Lithograph from the Pacific Railroad Survey
of the Sierra Blanca
near Fort Massachusetts
(larger scan and history
Lithograph - a
lithograph printed from 2 or 3 stones, one producing the details of the
image in black ink, and 1 or 2 others providing some wash-like coloring
(typically fawn, blue, green or gray).
1853, the U.S. Congress authorized the Corps of Topographic Engineers to
undertake a survey of potential rail routes between the Mississippi River
and the Pacific Ocean. This print is an illustration from the report
of the survey at the 38th and 39th parallels under the leadership of Captain
John W. Gunnison, assisted by Lt. Edward G. Beckwith, who surveyed routes
in Kansas, Colorado and Utah. Gunnison, Richard H. Kern, topographer
and artist to the expedition, and seven others were killed by Ute Indians
along the Sevier River in Utah. Beckwith assumed leadership and the
survey explored routes at the 41st parallel which Beckwith (and Gunnison
before him) recommended as an economical and practicable route.
Although this suggestion had little influence at the time of the survey,
the first transcontinental railroad completed in 1869, when the Union Pacific
and the Central Pacific Railroads were joined at Promontory Point, Utah,
basically followed Beckwith's route.
This lithograph is 146 years old; it is not a modern reproduction.
Title: Peaks of the Sierra Blanca, from near Fort
Mix Stanley (1814-1872) from a sketch by Richard
H. Kern (1821-1853).
Richard Kern was actually the
artist of the Pacific Railroad Survey at the 38th and 39th parallels; he
was the one who made the original drawings and paintings. Because he was
killed in October, 1853 by Ute Indians in Utah, John Mix Stanley prepared
the images for lithography. Stanley, a noted artist himself, was
artist to the northern route of the USPRR Survey under Gov. Isaac Stevens,
that explored the area between St. Paul and Puget Sound.
Sarony & Co., New York.
Size: 8 3/4 x 5 7/8 inches.
Size including margins: 11 1/4 x 8 1/2
inches. (Scan below includes margins)