A Lost City In The
Grand Canyon?

By Chris Maier
© 2003

On April 5, 1909, the Arizona Gazette published an article detailing the discovery of a "great underground citadel" located in the Grand Canyon. The discovery was purportedly made by G. E Kinkaid (or Kincaid as both spellings are used), while he was traveling down the Colorado River.
The southwest is home to many ancient ruins from cultures such as the Hopi, the Chumash and the Anasazi, but the city described in the Gazette article is clearly different. The article states that the race who once inhabited the cavern were of "oriental origin, possibly from Egypt."
Upon entering the cave, Kinkaid describes finding mummies as well as a shrine containing: "the idol, or image, of the peoples god, sitting cross-legged, with a Lotus flower or Lily in each hand. The cast of the face is Oriental, and the carving shows a skillful hand, and the entire is remarkably well preserved, as is everything in this cavern. The idol most resembles Buddha"
Kinkaid also finds what he believes to be hieroglyphic writing similar to that "found in the peninsula of Yucatan." Two animals are depicted in the pictorial writing. Curiously, "[o]ne is of prehistoric type."
An idea of the scale of the discovery can be determined by Kinkaid's estimate that upwards of 50,000 people could have once lived in this system of tunnels and caves.
Was the story faked?
So, could this article be for real or was it just a late April Fool's joke? Arguments can be made for both cases.
The article mentions two people by name: G. E Kinkaid/Kincaid and Professor S. A. Jordon from the Smithsonian Institution. I searched through records from the Smithsonian from 1900 to 1914 and could find no mention of either individual. Inquiries posed directly to the Smithsonian by other researchers have yielded consistent denials of any records of a G. E. Kinkaid or a professor S. A. Jordan ever having worked for the Smithsonian.
The 1909 article also describes G. E. Kinkaid as "the first white child born in Idaho." I followed up on this lead with the Idaho State Historical Society and received the following response:
"Regrettably, we find no word of a G E Kincaid in any of the pre-1900 federal, state (Idaho) or local (Idaho) records we consulted.
There appears to be some confusion about Mr. Kincaid's status as the first European American child born in Idaho. That distinction belongs to Eliza Spaulding, the daughter of missionaries Henry Harmon Spaulding and Narcissa Spaulding, who was born at Lapwai, Idaho, in 1837."
It is possible that Kinkaid believed he was the first Caucasian child born in Idaho and he was merely mistaken. It is also possible that further research will reveal additional details of Kinkaid's past, but so far this lead has turned into a dead end.
Could the Story be True?
There are a few points that would seem to indicate that the 1909 article describes a genuine discovery. If the article were a late April Fool's joke or merely a fictitious article created to fill space on an otherwise slow news day, one would assume that the mention of the story would be a one time occurrence.
The article begins: "The latest news of the progress of the explorations of what is now regarded by scientists as not only the oldest archaeological discovery in the United States, but one of the most valuable in the world, which was mentioned some time ago in the Gazette" Indeed there was a previous story printed in the Gazette about the explorations of G. E. Kincaid. On March 12, 1909 a short, mundane description of Kincaid's journey is given. Only the last sentence, "[s]ome interesting archaeological discoveries were unearthed..." gives any indication of the fantastic discoveries made on his trip.
It seems unlikely that such a short, straightforward article would have been fabricated to set up a fictional story that would not be printed for another three weeks.
The March 12 article states that Kincaid traveled the entire length of the Colorado River and that he was "the second man to make this journey." So what of the first man to make this journey? That honor goes to John Wesley Powell who explored the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon from 1869 to 1872.
In his book Exploration of the Colorado River and its Canyons, Powell describes his journey through the Grand Canyon. As he is passing through an area known as Marble Canyon, Powell sees in the canyon walls that, "great numbers of caves are hollowed out, and carvings are seen which suggest architectural forms, though on a scale so grand that architectural terms belittle them." Powell may be using the term "architectural forms" to describe the beauty of the natural formations, but the fact that he includes mention of a great number of caves in the same sentence is certainly curious when viewed in the context of the 1909 Gazette article.
Later on, Powell describes a curious discovery:
"I walk down the gorge to the left at the foot of the cliff, climb to a bench, and discover a trail deeply worn into the rock. Where it crosses the side gulches in some places steps have been cut. I can see no evidence of its having been traveled for a long time. It was doubtless a path used by the people who inhabited this country anterior to the present Indian races-the people who built the communal houses of which mention has been made.
