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"You might say this is the first time the state of Wyoming hired someone to promote and advertise what the state looked like," said Heyward Schrock, a former state archivist who retired last month from the State Museum in Cheyenne.
Stimson's Louisiana photos are the subject of a new exhibit at Fort Caspar, which runs through Feb. 23. Schrock will give a lecture on the history of the photographs on Saturday. The 25 photographs on display are reproductions of Stimson's original glass prints. They capture Wyoming's burgeoning industry primarily coal and oil Jordans Mid Tops its sweeping ranchlands, natural wonders like Yellowstone National Park and Devil's Tower, and the state's people.
Around the same time, officials in St. Louis were preparing for the 1904 World's Fair. The fair's theme was the "Louisiana Exhibition" in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Louisiana Purchase. Fair officials sent out a letter to each state in the union, asking for an exhibition featuring its natural resources, industry and people.
The photographs are in color, despite the fact color photography did not yet exist. Stimson hand painted the vast majority of them. He also built the frames and boxes that carried them to St. Louis, Schrock said.
The Louisiana Exhibition changed Stimson's career. He won three silver medals in St. Louis and went on to win more awards when the Louisiana Exhibition traveled to Portland, Ore., following the World's Fair.
relatively successful business, but nothing like the success he would know in future years.
Wyoming paid Stimson $875 to travel the state and produce 182 color photographs. His contract called for 12 18 by 10 inch photographs of each of the state's then 13 counties, 12 18 by 10 inch photographs of Yellowstone National Park and one large 30 by 40 inch picture of each county and the park.
The acclaim attracted the attention of the Union Pacific Railroad, which made Stimson its chief photographer, Schrock said. The railroad gave him a pass that enabled him to ride wherever he liked for free, enabling Stimson to shoot everything from engines and buildings to passengers and landscapes throughout the West. He even was tasked with chronicling train wrecks, likely for insurance purposes, Schrock said.
"It was a very cool time for America, going from a republican government to imperial power after the Spanish American War overseas," Schrock said. "I don't think we've ever looked back."We provide this community forum for readers to exchange ideas and opinions on the news of the day. Passionate views, pointed criticism and critical thinking are welcome. Name calling, crude language and personal abuse are not welcome. Moderators will monitor comments with an eye toward maintaining a high level of civility in this forum. Our comment policy explains the rules of the road for registered commenters.
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"It's Wyoming history," said Rick Young, Fort Caspar museum manager. "This is a real representative sample of Wyoming."
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Photography exhibit shows Wyoming at turn of 20th century
When he died at the age of 82 in 1952, Stimson's family sold his nearly 8,000 photographs to the Wyoming State Museum for the discounted price of $2,000. They serve as a reminder to a period of tremendous change in Western and American history, the former archivist said.
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prepare its entry. Until that time, Stimson primarily shot portraits at his Cheyenne studio. It was a Jordan 11 Retro Bred Low
The pictures themselves were meant to introduce Wyoming to the world, Schrock said. The state was only 13 years old and Wyoming officials likely hoped that they would prompt a new wave of emigration.
Stimson became an iconic Western photographer begins in 1903. Wyoming was a state in transition then. The frontier was disappearing. So too were the region's Native American tribes, and the lifestyle of the state's early settlers. Railroads replaced horses. Electricity arrived. The abundance of the state's natural resources was only just being discovered.
"They, I think, project a positive image of the future: Wyoming leaving its frontier heritage and openly embracing the future of automobiles, electricity, industry," Schrock said.
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