Trails to Rails: John Mix Stanley and the Pacific Railroad Survey of the 1850s

February 1, 2014 - September 28, 2014



 

Object labels from the exhibition

John Mix Stanley (1814-1872), from a sketch by R.H. Kern, printed by A. Hoen & Co. (Baltimore, MD)
Sangre de Cristo Pass Looking Towards San Luis Valley, ca. 1855
USPRR Exp. & Surveys - 38th & 39th Parallels
hand-colored lithograph
Bequest of Owen Williams. 2013.4.7
 
Aug 24- "Following the base of the Sierra Blanco on our route, with the broad Valley of San Luis on our left, we encamped, after traveling 14 miles, on a small stream from the mountain, which soon sinks into the plain. . .we experienced considerable difficulty in driving over the thick masses of sage which cover almost the entire surface of this immense valley. . .the aeration of our present camp above sea is 7,638 feet. . .from this point to the foot of the pass where it opens into the valley of San Luis, and thence to its summit, there is, unfortunately, a want of clearness in the record of the estimated distances from point to point where observations were made for distances of lever. . .but above this point this pass is entirely practicable for a railroad. . ."
-John W. Gunnison
 
Kern accompanied the Central Pacific Survey led under Gunnison. Among many others on this expedition, Gunnison and Kern were killed during a conflict with Ute Indians. Before his death, Kern made sketches, including this image, later finished by Stanley.
 
 
John Mix Stanley (1814-1872), from a sketch by R.H. Kern, printed by A. Hoen & Co. (Baltimore, MD)
View of Sangre de Cristo Pass: Looking northeast from Camp north of Summit Aug 11th, ca. 1855
USPRR Exp. & Surveys - 38th & 39th Parallels
hand-colored lithograph
Bequest of Owen Williams. 2013.4.8
 
Aug 11- " . . . This descent was difficult, and so sideling that we were obliged to hold the wagons by hand-ropes to prevent their being overturned by following the rivulet from the river this difficulty would be avoided , we ascended it from some distance through waving fields of grass quite up to our saddle-girths; cutting a road for a short distance through a forest of quaking-asp as we turned to our left, encamped, in a shower of rain, amidst luxuriant fields of bluegrass (of the mountain men) and flowers."
-John W. Gunnison
 
 
Charles Koppel, printed by A. Hoen & Co. (Baltimore, MD)
Rounded Hills, Tertiary (Between Ocoya Creek and Posuncula River), ca. 1855
USPRR Exp. & Surveys - California
hand-colored lithograph
Bequest of Owen Williams. 2013.4.2
 
Koppel used the figures to create a sense of scale. R.S. Williamson, head of the Pacific Coast expedition, wrote of these hills, "The perfectly even surface that they present, entirely bare of rocks or vegetation of any size renders the ascent of the steep slope impossible." When assembling the publication, A. Hoen & Co., Baltimore reproduced Koppel's image using two main colors: brown and black.
 
 
Charles Koppel, printed by A. Hoen & Co. (Baltimore, MD)
Valley in the Slope of the Great Basin. Leading from the Tejon Pass, ca. 1855
USPRR Exp. & Surveys - California
hand-colored lithograph
Bequest of Owen Williams. 2013.4.4
 
Koppel served as the assistant civil engineer and official artist of the expedition. Intrigued by the unique features of the Tejon Pass he heavily documented the distinctive vegetation and terrain. John G. Parke echoed these feelings in his journals, "The gently ascending or descending slopes permit rapid travelling and the occasional ridges and peaks offer inviting points of view"
 
 
Albert H. Campbell (1826-1899)
Valley of the Aravaypa from Bear Springs, ca. 1855
USPRR Exp. & Surveys - 32d Parallel California
hand-colored lithograph
Bequest of Owen Williams. 2013.4.5
 
Campbell contributed sketches and illustrations for the railroad Surveys of the 32nd and 39th parallels, travelling between the Rio Grande and Pima villages on the Gila River, in today's Arizona and New Mexico. The image depicts immense plains and distant mountains, and is among the first images of the area to be produced in a geological survey of this type.
 