"I returned to camp about three o'clock and find that some of the men have discovered ruins and many fragments of pottery; also etchings and hieroglyphics on the rocks."
Compare Powell's discovery to the entrance described by G. E. Kinkaid:
"There are steps leading from this entrance some thirty yards from what was at the time the cavern was inhabited, the level of the river." Both accounts describe stone steps carved into the rocks. The Gazette article also describes Kinkaid's discovery of "tablets engraved with hieroglyphics."
Powell also speculates that the creators of the steps he found were a race of people who came before the Indian races. He does not speculate on their origin, but it appears possible that both Powell and Kinkaid are describing discoveries that point to the same culture.
The Smithsonian
The 1909 article clearly states that the Smithsonian is involved with studying and excavating the site. However, the Smithsonian denies that any such discovery ever occurred. This brings up the larger question that if this was a true story, why would the Smithsonian have covered up what certainly would be one of the most significant archeological finds of the twentieth century? Believe it or not, there is precedence for the Smithsonian "losing" information about discoveries that are deemed to not fit in with currently accepted dogma about the history of America and its interaction or lack thereof with other ancient civilizations.
In his book, Lost Cities of North & Central America, David Hatcher Childress also covers the 1909 Arizona Gazette article and relates three instances where the Smithsonian has "lost" or covered up finds that go against orthodox isolationist views.
In the first instance, a story is related from the winter, 1992 issue of The Stonewatch Newsletter that describes stone coffins being discovered in 1892 in Alabama and then sent to the Smithsonian and subsequently "lost." The coffins were especially curious because "Indians in North America never used coffin burials, as Europeans did." The newsletter concludes by saying, "This all seems to be another instance of possible pre-Columbian evidence neglected and lost."
The second example comes from the research of Ivan T. Sanderson who received a letter detailing the discovery of giant human remains beneath the site of an airstrip on the Aleutian island of Shemya during World War II. The remains consisted of leg bones and crania measuring 22 to 24 inches from base to crown. This is astounding when compared to a normal human skull with measurements of only eight inches. Sanderson confirmed the report by contacting another member of the unit who was present during the discovery of the remains. Both contacts indicated that the Smithsonian Institution had collected the bones, yet the Smithsonian has released no data from any such find.
The last example that Childress relates is from a 1970's documentary in which a former Smithsonian security guard describes how he saw relics retrieved from Mount Ararat in Turkey, allegedly from a giant ship. Many people believe that Mount Ararat was the resting place of Noah's Ark as described in the Bible. The guard goes on to say that an expedition was made to this site in 1969, but "the artifacts were suppressed and never released to the public."
Further information regarding the Smithsonian's policy in dealing with the discovery of artifacts and information that might contradict an isolationist point of view can be found in an article published by Ross Hamilton at In the article, Ross details many examples of unusually large bones discovered within the burial mounds along the east coast of America. The Smithsonian investigated literally thousands of these mounds and recovered from them bones and artifacts. Unfortunately the more intriguing contents of the mounds have been "lost" within the Smithsonian keeping them safely out of the hands of researchers who might want to study them using modern techniques.
There does appear to be a pattern of the Smithsonian covering up information that might contradict the prevailing view that Columbus "discovered" America and that prior to this "discovery" the only inhabitants of this land were the Native Americans.
The Search
It is my intention to search for the site of the cave described in the 1909 Arizona Gazette article. I will be hiking down into the canyon in mid-October with a number of clues that I hope will help lead me to the site described by Kinkaid.
Of course it is possible that the discovery never occurred and that there is nothing to find. If that's the case, then at a minimum, I should have a beautiful hike into an extraordinary part of America.
If anyone has any information on the veracity of the 1909 article or the existence of the cave described in it, <>I'd love to hear from you. Any information received will be kept strictly confidential if requested.
© 2003 Chris Maier




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