In the 1880’s: souvenir pictures

Before the Park Board owned Minnehaha Falls, it was in private hands.  Here, an un-recorded photographer took this family’s portrait on some sort of built platform structure on the south side of the Minnehaha gorge.

A series of photographers had the concession of selling tourists their photos in front of Minnesota's most famous view.
A series of photographers had the concession of selling tourists their photos in front of Minnesota’s most famous view.

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John Carbutt at Minnehaha Falls, part 3

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Mollie Carbutt is, again, quite prettily posed against the butternut tree, while the Wilsons gaze across the gorge.  Edward L. Wilson was a prominent publisher of the “Philadelphia Photographer” magazine, which seems to have had some national acclaim.  And John Carbutt was among the most inventive and studious of early photographers.  This image was printed as a photograph and pasted into the “Philadelphia Photographer.”

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one of the very first photos of Minnehaha Falls

Dating pictures of Minnehaha Falls is an imprecise art.  The images themselves, as well as the physical objects–the photographs–offer little clues.  Mostly, no one wrote the dates on these pictures, so assigning a date means putting together these little clues, and doing research, and then making best-guesses.

Taken no later than 1864, and my guess is that it was closer to 1860.
Taken no later than 1864, but mostly likely taken in the late 1850s.

It’s a fine view of the falls, but the waterfall is slightly hidden behind those tree branches.  And for every subsequent picture taken from this viewpoint, the branches have been cut away, as you can see.

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