 
Albert H. Campbell (1826-1899), printed by A. Hoen & Co. (Baltimore, MD)
Porphyritic Statue Peloncillo Range, ca. 1855
USPRR Exp. & Surveys - 32d Parallel California
hand-colored lithograph
Bequest of Owen Williams. 2013.4.6
 
As this was a geological survey attesting to the desirability of a railroad route, artist Campbell sketched a porphyritic formation of igneous rocks in this mountain range. John G. Parke described the land resources:
 
"Section 1- Soil. The richness of the soil of this plain is fully attested by the crops raised by these Indians (Pima and Maricopa villages) but it is very doubtful whether much of the bottom land can be made productive, other than that now cultivated in the immediate vicinity, owing to the limited supply of water for irrigation, the bed of the river being entirely dry at times below the villages."
 
 
John Mix Stanley (1814-1872), printed by Sarony, Major and Knapp (New York)
Minnehaha or Brown's Falls Near Fort Snelling, ca.1855
USPRR Exp. & Surveys - 47th & 49th Parallels
hand-colored lithograph
Bequest of Owen Williams. 2013.4.9
 
"One of the curiosities of our vicinity, which was sketched by Mr. Stanley, and which is shown in the accompanying sketch, (No. 2,) is the Minne-ha-ha, or the Laughing Water, called also Brown's Falls. It is situated west of the Mississippi and distant about three miles from Fort Snelling. . .Though the magnitude of this cascade is not such as to excite wonder, its picturesque beauty and pleasing melody attract the admiration of every visitor."
- Isaac I. Stevens, Governor of Washington Territory.
 
Often translated as "Laughing Water," the correct meaning of the Dakota word Minnehaha is "Waterfall". The alternate name, Brown's Falls, was given in honor of Major General Jacob Brown in the 1820s. Located near Fort Snelling and within today's Minneapolis, this waterfall was a beautiful sight for those on the Northern Pacific Survey.
 
 
John .Mix Stanley (1814-1872), printed by Sarony, Major and Knapp (New York)
Sauk River, ca. 1855
USPRR Exp. & Surveys - 47th & 49th Parallels
hand-colored lithograph
Bequest of Owen Williams. 2013.4.10
 
Isaac I. Stevens wrote in his journal about the Sauk River on June 16 1853, "Sauk River at our ford is about 120 feet wide, though, owing to the obliquity of the banks and rapidity of current, the ford is near 300 feet wide and the water is five feet deep." The next day, the group crossed the river - "In the crossing of the Sauk by the main train the India rubber boots were, for the first time, used . . . a rope was stretched across the stream and the boats ferried across by means of a ring attached to their bows and sliding along the rope . . . some of the men were in the water for hours, but worked faithfully and efficiently."
 
 
John Mix Stanley (1814-1872), printed by Sarony, Major and Knapp (New York)
Pike Lake, ca. 1855
USPRR Exp. & Surveys - 47th & 49th Parallels
hand-colored lithograph
Bequest of Owen Williams. 2013.4.13
 
Isaac I Stevens, leader of the Northern Pacific Survey, considered the stop at Pike Lake as the "real starting point of the expedition." He named the camp, "Camp Marcy, in honor of the Secretary of State." The official artist of this Survey, Stanley sketched the image from a distance, and included the number of tents, covered wagons, and figures stationed at the camp.
 
 
John Mix Stanley (1814-1872), printed by Sarony, Major and Knapp (New York)
Bois de Sioux River, ca. 1855
USPRR Exp. & Surveys - 47th & 49th Parallels
hand-colored lithograph
Bequest of Owen Williams. 2013.4.14
 
Using black, green, and blue ink, this lithograph of the Bois de Sioux River (bordering today's Minnesota and North and South Dakota) presents a crisp representation of a breathtaking landscape along the Northern Pacific Survey. Isaac I. Stevens captured the experience in his writings:
". . . undulating and level prairies, skirted by woods of various growth, and clothed everywhere with rich verdure; numerous and rapid streams, with innumerable but limpid lakes, frequented by multitudes of water-fowl, most conspicuous among which appears the stately swan ? these . . .make up the panorama of this extensive district, which may be said to be everywhere fertile, beautiful, and inviting."
 
