Historic Kolb Studio

Historic Kolb Studio Renovation – Phases I, II and III

Grand Canyon Association

Kolb Studio is the former home and photography studio of Ellsworth and Emery Kolb, the earliest Grand Canyon entrepreneurs who built, lived and worked in this amazing 1904 building perched on the very edge of the South Rim at the entrance to Bright Angel Trail. The Kolb Brothers established the Grand Canyon’s first successful photography business and their Victorian era building served as home, photography studio and theater for their groundbreaking public slide shows and films. In 1911, they ran the Colorado River and brought back the first “motion pictures” of the Canyon the world had ever seen. For the next 75 years, the brothers produced a body of work that recorded the better part of a remarkable century that continues to play an important role
in national park history and tourism through the American West.

Throughout its century of existence at the Grand Canyon, Kolb Studio has evolved through two major additions and countless minor changes. In partnership with Grand Canyon Association, Loven Contracting performed an unprecedented 3-phase restoration on this historic multi-level building, active museum and darkroom overhanging the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Requiring extensive abatement, one challenge of this project was the removal of all toxic lead paint from the building’s exterior and then returning the abated exterior to the original 1904 presentation. In order to accommodate for the unique geography, all exterior construction work was performed from a crane-suspended work platform. By utilizing historic preservation
specialists and matching era-appropriate materials and finishes, the Loven team was able to restore this iconic studio while respecting the historic fabric of the building.

Throughout construction, Kolb Studio remained in operation and open to the visiting public. Loven Contracting utilized minimally invasive project management and safety plans to ensure that business operations and visitor experiences were minimally affected throughout all phases of construction.