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Colorado then and now: economic excerpts from John Fielder's latest book.

Economic excerpts from John Fielder's latest book

John Fielder is Colorado's leading nature photographer, and his latest, greatest project expands his pre-eminence into new dimensions. Colorado 1870-2000 pairs century-old landscape photographs by William Henry Jackson with pictures by Fielder taken from the same spot. The result: a sweeping view of state history, geography, topography and a dozen other topics. But it's state economic history that concerns ColoradoBiz, and Colorado 18702000 presents a panorama of human and technological change. Most of all it seems to show that there's very little about our state, in time or space, that we can take for granted.

Fielder, photographer of 30 exhibit format and guide books, has photographed Colorado's landscape for 30 years. W.H. Jackson also photographed Colorado for 30 years, beginning in 1870 while working on the Hayden Survey of the West. From vantages overlooking the skylines of Denver and Colorado Springs, to the tops of Longs and La Plata peaks, to mining towns like Aspen and Silverton, Fielder traced the footsteps of his 19th-century counterpart.

The captions for this photo essay are in Fielder's words:

>> Three times I ascended the (Broadmoor Hotel's) International Building in order to remake Jackson's photograph - once to make the shot for real and twice to "recreate" the act for TV stations filming the making of my project. Jackson's image (above left) of the Casino (it burned down a few years after he took the picture) was clearly made from an elevated location. My only hope to remake the photograph was up a completely vertical iron ladder six stories tall A 90-foot scramble through paraphernalia and ductwork high above the stage led us to a trap door and daylight. <<

>> A leisurely drive through the eastern streets of Glenwood Springs revealed quite fortuitously the trailhead of the Scout Trail. It's a steep bugger, but quickly provided the view you see in these photographs. I don't know if it existed in Jackson's day. The change depicted is quite obvious: same old Hotel Colorado and hot springs complex, but a new community called West Glenwood Springs. <<

>> This is my favorite 'deveLopment' photograph in the book Colorado 1870-2000. I had hoped before I began the project that I could show some hideous example of suburban sprawl replete with symmetrical, duplicative, boring tract homes. I found it at the corner of Union and Austin Bluffs Parkway in eastern CoLorado Springs. <<

>> Do I Love this photograph! I knew that I needed to drive Highway 50 west towards the confluence of the Cimarron and Gunnison rivers near the old town of Cimarron. It was here in Jackson's day that the train exited Black Canyon before the cavernous stretch we know today as Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Monument. The mountain in the background was my best clue to find the correct spot for the photograph. Just a few drives back and forth along this part of the highway finally allowed me to nail the location. <<

>> If you look closely, you might be able to find the newly built Coors brewery in Jackson's photo. It's much easier to find in mine. I guessed correctly that I needed to drive the Lookout Mountain Road in order to scout Jackson's Golden location. However, it did require a steep hike down the mountain, past a few grazing deer, in order to find the big rock upon which Jackson stood. Over the course of the project, I came to learn that if ever my tripod location was uncomfortable that I must have been in the wrong spot. In every case a quick took around revealed a nearby fiat rock on which Jackson probably had made life easier for himself and his big camera. And ultimately it made mine easier, too. <<

>> Aspen isn't what it used to be, but I guess that's obvious from the pictures then and now. It's downright rude. On the way to find this scene, with tripod over my shoulder and Jackson photo in hand, I walked slowly along the crosswalk across busy Main Street. I suppose I was moving too slowly for this bustling community. Half-way across the street, a burst of siren sound scared me out of my wits. Right there at the stoplight an Aspen cop in his Saab motioned to me to hurry up, and his 125-decibel siren three feet from my ear was his way of getting my attention. <<

>> What have we done to our quaint old mining towns? I think I prefer the old days. No, not in the bustling mining days of Jackson, but those days when Central City and Black Hawk were shells of their former selves. To make this image of Black Hawk, I had to trespass a construction site, and hang out over the edge of an 80-foot man-made cliff descending into pavement. <<

Colorado 1870-2000

These photographs are excerpted from the 156 pair contained in the book Colorado 1870-2000 by John Fielder and William Henry Jackson, with text by Ed Marston and Roderick Nash. The book is a joint project of Westcliffe Publishers and the Colorado Historical Society, which preserves over 20,000 Jackson images of Colorado and the West. Copies of Jackson photographs are available for a charge from the society. The Jackson photos are reprinted courtesy of the Colorado Historical Society.

An exhibit of 65 pairs of Jackson -Fielder photographs will open at the Colorado History Museum in Denver on Nov. 19. For further information, call 303-866-3682 or visit The book is available at all Colorado book retailers or from your favorite book website, or by calling 1-800-523-3692. For further information visit Corporate discounts are available at by calling 303-935-0900 or e-mail at To learn more about the project, watch Denver's NEWS4 every Thursday at 10 p.m. and the Denver Rocky Mountain News' Spotlight section each Sunday, both throughout 1999. Together they have tracked John Fielder's progress as he searches for the footsteps and tripod locations of W.H Jackson.
COPYRIGHT 1999 Wiesner Publications, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1999 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Colorado: 1970-2000
Article Type:Cover Story
Date:Sep 1, 1999
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