PORTRAIT OF A COUPLE AT “MUSHROOM ROCK” IN “GARDEN OF THE GODS” COLORADO (1908)

This 1908 real photo postcard captures a well dressed couple posing by “Mushroom Rock” which is located in the “Garden of the Gods” in the state of Colorado. The site is specifically situated in Colorado Springs. Garden of the Gods is a public park and was named a National Natural Landmark in 1971. Glaciers and erosion left the land with incredible rock formations. The park was named by two surveyors in 1859. Multiple Native American nations had involvement with the area. In addition to “Mushroom Rock”, tourists have made “Balanced Rock” a popular visitor site. A photograph of “Balanced Rock” can be found elsewhere in the Cabinet Card Gallery (use the search box to find it). The stamp box indicates the card was published between 1904 and 1918, The 1908 date written on the reverse of the postcard fall well within the range of those years.   (SOLD)

PORTRAIT OF TWO VISITORS IN A CONVERTIBLE AT BALANCED ROCK, GARDEN OF THE GODS, COLORADO

This is one of those vintage real photo postcards that one stumbles upon and is compelled to learn more about. The postcard is a wonderful find. The photograph shows a young couple driving a 1920’s (?) car past “Balanced Rock” in the Garden of the Gods. The popular tourist location is located in Colorado Springs, Colorado. In 1859, two surveyors who were instrumental in setting up Colorado City, explored the area and one of them decided that it would be a great place for a “beer garden”.  The second surveyor responded to the suggestion stating it would be better to call it “Garden of the Gods” because it was “a fit place for the Gods to assemble”. Many Native American tribes are connected to this area including the Apache, Cheyenne, Comanche, Utes, and Pawnee people. The Garden of the Gods became a National Natural Landmark in 1971. This postcard does an excellent job of providing a portrait of the “Balanced Rock”. The natural geological formation is put in even better perspective by photographing an open car in front of it’s precarious pose. The viewer holds their breath hoping that the auto and it’s two occupants pass by safely. Note that there is a pennant hanging on the side of the car. Printed on the pennant is “Kansas City”, which is likely the home of the lovely couple in the convertible. This postcard was produced by the Paul Goerke studio in Manitou, Colorado. It is printed on Artura paper and was produced between 1908 and 1924 (presumably sometime toward the end of this span). The story of photographer Paul Goerke is quite interesting. In the 1890’s, Goerke purchased the land around Balanced Rock. Goerke and his son, Curt, took photographs of tourists by the rock and sold them for 25 cents apiece. At the beginning of Goerke’s business there was no charge to view Balanced Rock. They made their money by charging for the portraits. Among the props supplied by Goerke, were burros. As personal cameras became readily available, Goerke needed to change his business concept. Curt Goerke built a wooden fence around Balanced Rock and began charging 25 cents admission. He also operated a lunch counter adjacent to nearby “Steamboat Rock” and created picnic areas for the thousand of visitors who came each summer. In 1932 the city of Colorado Springs purchased The Goerke property and tore down the fence.

 

Modern Photo Postcard of Balanced Rock

 

Published in: on May 23, 2017 at 6:14 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , ,