Historic Photos

Since photography was invented, in the nineteenth century, people have been obsessed with it, and it helped document a lot of events, things and persons that we would had forgotten by now. We investigated a bit and looked for the first photos that someone took in each of the states in the United States. It wasn't easy, but luckily for us they are digitized. These photos are witnesses of history, and they kept the people and places that appear on them still alive. I wonder if the photographers and models ever imagined that these photos would be what they are now. Take a look at the first photograph ever taken in each one of the states.

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ALABAMA

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Edmund King Montevallo was originally from Virginia, he moved to Alabama and became a wealthy planter and a benefactor, building a lot of schools, roads and buildings that still remain. Here we can see his sons in this photo of 1850.

ALASKA

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This photo of 1868 shows the natives that lives near Fort Tongass, one year after Alaska was bought to the russians. Fort Tongass was the first United States Army base in the soon-to-be state.

ARIZONA

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First Lieutenant George Wheeler and his team leave Camp Mohave in 1971 to survey the unknown lands of the west and create a map. The expedition lasted eight years and it is still known as the Wheeler Survey.

ARKANSAS

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The SS Sultana was a steamboat created for cotton trade, but on april 27th of 1865, the day this photo was taken, it was transporting 2,500 people, 2,200 more than the authorized. Later that day the Sultana exploded and 1,800 people died in the worst maritime disaster in the United States.

CALIFORNIA

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Los Angeles Plaza was the first thing Felipe De Neve, founder of Los Angeles, commissioned to build. It was the geographical center of the city and the point where all the streets used to arise. This photo was taken in the 1860's.

COLORADO

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Timothy O'Sullivan was a photographer that was in Wheeler's expedition team, and he took more than 300 photos, with only a few remaining. He took this photo in 1871 in the Colorado River.

CONNECTICUT

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The Gunnery is now an important school in Washington, Connecticut, but it started as a summer camp. Actually, it was the first summer camp in the United States. Here is a photo of the class of 1861.

DELAWARE

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Benjamin T. Biggs was a teacher, farmer and politician who served as the 46th governor of Delaware and two times as a member of the Congress. This photo was taken in 1860.

FLORIDA

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The Castle of St. Mark, in St. Augustine, was first built in 1672 and served as a military fort for almost three centuries till it lost its status and was turned into a Historic Building.

GEORGIA

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Howell Cobb was a politician that founded the Confederacy and served as its president for a while. He died in New York and his body is buried in Athens, Georgia. This particular photo was taken in 1844.

HAWAII

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Princess Victoria Ka'iulani was the last princess of Hawaii. This photo was taken the year Hawaii became a state, and she died five years later, when she was just 23.

IDAHO

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The Snake River is one of the longest river in the United States and it was really important in the US expansion to the west, since the main route, the Oregon Trail, used to go through its valley. This photo was taken in the 1860's.

ILLINOIS

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Stephen A. Douglas was a politician (yes, many of the pictures of that time were of politicians) that lost against Abraham Lincoln in the elections of 1860. This photo was taken in 1844.

INDIANA

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This photo was taken sometime in the Civil War. It depicts confederate prisoners in Camp Morton, Indianapolis. The place was used as a prison and a training camp, and was demolished in 1891.

IOWA

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George Wallace Jones was the first United States Senator that represented Iowa after it was included in the union in 1846, two years after this picture was taken. He was later jailed for being suspected to be a Confederate sympathetic.

KANSAS

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Samuel Clarke Pomeroy was mayor of Atchison, Kansas, and then a Senator for Kansas during the Civil War. He died in 1891, and this photo was taken in 1861, when he was 45, but he looks much older.

KENTUCKY

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If we have in mind that Henry Clay died in 1852 we can know that this is a very old photo. Clay was candidate for president several times, but he never won. He is very important for United States' history, though.

LOUISIANA

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Francis Lister Hawks was an episcopal bishop that helped establish the Tulane University, and was its first president in 1851. He died in 1866 after a few sexual and money scandals.

MAINE

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I know it is hard to imagine but this photo of 1850 shows a group of firefighters that belonged to the Arundel Engine Co., in Kennebunkport. The photo is actually a daguerreotype.

MARYLAND

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Built in 1815, the Battle Monument of Baltimore was first supposed to be a George Washington monument. It is still standing and it is known as "Lady Baltimore". It is the oldest stone monument of the United States.

MASSACHUSETTS

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Horace Mann Sr. was a writer, politician, philosopher and promoter of the arts and the education in the United States of mid nineteenth century. He was fundamental for the creation of today's way of teaching.

MICHIGAN

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Son of Irish immigrants, Thomas Fitzgerald studied laws and was a very well known judge of the time, and he even got himself a seat at the senate, after one of the others senators resigned.

MINNESOTA

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This woman was called Azayamankawin, that means "Woman who runs for huckleberries". She was very well known among white people and settlers because she was fierce and took care of women and children during the war.

