Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Proof Of The Legend For Western Wednesday...!

In this day of electronic marvels, we forget that it hasn't been that long ago that photography was something new and exciting. This story is about a first in the history of the early west and in photography.

Elusive Mount of the Holy Cross photographed

William Henry Jackson becomes the first person to photograph Colorado’s elusive Mount of the Holy Cross, providing reliable proof of its existence.

Rumors had abounded for years that a natural cross of snow lay hidden high in the rugged mountains of Colorado. Many claimed to have seen the cross, but others were unable to find it. In August 1873, the photographer William Henry Jackson set out to prove its existence by taking a picture of it. Jackson was an experienced wilderness photographer who had accompanied wagon trains to California in 1866 and was employed as expedition photographer on Ferdinand Hayden’s survey of the Yellowstone region in 1871. Published in popular mass-circulation magazines like Harper’s Weekly, his images became immensely popular and showed Americans a rugged western wilderness that most would never see firsthand.

Jackson had heard rumors of the extraordinary cross of snow that occasionally appeared on the face of a high mountain peak. Jackson led a small party to the supposed site in north central Colorado in the summer of 1873. Jackson found the cross, though there was nothing miraculous about its cause. After thousands of years of erosion, two deep ravines had formed in the steep rocky face of a mountain peak. Intersecting at a 90-degree angle, the ravines sheltered the winter snow from the sun well after the rest of the mountain snow had melted away. For a brief time, a nearly perfect cross of snow appeared on the rock face, though it often melted away later in the summer.

In the pre-dawn hours of this day in 1873, Jackson prepared the heavy camera equipment he had carried up the mountain opposite the cross. He took his photos of the cross just as the first rays of the sun angled low across the crevassed face, emphasizing the lines of the cross. The best of the resulting photos became one of Jackson’s most popular and famous images, and it ended any further doubts about the existence of the Mount of the Holy Cross.

Imagine what a sight that must have been and what a stir the picture must have caused when seen for the first time. Amazing!

Coffee out on the patio this morning.


Gorges Smythe said...

I hadn't heard of it before. Interesting!

linda m said...

I never heard of that cross. Then again I don't live in CO. I'll guess I will go look it up. I am glad that "early" photographer had the gumption to go take a picture of it. Thanks for sharing.

Hermit's Baby Sis said...

I, too, have never heard of it - we'll all need to go find the photo.
Thanks, Bubba ~
Bug hugs ~

JO said...

Never have heard of the cross either. To bad the didn't have the picture.

See you on the patio

HermitJim said...

Hey Gorges...
I reckon it was more of a local thing.
Thanks for stopping by today!

Hey Linda...
So many of the pictures from the early days were due to the dedication of the photographers.
Thanks for coming by today!

Hey Sis...
Must have been quite a sight for those seeing it for the first time.
Thanks for the visit, Sis!

Hey Jo...
I would have put it with the post had it been available.
Thanks, sweetie, for dropping by today!

Dizzy-Dick said...

I found a lot of pictures of it on the internet. Check out the pictures here: