Two Photo Albums with 97 Striking, Large-Format Views Along the Route of the Kansas City, Pittsburg & Gulf Railroad (Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas), ca. 1897
Two Photo Albums with 97 Striking, Large-Format Views Along the Route of the Kansas City, Pittsburg & Gulf Railroad (Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas), ca. 1897
Two Photo Albums with 97 Striking, Large-Format Views Along the Route of the Kansas City, Pittsburg & Gulf Railroad (Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas), ca. 1897
Two Photo Albums with 97 Striking, Large-Format Views Along the Route of the Kansas City, Pittsburg & Gulf Railroad (Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas), ca. 1897
Two Photo Albums with 97 Striking, Large-Format Views Along the Route of the Kansas City, Pittsburg & Gulf Railroad (Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas), ca. 1897
Two Photo Albums with 97 Striking, Large-Format Views Along the Route of the Kansas City, Pittsburg & Gulf Railroad (Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas), ca. 1897
Two Photo Albums with 97 Striking, Large-Format Views Along the Route of the Kansas City, Pittsburg & Gulf Railroad (Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas), ca. 1897
Two Photo Albums with 97 Striking, Large-Format Views Along the Route of the Kansas City, Pittsburg & Gulf Railroad (Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas), ca. 1897

Two Photo Albums with 97 Striking, Large-Format Views Along the Route of the Kansas City, Pittsburg & Gulf Railroad (Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas), ca. 1897

Two large photograph albums showing rural scenes along the route of the Kansas City, Pittsburg & Gulf Railroad, which was completed in 1897 and ran 754 miles from Kansas City, Missouri, to Port Arthur, Texas. Together the albums contain 97 clear, professional gelatin silver photographs, about two-thirds of which are 8 x 10 inches, the rest 6 x 8 inches. The smaller photos are linen-backed. Most are credited in the negative to the Kansas City View Company, whom we presume were hired by the Railroad to document the line and surrounding areas. The albums are bound in pebbled black cloth with leather spines. Both backstrips are well worn, with boards nearly detached, and one rear board missing. Album pages have light foxing and typical waviness, but the images are in fine condition. The Kansas City, Pittsburg & Gulf Railroad (later known as the Kansas City Southern Railroad) was the brainchild of developer and promoter Arthur Edward Stilwell (1859-1928). Following a short career as an insurance salesman, “Stilwell employed the small amount of capital he had accumulated to form a trust company; then, backed by investors from Kansas City, Philadelphia, and St. Louis, he created a myriad of companies to construct a belt railway, erect a hotel, and build an office building, grain elevators, and a union passenger station. With an extraordinary talent for raising venture capital, he formed the Kansas City, Pittsburg & Gulf Railroad in 1892 to construct a line from Kansas City to the Gulf of Mexico” (ANB). In addition to building new line, Stilwell acquired nearly 95 miles of completed short line track in 1893, as construction made its way south. Early promotional materials from the KCP&G promised completion to Sabine Pass, Texas, or "some city on the Gulf of Mexico." By 1895, had Stilwell convinced his board of directors to purchase the Houston, East and West Texas Railway, adding over 200 additional miles of completed track. The last spike was driven in on September 11, 1897 with the terminus at the newly platted town of Port Arthur, Texas (named after Arthur Stilwell). Along the way, Stilwell established several other townsites—among them Mena and De Queen, Arkansas; Stillwell, Oklahoma; De Ridder and De Quincy, Louisiana; and Nederland, Texas. There are many images in these albums showing aspects of the railroad itself (24 images show tracks, depots, or trains), but a substantial number show the surrounding landscape, with a clear eye towards economic development opportunities. There are many views of ranches, young and mature orchards, vineyards, and lumber mills and logging scenes. There are also photos showing manufacturing, as well as waterworks for local cities. In addition to the agricultural scenes noted above, images of rural life include a boarding house, young men fishing, a park, and a nice view of the springs at Siloam Springs, Arkansas. One fabulous image depicts a dozen family members posing in front of their small shack. Three wonderful views of a nascent Port Arthur show a bustling community with a downtown depot, restaurants and bars. Several large ships are shown, including the steamer Gyller Stavenger and Westmeath. One view depicts a rural town in partial ruins, likely the result of a hurricane which struck the Port Arthur area in September, 1897. In all, a truly exceptional collection of late nineteenth-century images of a region of the country that rarely drew significant attention from photographers.

Item #21343

Price: $12,500.00

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