MISSISSIPPI

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Henry S. Foote was a politician that held strongly to his beliefs. One day in a discussion he took a gun and drew it to a fellow senator. The other members of the senate wrestled him and took the gun away before he committed a big mistake.

MISSOURI

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For some reason this picture of an unknown lady is called "View of the Iron mountain". Iron Mountain is a small miners town located in Missouri and established in 1836.

MONTANA

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Bird Tail Rock, part of the Birdtail Hills in Montana, was part of the landscape that you could see when you used the Benton Road. This photo was taken in 1860.

NEBRASKA

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There are not that many photos of regular families of that time, and this is particularly impressive because of its quality. Here you can see a soldier and his family in 1860.

NEVADA

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William Morris Stewart was a politician and lawyer original from New York, but he then moved to Virginia, Nevada to help write the State's Constitution in 1864. He was also a senator.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

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Born in 1789, Levi Woodbury was a prominent politician of the state of New Hampshire that served in a lot of offices of the United States Government during his career.

NEW JERSEY

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William L. Dayton was born in 1807 in Basking Ridge, son of a farmer. He later became a lawyer and served as senator for two terms. He died in Paris, where he was working as an embassador.

NEW MEXICO

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Built to defend Santa Fe, though it never served as a defense spot, Fort Marcy was demolished. In 1887 a woman visiting the ruins found a huge amount of spanish coins buried, which generated a coins fever but no more were found.

NEW YORK

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William England was born in London and became a very well known photographer. He travelled to the United States in 1859 and took this picture of the Hudson River (among several others) that were the first glance to the United States for several europeans.

NORTH CAROLINA

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We don't know much about him, only that his name was William McRorie and he was in 4th North Carolina Infantry regiment, but with this photo, taken in 1861, he will live forever.

NORTH DAKOTA

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This cool guy is Iron Bear, chief of the Rees, also known as Arikaras. The Rees lived in the upper side of the Missouri River, between Cheyenne River and Fort Berthold, where this photo was taken in 1866.

OHIO

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This is quite particular because is a photograph of a painting. The man in the painting (and in the photograph) is William Henry Harrison, the ninth President of the United States.

OKLAHOMA

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John Ross was also called Guwisguwi, was part scottish and part Cherokee. He fought for the rights of the Cherokee people, especially when they were removed from their lands, in what is called as Trail of Tears.

OREGON

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Benjamin F. Harding, like most of the men included in this list, was an attorney and politician. He worked in many state offices before becoming a senator for the State of Oregon.

PENNSYLVANIA

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This is the corner of Chestnut Street and 2nd Street in Philadelphia in 1850. The place have changed a little in this 168 years, but you may recognize it if you ever passed that area.

RHODE ISLAND

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James F. Simmons was a yarn manufacturer and farmer who served as a Senator twice. The second time was not that successful because he had to resign due to a briberies scandal.

SOUTH CAROLINA

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Men and women usually posed with something that represented them. That's why it is said that this guy is Franz Melchers, owner of the Charleston Zeitung, which is also depicted in the picture.

SOUTH DAKOTA

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This picture taken by Stanley J. Morrow, a frontier photographer, shows the interior of the Chapel of the Mission of our Most Merciful Savior at the Santee Agency (what a name, huh?)

TENNESSEE

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This photo was taken in 1860 in the Lookout mountains, in Tennessee. That means that those children would be around 165 years old right now. If they didn't fell off that cliff.

TEXAS

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This guy doesn't look so tough but he really was. He served as a Texas Ranger captain and a military in both the Republic of Texas and the United States. His name was Samuel Hamilton Walker.

UTAH

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Workers of the Central Pacific Railroad taking a look at the Salt Lake while they were finishing the trails that will later be the first and still biggest transcontinental railroad system.

VERMONT

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The Coat of Arms of the state of Vermont photographed in 1852. The coat was approved in 1840, and it shows a red cow, a pine and three yellow sheaves. It is still in use.

VIRGINIA

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The Ranters of Bethany College, Virginia. They look exactly how they were: A group of students that used to do all kinds of pranks and mischiefs obeying to the "Grand Ranter".

WASHINGTON

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From 1859 to 1882 Fort Colville was an army post that was used to keep the indians away of the zones where the white men were looking for gold. It was 3 miles away from what we know now as Colville, Washington.

WEST VIRGINIA

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The hill over Harpers Ferry, a small town in West Virginia that had less than three hundred inhabitants in 2010, so imagine how many people lived there in 1858, when this photo was taken.

WISCONSIN

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Remember what we said about posing with their favorite things? This guy has the Bible in his hand because he was a Methodist Missionary to Liberia. His name was B.R. Wilson and this was 1840.

WYOMING

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Bitter Creek is a stream that goes through 80 miles in the state of Wyoming, along the Transcontinental Railroad. The place was site of an event called the Rock Spring Massacre, when a mob killed 28 chinese immigrants.

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