John Carbutt at Minnehaha Falls, part 1

John Carbutt and Edward L. Wilson and their wives.
John Carbutt and Edward L. Wilson gazing at their wives across the Minnehaha gorge in 1866.

John Carbutt, based in Chicago, was among the most innovative of 19th century photographers.  He was the first to print on celluloid, opening the door to the entire film industry.  And he perfected the printing of X-ray photographs on glass plates.

Carbutt also took commissions for series of images on the frontier.  He was most celebrated for his images taken along the Union Pacific Railroad as it rushed west across Nebraska towards the 100th Meridian and the completion of the trans-continental railroad.  But Carbutt also took a few series of pictures in Minnesota, including some for the Northwestern Packet Company.

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free enterprise at the Falls

 

Half a stereo view from the late 1870s. You're looking east, over the lip of the Falls.
Half a stereo view from the late 1870s. You’re looking east, over the lip of the Falls.

Before the Minneapolis Board of Park Commissioners came to own Minnehaha Falls in 1889, it was privately held by Franklin Steele, George W. Lincoln, and a few others.  These landowners rented out their land to people running saloons, restaurants, and hotels, and to photographers.

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