 
John Mix Stanley (1814-1872), printed by Sarony, Major and Knapp (New York)
Maple River, ca. 1855
USPRR Exp. & Surveys - 47th & 49th Parallels
hand-colored lithograph
Bequest of Owen Williams. 2013.4.15
 
The Survey reports often included tips for future travelers to the area. Isaac I. Stevens penned, "It would be an excellent plan for an emigrant travelling through the country, before reaching one of these rivers on which he expects to camp, to catch a few frogs, for the purpose of fishing in these streams, which abound pike, picarel, and large catfish. Frogs are by far the best bait that can be used." He found the Maple River plentiful with resources.
 
 
John Mix Stanley (1814-1872), printed by Sarony, Major and Knapp (New York)
Shyenne River, ca. 1855
USPRR Exp. & Surveys - 47th & 49th Parallels
hand-colored lithograph
Bequest of Owen Williams. 2013.4.16
 
On July 8, 1853, the Isaac I. Stevens party arrived at the Shyenne River, in what is now North Dakota, after a march of about 15 miles. Stevens wrote, "Buttes in considerable number are seen ahead. . .we went into camp about one o'clock, on the South and East side of the Shyenne and a party was at once detailed to cut wood and prepare charcoal." Stanley sketched a panoramic view of the area, using a human figure, at right, to provide a sense of distance.
 
 
John Mix Stanley (1814-1872), printed by Sarony, Major and Knapp (New York)
Lake Jessie, ca. 1855
USPRR Exp. & Surveys - 47th & 49th Parallels
hand-colored lithograph
Bequest of Owen Williams. 2013.4.18
 
In 1852, the Smithsonian Institute displayed 150 of Stanley's paintings, making the artist famous. The following year he accompanied the Northern Survey under Isaac I. Stevens. Notice the inscription, "Stanley Del." This means that Stanley originally drew the image. Lithographers were hired to painstakingly reproduce the image using a lithography stone, applying ink by hand.
 
 
John Mix Stanley (1814-1872), printed by Sarony, Major and Knapp (New York)
Butte de Morale, ca. 1855
USPRR Exp. & Surveys - 47th & 49th Parallels
hand-colored lithograph
Bequest of Owen Williams. 2013.4.19
 
 
John Mix Stanley (1814-1872), printed by Sarony, Major and Knapp (New York)
Distribution of Goods to the Assiniboines, ca. 1855
USPRR Exp. & Surveys - 47th & 49th Parallels
hand-colored lithograph
Bequest of Owen Williams. 2013.4.20
 
The Isaac I. Stevens Party was grateful for the hospitality of the Assiniboine people they encountered during the Northern Pacific Survey expedition. Stevens commented, "I felt very grateful indeed to those Indians, for their kindness to my men, their proffer of kind feeling and hospitality to myself and the survey." Stevens provided presents of trade goods to these people, and they provided him with 32 dressed skins and 2 robes. They sat together and smoked a pipe as a symbol of welcome and friendship. Stanley commemorated the event in this image.
 
 
John Mix Stanley (1814-1872), printed by Sarony, Major and Knapp (New York)
Near Mouse River, ca. 1855
USPRR Exp. & Surveys - 47th & 49th Parallels
hand-colored lithograph
Bequest of Owen Williams. 2013.4.21
 
Stanley uses curvilinear lines to evoke the feel of sweeping hills and plains near the Mouse River in modern-day North Dakota. Notice the groupings of trees and rock formations that visually divide the expansive landscape and create a pleasing scene.
 
 
John Mix Stanley (1814-1872), printed by Sarony, Major and Knapp (New York)
Milk River, Near Junction of Missouri, ca. 1855
USPRR Exp. & Surveys - 47th & 49th Parallels
hand-colored lithograph
Bequest of Owen Williams. 2013.4.23
 
Stanley's Milk River, Near Junction of Missouri reflects a tranquil environment with copious resources; an Eden-like setting. He purposefully centered resting deer in the center of the composition to present a peaceful and pristine sight. The supply of spring water and cottonwood trees would have appealed to those interested in the production of the transcontinental railroad. Why would these be important?
 
