A look back: 2019 Powell Family Reunion after Powell Museum closed for repairs

Walter Schrading poses on July 22, 2019, with a July 31, 1969, Lake Powell Chronicle Special Supplement picturing his Uncle Wes.

On July 22, 2019, descendants of John Wesley Powell didn’t let the Powell Museum’s water damage stop their scheduled reunion. The museum had closed a month earlier because of water damage. The families gathered at the damaged building to celebrate the museum’s 50th anniversary and the 150th anniversary of Powell’s pioneering journey down the Colorado River. Walter Schrading and Nancy Davis organized the event and donated money to help with museum repairs. 

Schrading, a professor of emergency medicine at University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital, on hearing about the museum reopening told the Chronicle, “Great to learn that the museum will be back open for folks to learn about Uncle Wes and the canyon!” He witnessed the original opening of Powell Museum at 9 years old.

Schrading’s daughter, Catherine, is proud of the family’s heritage. She and her cousins plan to continue the gatherings into the future. The tradition grew from a chain letter titled the “Merry Go Round.” The family newsletter began in the 1880s and continues today. 

“These reunions began long before I was born and I will do everything I can to ensure they endure into the next generation and beyond,” Catherine said. 

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