Black Canyon of the Gunnison

Located 15 miles east of Montrose in western Colorado, the Black Canyon is a National Park whose name comes from the fact that parts of it receive only 33 minutes of sun per day. In 1882, after a year of construction of the 15-mile track, a narrow gauge railroad started service. The track had no more than 1/4 mile as it’s longest straight line. It was abandoned in 1955.  In 1901, after  having failed the previous year, the Torrence expedition set out to locate a site for diversion tunnels to utilize the Gunnison River to irrigate the valley. Although successful, the tunnel did not open until 1909. (Click to enlarge all photos.)

Day 1 Pelton/Torrence Failed 1900 Expedition

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The Narrows 1900 and 1916 (Kolb Expedition)





Brilliant green springtime trees and the Gunnison River, at the bottom of the Narrows of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison.

Chipeta Falls 1883



Exclamation Point 1900 and with early tourists















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Iverson Movie Ranch Part Two

Continuing with the “rock stars” of Iverson Movie Ranch, we have Vultura’s Palace from the Perils of Nyoka, a 15-chapter Republic serial from 1942. These and several other photos are courtesy of  the largest website on all things  Iverson–         iversonmovieranch,



Sheep Flats Rock 1956



Wrench Rock in 5 Guns West 1955






Burned ferry building in Stagecoach, Batman Rock in background




…and, finally, Long Ranger Rock


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Iverson Movie Ranch

Iverson Movie Ranch consisted of 500 acres located about 20 miles north of LA, near Simi Valley. It started making movies in 1912 and later added TV programs for a total of about 3,500 shoots, making it the most photographed movie location in history. Leading actors to work there included Richard Burton in” The Robe,” John Wayne in “Stagecoach,”and  the Lone Ranger. Untold B-Westerns, the Republic Serials of the 1940s, and six seasons of Bonanza were filmed there. In 1967 the Simi Vally Freeway came through and, along with housing and condo development, spelled the beginning of the end for the property. Adding to that was a devastating fire in 1970 that burned 100,000 acres in the area fueled by 80-mile-an-hour winds. However, the last movie wasn’t made until 1997–the not to be missed Motorcycle Cheerleading Mamas. The photos for this month and the next show a range  of then and now as some areas are unchanged, some are modified, and others are all but gone. The least changed is Garden of the Gods, now a 23-acre public park.

” Richard the Lion Hearted” at Garden of the Gods (1923)


Note the painting of the top of the castle, which was superimposed on film,  has been removed in this photo:


A scene from ” Stagecoach” at Garden of the Gods


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Old Man of the Gorge in a 1956 Film



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Lee’s Headquarters

General Robert E. Lee entered Gettysburg on July 1, 1863, and moved into the Widow Thompson’s house using it as his headquarters for the duration of the battle. Later development all but obliterated the historic four-acre parcel, that is, until  the Civil War Trust raised  $6,000,000 in 2015 to tear down the motel and restaurant  on the property. For the full story go to their website ( After the project was completed, Lee’s Headquarters were finally included in Gettysburg National Military Park. The first photo is dated 1863 and the second 1913.


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Shirley House

Another single dwelling at a major Civil War battle,  also in 1863 and also having gone through extensive renovation, is Shirley House in Vicksburg, MS. It witnessed the fiercest of the fighting during the 47-day siege. The first photo is dated 1863, and the third is from 1902 before restoration (click to enlarge).





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Stone House

The Stone House was built in 1848 and is located in Manassas, Va.,  where two major battles (both known as Manassas in the North and Bull Run in the South) were fought. Both sides occupied the house, but it was primarily a hospital under Confederate control. It was sold to the Federal Government and renovated in 1949. The first photo is from the early 1900s while the third dates from 1862. The final photo shows the challenges presented by being just 30 miles from Washington, D.C.

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McLean House

The McLean House was also built in 1848 and is located in Appomattox, Va. It served as the surrender site for the Confederate Army when Lee and Grant met there on April 9, 1865. It had been purchased by Wilmer McLean in 1863 who, ironically, moved there to avoid the war, which had started on his farm in 1861 in Manassas, Va.! In the 1890s it was dismantled to be moved to Washinton D.C. where it was intended to be reassembled and  serve as a Civil War museum . That never happened so the scraps sat in pieces for 50 years when many of the old materials (5,000 bricks)  and new ones were used to reconstruct the dwelling, which then opened for tours in 1949. The first photo is dated 1865.

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Point Park

Established in 1905, Point Park is located in the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park. It resides on top of Lookout Mountain, which is on the northwest corner of Georgia, the northeast corner of Alabama, and on the Tennessee state line.For many years two prominant vistas–Lookout Mountain and Umbrella Rock– have been extremely popular. The first photo shows the Park entrance in 1907. The third photo shows a Union band on top of Lookout Mountain in 1864.

PtPk1907PtPk2UnionBndLOMT1864.jpgUnionBndLOMUmbrella Rock has provided hundreds of fascinating photos over the years as you can see in the following examples :

1863Umb18631909Umb19091917Umb19171918UmbWWI1918UndatedUmbearly1900sUndatedUmbUndatNowUmbNowBut, unfortunately, here is a sign of the times (click to enlarge):



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Arlington House

The former Custis-Lee Mansion became Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial in 1972. It was built in 1802 on a bluff just across the Potomac River from Washington D.C. It was occupied by Lee’s family for 30 years until Lee left in 1861. The Federals took over in 1864 and started Arlington Cemetery. The first photo shows the front porch in 1861 with Mathew Brady in a top hat. The second photo is dated 1864.



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Bushong Farm

The house at Bushong Farm in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley was built in 1825. On May 15, 1864, it was the center of the Battle of New Market when  6,000 Union and 4,100 Confederate forces engaged in a fierce battle. Part of the Confederate army consisted of 257 cadets from the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) ages 14 through 24. The cadets were intended as reserves, but immediately saw front line action; ten were killed and 57 wounded. The first photo was taken in the 1880s.


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