 
John Mix Stanley (1814-1872), printed by Sarony, Major and Knapp (New York)
A Cotton Wood Grove, ca. 1855
USPRR Exp. & Surveys - 47th & 49th Parallels
hand-colored lithograph
Bequest of Owen Williams. 2013.4.25
 
 
John Mix Stanley (1814-1872), printed by Sarony, Major and Knapp (New York)
Milk River and Panther Mountain, ca. 1855
USPRR Exp. & Surveys - 47th & 49th Parallels
hand-colored lithograph
Bequest of Owen Williams. 2013.4.26
 
"I dispatched a small party across Milk River to Panther Hill (See sketch) to observe the country . . ." wrote Isaac I. Stevens, leader of the Northern Pacific Survey. Stevens often sent Stanley and other members of his party ahead to scout the upcoming terrain. Sending smaller groups to assess the difficulties of the topography helped determine what course to pursue.
 
 
John Mix Stanley (1814-1872), printed by Sarony, Major and Knapp (New York)
Distribution of Good to the Gros Ventres, ca. 1855
USPRR Exp. & Surveys - 47th & 49th Parallels
hand-colored lithograph
Bequest of Owen Williams. 2013.4.27
 
Stanley documented the encounter with the Gros Ventres people at Milk River. The explorers were invited to the Gros Ventres camp and the two groups exchanged gifts in friendship. The Stevens Party provided ". . . blankets, shirts, calico, knives, beads, paint, powder, shot, tobacco, hard bread, etc."
 
 
John Mix Stanley (1814-1872), printed by Sarony, Major and Knapp (New York)
Bear's Paw, ca. 1855
USPRR Exp. & Surveys - 47th & 49th Parallels
hand-colored lithograph
Bequest of Owen Williams. 2013.4.30
 
Isaac I. Stevens recorded in his journal on August 30, 1853, "Yesterday we were in sight of the Bear's Paw, quite a broad and rugged mountain upheaval, stretching from the Milk River to the Missouri." The viewpoint of Stanley's image appears to be from a higher elevation looking on toward the men on horseback. He may have travelled a small distance away from the group in order to capture the full perspective of the landscape.
 
 
 
John Mix Stanley (1814-1872), printed by Sarony, Major and Knapp (New York)
Lieut. Crovers Despatch - Return of Governor Stevens to Fort Benton, ca. 1855
USPRR Exp. & Surveys - 47th & 49th Parallels
hand-colored lithograph
Bequest of Owen Williams. 2013.4.24
 
 
John Mix Stanley (1814-1872), printed by Sarony, Major and Knapp (New York)
Fort Benton, ca. 1855
USPRR Exp. & Surveys - 47th & 49th Parallels
hand-colored lithograph
Bequest of Owen Williams. 2013.4.32
 
When the Isaac I. Stevens Party arrived at Fort Benton, Stanley sketched its structure and outlying area on the bank of the Missouri near the Great Bend. Fort Benton's architecture starkly contrasts with its natural surroundings. Of the fort, Stevens documented, "Its front is made of wood and the other sides of adobe or unburned brick and contains a dozen men and the families of several of them."
 
 
John Mix Stanley (1814-1872), printed by Sarony, Major and Knapp (New York)
Marias River, ca. 1855
USPRR Exp. & Surveys - 47th & 49th Parallels
hand-colored lithograph
Bequest of Owen Williams. 2013.4.33
 
Stanley accompanied Abiel Tinkham on a smaller expedition toward the Marias River, covering a distance of about 30 miles from the rest of the survey party. The artist studied the river and steep slopes to visually document the region, as well as the difficulty of passing. Of the river, notes taken included, "Water was 150 feet wide and 2-4 feet deep, slightly milky, with soft current and pebbly bottom."
 
 
John Mix Stanley (1814-1872), printed by Sarony, Major and Knapp (New York)
Approach to Cadotte's Pass, ca. 1855
USPRR Exp. & Surveys - 47th & 49th Parallels
hand-colored lithograph
Bequest of Owen Williams. 2013.4.35
 
 
John Mix Stanley (1814-1872), printed by Sarony, Major and Knapp (New York)
Fort Owen - Flathead Village, ca. 1855
USPRR Exp. & Surveys - 47th & 49th Parallels
hand-colored lithograph
Bequest of Owen Williams. 2013.4.37
 
 
John Mix Stanley (1814-1872), printed by Sarony, Major and Knapp (New York)
Victor's Camp - Hell Gate Ronde, ca. 1855
USPRR Exp. & Surveys - 47th & 49th Parallels
hand-colored lithograph
Bequest of Owen Williams. 2013.4.38
 
The Isaac I. Stevens Party visited Victor, a Flathead Chief. Stevens and Victor discussed the country, the winters, and other Indians. Staying at camp at the junction of the Bitterroot and Hell Gate (in today's Montana), Stevens decided to remain at this location until the dispatched party led by Abiel Tinkham returned.
 
