Item #7671 Echo City, Looking Down the Weber. Andrew J. Russell, photog.
Echo City, Looking Down the Weber.

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Echo City, Looking Down the Weber.

[1869]. Albumen print, 8” x 12”, plus margins, on original paperboard mount, ink title in manuscript below image. CONDITION: Good, a bit of fading but generally strong tonality, a few light streaks and small spots in the image.

A captivating shot of Echo City by famed western photographer Andrew J. Russell, captured at the time of the arrival of the Union Pacific Railroad in Echo Canyon, Utah.

This image shows Echo City in Summit County, Utah, located at the junction of Echo Creek and the Weber River. In the foreground, a road leads to a station with a signboard reading, “J. E. Bromley & Co.”, and crosses Weber River, which is seen at left, leading around a bend. Also visible are log cabins, barns, horses, and fences. To the right is a butte towering over the settlement.

In 1853, James E. Bromley built the Weber Stage Station at the mouth of Echo Canyon, a stone structure with walls twenty-six inches thick. As detailed by The Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine, the town’s “name was suggested by its location at the mouth of Echo Canyon, which mountain defile is especially noted for its acoustic peculiarities in transmitting sounds along the perpendicular rocky walls which rise to dizzy hights on the north side of this most romantic mountain gorge.” Horace Greeley, traveling through in 1859, spent the night at Weber Station and noted the presence of two groceries, a blacksmith’s shop, and the mail station. Echo City became an important railroad town in 1868 when the Union Pacific Railroad arrived, following which the city’s population boomed. Track laying progressed down Echo Canyon to Echo City, reaching the city on 15 January 1869. The railroad company built coal chutes in Echo City and its water tanks were filled from the Weber River using a steam-powered water pump. In time, Echo City became home to over 300 railroad employees, all of them living in houses furnished by the Union Pacific Railroad Co.

Born in New Hampshire, Andrew J. Russell (1830–1902) became a photographer during the Civil War, and in 1863 was appointed government photographer. To encourage settlement and investment in the West after the war, the vice president of the Union Pacific Railroad, Thomas Durant, commissioned Russell to document the construction of the transcontinental railroad. During 1868 Russell lived in construction camps and sent his negatives east for printing. He returned to New York later that year and in 1869 published The Great West Illustrated (New York: The Union Pacific Railroad Co.). On his second trip west, he photographed Omaha and a number of growing Nebraska towns on his way to the joining of the rails at Promontory, Utah in 1869. Thousands of readers of Frank Leslie’s Illustrated viewed wood engravings based on his photographs of the ceremony, including his iconic image, “Joining of the Rails.” Following this event, Russell traveled to California and then returned to New York in late 1869. Here Russell established the Decoration and Designing Co. and worked as a photojournalist for Frank Leslie. He died in Brooklyn in 1902. Illuminating important themes in U.S. history, Russell’s work brought the railroad and the West to a mass audience, capturing the grand scale of western lands, railroad construction, frontier boomtowns, and the effects of railroads on Native Americans.

OCLC records just one example of this image, at the Library of Congress.

REFERENCES: Hatch, Dr. Joseph, Patrick Hearty. The Pony Express in Utah (Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2015), p. 41; “Eastbound To Wahsatch Union Pacific’s Route Through Weber and Echo Canyons” at Utah Rails online; “Russell, Andrew J. (1829-1902)” at Wishart, David J., Editor. Encyclopedia of the Great Plains online (University of Nebraska-Lincoln); The Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine, Vols. 9-10 ( Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1894), p. 122.

Item #7671

On Hold

Price: $2,750.00

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