as industrious, energetic and witty, John’s 11-years-younger half-brother George Washington Hance was the acknowledged “informal mayor” of Camp Verde for nearly half a century. Both were the patriarchs of their respective communities.

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Sharlot Hall Library & Archives

This photo is a Bate Brother's Studio photograph of both the auto bridge and train trestle crossing Hell Canyon near Drake, Arizona. Thomas and Claude Bate were Arizona photographers that traveled across Central and Northern Arizona capturing a variety of subjects and scenes. They had studios based in Phoenix and Prescott so they could photograph the many mines and mining operations that were in the area for the owners and people back East.

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