 
John Mix Stanley (1814-1872), printed by Sarony, Major and Knapp (New York)
Awaiting the Return of Mr. Tinkham, ca. 1855
USPRR Exp. & Surveys - 47th & 49th Parallels
hand-colored lithograph
Bequest of Owen Williams. 2013.4.39
 
Anxiously awaiting the return of a member of the party, Stanley captured one of the more lighthearted moments of the journey. On October 6, 1853, a huge joint of beef was put on the spit in readiness for the returning man. Sgt. Simpson, the cook, bends over the fire. ". . . with huge drops of perspiration rolling from his glowing red face, a picture was presented which Mr. Stanley thought not unworthy a trail of his pencil."
 
 
John Mix Stanley (1814-1872), printed by Sarony, Major and Knapp (New York)
Crossing the Bitter Root, ca. 1855
USPRR Exp. & Surveys - 47th & 49th Parallels
hand-colored lithograph
Bequest of Owen Williams. 2013.4.40
 
The US Secretary of War, Jefferson Davis, approved the Corps of Topographical Engineers to make the explorations and surveys to determine routes for a transcontinental railroad. It was approved on March 3, 1854 by the Thirty-Third Congress, appropriating the sum of $150,000 from the US Treasury to defray costs of the expeditions.
 
 
John Mix Stanley (1814-1872), printed by Sarony, Major and Knapp (New York)
Chemakane Mission, ca. 1855
USPRR Exp. & Surveys - 47th & 49th Parallels
hand-colored lithograph
Bequest of Owen Williams. 2013.4.43
 
Located in present-day Idaho, the Chemakane Mission was named for a spring near the structure. Though abandoned in 1849, the mission was still standing when the explorers arrived. Look closely. What do you think is happening in this image?
 
 
John Mix Stanley (1814-1872), printed by Sarony, Major and Knapp (New York)
Cascades of the Columbia, ca. 1855
USPRR Exp. & Surveys - 47th & 49th Parallels
hand-colored lithograph
Bequest of Owen Williams. 2013.4.46
 
When the Survey party arrived at the cascades of the Columbia River, the artist chose to depict the area's characteristic very choppy waves and rocky formations. Other explorers that reached the site years before the Pacific Railroad Survey, such as Lewis and Clark, observed this scene with wonder and awe. Based on this image, do you think Stanley felt the same way, or different?
 
 
John Mix Stanley (1814-1872), printed by Sarony, Major and Knapp (New York)
Hot Spring Mound, in the "Deer Lodge" Prairie, of the Rocky Mountains, ca. 1855
USPRR Exp. & Surveys - 47th & 49th Parallels
hand-colored lithograph
Bequest of Owen Williams. 2013.4.49
 
In the extensive collection of lithographs for the Pacific Railroad Surveys, a unique oval format was sometimes engaged which provided a subtle frame of the image. According to Isaac I. Stevens' writings about the Hot Spring Mound, the conical mount measured 30 feet high, and the base contained springs of hot water with white "salt" deposits.
 
 
John Mix Stanley (1814-1872), printed by Sarony, Major and Knapp (New York)
Bear's Teeth, Missouri River: Gate of the Mountains, ca. 1855
USPRR Exp. & Surveys - 47th & 49th Parallels
hand-colored lithograph
Bequest of Owen Williams. 2013.4.50
 
 
John Mix Stanley (1814-1872), printed by Sarony, Major and Knapp (New York)
View of the Clark's Fork and the Ridge of Mountains South of the Flathead Lake, Looking Eastward, ca. 1855
USPRR Exp. & Surveys - 47th & 49th Parallels
hand-colored lithograph
Bequest of Owen Williams. 2013.4.52
 
Isaac I. Stevens' final report proposed the most practical terrain for a railroad from the Northern Survey, which included Clark's Fork and the Flathead River Valley. However, sometimes the only instruments the party used in making determinations were a pocket- compass and a barometer. This may have led to incorrect data or partial information.
 
