Note: The History Museum us currently closed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Curated by Lee Silliman | Artworks by John Mix Stanley, John J. Young, and John H. Richard
This exhibit presents a series of original tinted lithographs illuminating the natural features of the Cascade Range and its transecting Columbia River, as recorded by two exploration survey parties seeking viable transcontinental railroad routes prior to the Civil War. Featured are early landscape views augmented by botanical and zoological images of indigenous trees, birds, fish, and reptiles encountered in these riverine and alpine environments.
Half of the images were recorded by the Isaac Stevens survey of the northernmost route, while the other half were recorded by the R. S. Williamson / Henry Abbot survey traveling from San Francisco to Portland. These artworks were published by the U.S. government in thirteen tomes in the late 1850s, under the direction of Jefferson Davis, Secretary of War, who superintended the surveys.