1870s Lake City Colorado Gold Mining Supply Depot / Store Stereoview Photo
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1870s Lake City Colorado Gold Mining Supply Depot / Store Stereoview Photo:
Very rare and simply fantastic, 1870's, Colorado Gold Mining Albumen, Stereoview Photograph depicting a large pack Mule train and gold miners gathered in front of a business in the Boomtown of Lake City, Colorado which specialized in outfitting and supplies for miners heading to the Gold Mines in the San Juan Mountain region. This wonderful, Western Americana Stereoview measures approx. 7" by 3 7/8" and is mounted on its original, flat buff colored card mount. The Image is titled in period manuscript ink on the reverse "Pack train near Rose's Cabin / San Juan Colo.".
The Photo is a simply amazing Image with a log cabin style building at the center. Large lettered trade signs above the door of the establishment read "Boot & Co. / Meat Market, Storage, Groceries, Liquors and Cigars". The proprietor of the business stands in the doorway and a small broadside advertising "Boot & Co." is affixed to the building at the right of the door. In front of the Supply Store there is a mass of mules loaded down with supplies for the Gold Mines. At least 5 rough and tumble Miners can be seen among the crowd of burros. The animals are loaded down with kegs, crates and sacks of supplies - the photo is so sharp that you can read the address on one of the crates strapped to the back of a burro - the address reads "John Swanson" at "... Mine".
This fantastic Photograph was taken by Thomas E. Barnhouse who operated a studio in Lake City in the 1870's and 1880's. Although it does not carry a photographer's mark the view is known from later examples issued by Barnhouse as part of a series of Stereoviews titled "Views of San Juan". This is obviously a VERY early example of this amazing Photograph as the Image not only has no printed photographer's markings of any kind but is exceptionally crisp with rich, warm tonality and razor sharp focus.
Gold was first discovered in the area around Denver, Colorado in 1858. Early miners traced the placer gold to its source in the mountains west of Denver, then followed the Colorado Mineral Belt in a southwest direction across the state to its terminus in the San Juan Mountains. Lake City was incorporated in 1875 and quickly developed as a supply center for miners and prospectors in the San Juan Mountains. Boot & Co. was obviously one of the early merchants who specialized in supplying those headed for the San Juan Gold Mines and the proprietor used the largest letters on his trade sign to advertise the most important supplies "Groceries, Liquors and Cigars"!!!
This outstanding, Western Americana / Colorado Gold Mining Boomtown Stereoview Photo is in excellent condition - both the photos and the card mount are crisp and clean and the images exhibit a very strong, stereo effect when viewed through a Stereoscope. The Photos exhibit razor sharp focus, extra strong contrast and a fantastic rich, warm tonality. There is an area at the upper right hand corner of the left hand Photograph that we originally thought was stained but we were able to find 2 other examples of this Image (although obviously later issues in faded condition) that had the identical mark in the identical spot. Upon close inspection of the Stereoview offered here it is easy to see that this is not damage of any kind but instead a flaw in the original negative used to print all examples of this View. The View was simply so fantastic that the Photographer decided to eventually publish it even though the original negative was slightly flawed. The Card Mount has some light edge wear and light soiling.
An exceptionally rare and simply amazing, Colorado Gold Mining Albumen, Stereoview Photograph depicting a large pack Mule train and gold miners gathered in front of a business in the Boomtown of Lake City, Colorado which specialized in outfitting and supplies for miners heading to the Gold Mines in the San Juan Mountain region and destined for a place at the center of even the most advanced Western Americana or Colorado Gold Mining Photo Collection!!!
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