Presumably, the Gardner Collection of Photographs, Harvard University
To the present owner, 1965-66
The view here is of a railroad bridge in Weber Canyon, Utah, near the Devil's Slide. Named for John Weber, a trapper thought to have been killed by Indians in 1828-29, Weber Canyon was an important gateway to the Great Salt Lake valley. Now traversed by Interstate 84 East, the Canyon's geography presented enormous problems for the builders of the Union Pacific Railroad in the later 1860s. The ravines and hills required massive cut-and-fill grading, across some of the most difficult terrain on the route. Watkins's photograph, depicting bridge, river, and evidence of this extensive grading, celebrates a feat of engineering, as had Andrew J. Russell's photographs of the same canyon a few years earlier. Watkins's photographic van and equipment can be seen in the left foreground.
Weston Naef and the Carleton Watkins Mammoth-Plate Catalogue Raisonné Project locate only six other prints of this image, most in institutional collections.
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