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Deadwood From Forest Hill: 1888

Deadwood, South Dakota, from Forest Hill. View full size. Circa 1888 photograph by John C.H. Grabill.

Deadwood, South Dakota, from Forest Hill. View full size. Circa 1888 photograph by John C.H. Grabill.


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So the 1888 date for this photo is certainly supportable.

re: pollus telephonensis

I think the commenter forgot about the earlier use of the telegraph, which also used wires and glass insulators.

Shorpy's reply: Actually they are power lines. The commenter below emailed us to say: "Those are power lines from a small hydro-plant for one of the first electric winch systems in the mines -- and Deadwood effectively exploited it for town use as well. The churches also match to a company that shipped by way of rail from Chicago before selling out to Sears to provide kits. I stand corrected and a bit redfaced." So thanks, Tim, for the update.

pollus telephonensis

there is a plethora of "pollus telephonensis" in both photos, complete with up to 24 lines and glass insulators (1904 began use in western SD/eastern montana)in the second picture. i wonder if your date is a bit out since the telephone didn't hit that area until after the turn of the century and individual telegraph lines didn't run to houses. mines didn't run gang lines. you'll also note a fair amount more tent activity in the 1880s. so, you might need to correct your date a bit -- that kind of miss is a bit sloppy.

Shorpy's reply: The Deadwood views by Grabill are all from a well-documented series of photographs shot from 1887 to 1892 and are part of the Library of Congress archives. There are more here. As you can see at the bottom of the image, the photo has a copyright date of 1888.

Read more on the Library of Congress site.

"The one hundred and eighty-eight photographs sent by John C.H. Grabill to the Library of Congress for copyright protection between 1887 and 1892 are thought to be the largest surviving collection of this gifted, early Western photographer's work. Grabill's remarkably well-crafted, sepia-toned images capture the forces of western settlement in South Dakota and Wyoming and document its effects on the area's indigenous communities."

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