 
John Mix Stanley (1814-1872), printed by Sarony, Major and Knapp (New York)
Flathead Lake, Looking Southward, ca. 1855
USPRR Exp. & Surveys - 47th & 49th Parallels
hand-colored lithograph
Bequest of Owen Williams. 2013.4.53
 
 
John Mix Stanley (1814-1872), printed by J. Bien (New York)
Flathead Lake, Looking Southward, ca. 1855
USPRR Exp. & Surveys - 47th & 49th Parallels
hand-colored lithograph
Bequest of Owen Williams. 2013.4.58
 
 
Gustav Sohon (1825-1903), printed by Sarony, Major and Knapp (New York)
Crossing the Hellgate River May 5th 1854, ca. 1855
USPRR Exp. & Surveys - 47th & 49th Parallels
hand-colored lithograph
Bequest of Owen Williams. 2013.4.54
 
Sohon depicts a dangerous episode when the Survey party nearly drowned while trying to cross the Hellgate River near Clark's Fork in Montana. Luckily, the raft became attached to a snag in the river, providing their rescue.
 
 
John Mix Stanley (1814-1872), printed by Sarony, Major and Knapp (New York)
Hot Springs at Source of Lou Lou Fork, Bitter Root Mountains, Looking West, ca. 1855
USPRR Exp. & Surveys - 47th & 49th Parallels
hand-colored lithograph
Bequest of Owen Williams. 2013.4.56
 
At the summit of the Bitterroot Mountains, Stanley sketched this perspective with pine and cedar trees, mountains, and open sky. Isaac I. Stevens, Governor of the Washington Territory and the leader of the Northern Pacific Survey, noted within this vicinity "a hot spring with a temperature of 132 degrees, around which was a fine prairie camping ground."
 
Who are Sarony, Major and Knapp? Napoleon Sarony learned lithography from his father. When he migrated to New York in 1836 from Quebec City, he apprenticed for lithographers, and in 1846 opened a business with Henry Major as his partner. From ca.1857- 1864 the company name expanded to "Sarony, Major, and Knapp" with J.F. Knapp. It ultimately became the largest lithographic business in North America, changing their title to American Lithographic Company.
 
 
Gustav Sohon (1825-1903), printed by J. Bien (New York)
Cantonment Stevens, Looking Westward, ca. 1855
USPRR Exp. & Surveys - 47th & 49th Parallels
hand-colored lithograph
Bequest of Owen Williams. 2013.4.63
 
Look at this lithograph and compare it to the other image of Cantonment Stevens, Looking Westward. This print was produced by Julius Bien, a master printer and cartographer. Bien, a European-trained lithographer, pioneered the development of chromolithography?printing images using multiple colors. The printing of the final reports was so extensive and time consuming that multiple companies were hired to print their contents.
 
 
Gustav Sohon (1825-1903), printed by Sarony, Major and Knapp (New York)
Cantonment Stevens, Looking Westward, ca. 1855
USPRR Exp. & Surveys - 47th & 49th Parallels
hand-colored lithograph
Bequest of Owen Williams. 2013.4.57
 
Cantonment Stevens, a military outpost, stood somewhat removed from the Flathead Indian camp and consisted of "four log buildings, one being a large storehouse." The structure also had a corral attached for animals. Sohon documented the survey of the country between the Rocky and Bitterroot Mountain ranges; his first assignment after enlisting in the military.
 
 
Gustav Sohon (1825-1903), printed by Sarony, Major and Knapp (New York)
Great Falls of the Missouri River, ca. 1855
USPRR Exp. & Surveys - 47th & 49th Parallels
hand-colored lithograph
Bequest of Owen Williams. 2013.4.59
 
Sohon, artist and topographical assistant, produced precise landscapes of the Rocky and Bitterroot mountains. He witnessed and depicted this scene; one of the earliest known sketches of the Great Falls of the Missouri. Sohon also had linguistic talents and ultimately served as interpreter in Flathead and Pend d'Oreille languages.
 
