Dolph Andrus’s Monumental Highway Expeditions


Monumental Highway Graphic

Monument Valley, with its skyward-reaching red rock buttes in both Utah and Arizona, has long been symbolic of the rugged deserts of the American West. However, before Western films, television shows, and commercials established its fame, Monument Valley was virtually inaccessible for locals and tourists. Even after the invention of the automobile, Monument Valley remained out of reach due to the absence of an effective road system in the harsh terrain. Dolph Andrus of Bluff, Utah, set out to change that, convinced that he could open Monument Valley to automobile tourism.

In the spring of 1917, Andrus left Bluff, Utah, with William H. Hopkins, a dentist and enthusiastic photographer, to complete an automobile journey through Monument Valley and on to Kayenta, Tuba City, and Lee’s Ferry, Arizona. Later that summer, Andrus set off again, this time with photographer L. W. Clement, intending to take pictures of the natural bridges and monuments of the valley. Andrus’s wife, Irene, and daughter, Torma, accompanied them on this trip, using burros (donkeys) for transportation.

The bulk of this exhibit consists of the photographs taken during these tours of Monument Valley, Natural Bridges National Monument, Zion National Park, the Colorado River, and the San Juan River. Also featured are images of Andrus’s Maxwell automobile, the personal history of Dolph and Irene Andrus, and the log of these trips. The Dolph Andrus’s Monumental Highway Expeditions Digital Exhibit is comprised of the Dolph Andrus Photograph Collection (P0542) and the Dr. William H. Hopkins Addendum Collection (P0360).

Please visit the Monumental Highway Digital Collection for more information.

Project Team:

  • David Bolingbroke - Digital exhibit curation, summary text (Intern, Special Collections & Archives)
  • Dan Davis - Advisor (Photograph Curator, Special Collections & Archives)
  • John Fienberg - Uploading (Digital Initiatives Assistant, Digital Initiatives Department)
  • Rosie Liljenquist - Metadata (Assistant, Special Collections & Archives)
  • Darcy Pumphrey - Project coordination, image quality control (Digital Library Assistant, Digital Initiatives Department)
  • Mikkel Skinner - Graphic design
  • Keshele Stevens - Image capture (Student Scanning Technician, Digital Initiatives Department)
  • Liz Woolcott - Metadata coordination, metadata quality control (Digital Discovery Librarian, Digital Initiatives Department)