Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Eye In The Sky

     In the late half of the 19th Century, America was caught up in the frenzy of Westward Expansion. Towns were sprouting up in Kansas cornfields and every city in the country was trying to sell itself to the waves of immigrants and emigrants seeking a new life on the Frontier.
     To accomplish this, almost every American city, no matter how small, commissioned artists to paint "birds-eye" views of their community. These panoramic views often showed the entire town as if seen from high in the sky, and by being so far away, they did not show the grime, poverty and crude infrastructure of these fledgeling settlements. The idea was to impress prospective homebuyers with the vitality, size and beauty of each city and these posters demonstrate how almost any town can be made attractive.

Los Angeles didn't look all that prosperous in 1871.

San Pedro seems like a busy port in 1897.

Astoria, Oregon, 1890

Pittsburgh 1902

Even large cities like New York City wanted a "birds-eye" view in 1870.

Virginia City, Nevada Territory, 1861

In the 1870s, St. Louis wanted to show off the new Eads Bridge.

This 1892 view of our nation's Capital highlights future monuments yet to be built.

Chicago seems like a going concern in 1892.

This 1904 poster gives a tantalizing glimpse of the wonders of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition being built in St. Louis.

Salt Lake City was already a large city in 1891.

Phoenix, Arizona 1885

In 1877, San Francisco was crowded with ships coming and going.

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