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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Infinite West: 1941

Infinite West: 1941

September 1941. "Buena Vista, Colorado (vicinity). The Sawatch mountains." Medium format negative by Marion Post Wolcott. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

The Sub

I guess Jack Delano was somewhere else that day.

Vantage Point

To me it is quite easy to discern. The photo was taken from the right side forward looking window of a train engine.

[Yes, if your locomotive is 40 feet tall and you are waaay above the top of the telephone poles. Below, an actual cab view. - Dave]


Wouldn't that be Wasatch?

[Too bad you don't have the Internet. - Dave]

Vantage Point

She was most likely on the US 24 highway overpass about a mile south of Buena Vista. The view is to the SSE, and the railroad is the former Denver and Rio Grande Western's original mainline via Tennessee Pass, no longer used by present owner Union Pacific.

[The 1937 bridge Ms. Wolcott was on was scheduled for replacement in 2014, but is still in this Street View image from 2012. -tterrace]

View Larger Map

Through the Rockies, not around them

This is the route of the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad from Pueblo to Dotsero, Colorado. Built to compete with the Union Pacific, it was downgraded after a more direct route was built from Denver to Dotsero though the long Moffat Tunnel and on to Salt Lake City. Being duplicative and containing some significantly steep grades it has been out of service since 1997.

Part of the line includes the scenic Royal Gorge, seen elsewhere on Shorpy.


That's how they pronounce it there -- "byoonie" for short.


The vantage point can't be her car window unless her car window is higher than those power lines.

[What a puzzler. Maybe she chartered a balloon. - Dave]

lol. But I see that others have cleared it up by pointing out that she was on a bridge. I should have thought of that lol.


Such a view is why we need the word: "vista".

Yet, even this vastness has been conquered three ways: the railroad tracks, the telegraph lines, and the barbed-wire fences on both sides on the rail line.

What do you suppose was the photographer's vantage point -- a water tower, perhaps?

[Her car window. - Dave]

Western entropy:

The posting by Shorpyite, "swaool", gives us today's view of this vista; showing the deterioration of the conquering elements: an abandoned rail line, vanished telegraph lines, and the infamous barbed wire fences, installed in such straight lines are gone or lost in the weeds.

Even the vantage point, a highway bridge, is in an aged condition.

But Nature survives.

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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