 
John Mix Stanley (1814-1872) and Gustav Sohon (1825-1903), printed by Sarony, Major and Knapp (New York)
Source of the Peluse, ca. 1855
USPRR Exp. & Surveys - 47th & 49th Parallels
hand-colored lithograph
Bequest of Owen Williams. 2013.4.61
 
"The Peluse (Palouse) River has its source in the main ridge of the Bitterroot Mountains, and flows in nearly a straight course through a valley some twenty miles wide bearing north through a country densely timbered with pine."
-Isaac I. Stevens
 
 
John Mix Stanley (1814-1872), printed by Sarony, Major and Knapp (New York)
Rocky Mountains, Looking Westward, ca. 1855
USPRR Exp. & Surveys - 47th & 49th Parallels
hand-colored lithograph
Bequest of Owen Williams. 2013.4.64
 
Stanley's view of the Rocky Mountains shown here is believed to be in the vicinity of modern Choteau, Montana. Lewis and Clark trail is labeled with an "a" and Heart Mountain a "b". This image exemplifies the great question of the Northern Pacific Survey: How can a railroad line possibly run through the Rocky Mountains?
 
 
John Mix Stanley (1814-1872), printed by Sarony, Major and Knapp (New York)
Hell Gate - Entrance to Cadotte's Pass from the West, ca. 1855
USPRR Exp. & Surveys - 47th & 49th Parallels
hand-colored lithograph
Bequest of Owen Williams. 2013.4.65
 
In Western Montana, near current day Highway 200, is Cadotte's Pass. Named for Jean Baptiste Cadotte, a French trapper, the Isaac I. Stevens party held utmost confidence that this pass ought to be used for the railroad route through this part of the Rocky Mountains. In the end, the railroad developed in another location.
 
 
Gustav Sohon (1825-1903), printed by Sarony, Major and Knapp (New York)
Crossing the Hellgate River Jan 6th 1854, ca. 1855
USPRR Exp. & Surveys - 47th & 49th Parallels
hand-colored lithograph
Bequest of Owen Williams. 2013.4.66
 
During the winter of 1853-1854, Lt. John Mullan and a small group of men from the Isaac I. Stevens party lingered in the Northern Rockies to conduct additional studies of the terrain. Sohon captures the icy winter day on which the group tremendously struggled crossing the Hellgate River.
 
 
John Mix Stanley (1814-1872), printed by Sarony, Major and Knapp (New York)
Bitter Root River Near Fort Owen, ca. 1855
USPRR Exp. & Surveys - 47th & 49th Parallels
hand-colored lithograph
Bequest of Owen Williams. 2013.4.67
 
 
John Mix Stanley (1814-1872), printed by Sarony, Major and Knapp (New York)
Columbia River Junction of Des Chutes, ca. 1855
USPRR Exp. & Surveys - 47th & 49th Parallels
hand-colored lithograph
Bequest of Owen Williams. 2013.4.68
 
Stanley conveyed the awe of this perspective of the Columbia River junction. He concentrated on the basaltic outcroppings of rock that form the Columbia Gorge. The location is in present-day Maryhill, Washington, a town of about 100 people.
 
 
US War Department
Report of Explorations for Railroad Routes from San Francisco Bay to Los Angeles, California, West of the Coast Range, and from the Pimas Villages on the Gila to the Rio Grande, Near the 32d Parallel of North Latitude
by Lieutenant John G. Parke, Corps of Topographical Engineers, assisted by Albert H. Campbell, Civil Engineer (1854-1855)
Volume 7, Washington, Beverly Tucker, Printer, 1857
On loan from the University of Arizona Library
 
Lithographs of the Pacific Railroad Surveys were produced in a set of twelve bound volumes in Reports and Explorations and Surveys, to Ascertain the Most Practicable and Economical Route for a Railroad from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean, made under the direction of the Secretary of War, in 1853-6. The John G. Parke party explored one of the southernmost routes which went through the Tucson area, travelling to the San Xavier del Bac Mission which is included in volume 7, seen here.

 


Return to Trails to Rails: John Mix Stanley and the Pacific Railroad Survey of the 1850s

 


Search Resource Library for thousands of articles and essays on American art.

Copyright 2014 Traditional Fine Arts Organization, Inc., an Arizona nonprofit corporation. All rights reserved.