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Views of Denver

[ Views Colorado ]


Views by Theodore R. Davis. For "Journeying on the Plains." From Harper's Weekly. New York, January 27, 1866. Wood engravings. Very good condition. Denver.

At the end of 1865, Harper's Weekly sent a team to report on the gold fields in the new territory of Colorado. Over a number of issues the newspaper published articles with images on Denver and the mining towns. The top image shows C.A. Cook & Co.'s banking house, with miners bringing in their gold dust to be weighed. This banking house was located in the same building as Butterfields' Overland Despatch, which appears at left in the street scene of Denver at the bottom. Also shown is W.S. Cheesman's drug, chemical and paint store. Though the city was less than ten years old, the street scene is filled with well-dressed pedestrians and a multitude of wagons and carriages. $125

Individual prints:

Gambling in Denver
Theodore R. Davis. "A Gambling Scene in Denver City, Colorado." From Harper's Weekly. New York, February 17, 1866. Wood engraving. 6 1/2 x 9. Very good condition. Denver.

At the end of 1865, Harper's Weekly sent a team to report on the gold fields in the new territory of Colorado. Over a number of issues the newspaper published articles with images on Denver and the mining towns. Most of the scenes were drawn by Theodore R. Davis, who had made his reputation working for Harper's during the Civil War. In this print, Davis shows the interior of a gambling house in Denver. The city was known for its many such establishments, where the miners were soon separated from much the profits they had earned. As reported in J.E. Wharton's History of Denver (1866), in a chapter called "Gambling Hells of Denver,"

This scene matches the description nicely, with a band of musicians playing in the background to a large crowd, while tables of card games lined the walls and a well-stocked bar is also visible. This print shows the interior of Chase & Heatley Progressive Club, a gambling saloon owned by "Big Ed" Chase and Frank Heatley and located near the stage depot on Blake Street between 15th and 16th. The establishment is shown as quite posh, with elaborate gas chandeliers hanging from the ceilings and many pictures hanging from the walls. The ones that can be seen are trotter images, not unlikely Currier & Ives prints, which were popular in the 1850s and 60s. $75

Life on the Plains: Denver City
James F. Goodkins. "Life on the Plains." From Harper's Weekly. New York: October 13, 1866. 9 x 13 3/4. Wood engraving. Very good condition. Denver.

A series of eight views by James F. Goodkins, most related to the experience of emigrants to the gold fields and two of Denver itself. The images related to the emigrants include a violent storm on the prairie and emigrants being attacked by Indians. The latter is related to the numerous Indian attacks on emigrants heading to the Pike's Peak gold rush. In the lower left corner is an image of "Fort Wicked." This was a trading post on the South Platte run by Holon Godfrey and got its name from the Cheyenne because of Godfrey's staunch defense of it when (allegedly) 200 or so Indians attacked in January 1865, giving up after two days having lost a number of their party. Godfrey himself was thereafter known as "Old Wicked." His post was the only one along the route not captured or burned during the 1865 Indian raids.

Two of the views show Denver. One is of the Assay Room at the Denver mint and the other is a street scene, showing the mint building on the right and with the Rocky Mountains in the background. The artist commented that though Harper's Weekly had previously "published one or two street scenes in Denver I send the one herewith, which gives a good view of the mountains beyond. It is a different view from any hitherto published, and I think from a better point." $150

H.J. Bagley. "Colorado Sketches--The City of Denver" and "Forest on Fire." From Harper's Weekly. New York, November 15, 1879. 6 5/8 x 9 1/8 and 6 5/8 x 5 3/8 respectively. Wood engravings. Very good condition. Denver.

This is an interesting pair of views of Colorado from 1879, inspired by the forest fire which devastated a region near the Ute Reservation on Eagle River. The other view shows Denver from a point three miles to the north, with the Platte River cutting across the foreground. A large smelting-works ("the largest in the United States") appears at left and the Rockies, with Pike's Peak prominent, in the background. The text comments about Denver that "as its climate is dry and salubrious, it is the resort of many person who are in search of health." $125

Denver and Mountain Scenery
Charles Graham. "The City of Denver, and Mountain Scenes in Colorado." From Harper's Weekly. April 23, 1887. 13 1/2 x 19 5/8. Wood engraving. Small rubbed spot in centerfold. Else, very good. Denver.

This image was drawn by Charles Graham, who made a number of trips for Harper's to provide its readers with views of the burgeoning American West. This composite image has a panoramic view of Denver in the center, surrounded by vignettes of Denver houses, mining scenes and the local terrain. A wonderful image of Denver and region at a period when the city was becoming a sophisticated urban center, though still situated in the West. $285

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©The Philadelphia Print Shop, Ltd. Last updated June 17, 2014