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Across the Continent on the Kansas Pacific Railroad in Stunning Historical Photos, 1867

Alexander Gardner became a chief photographer in 1867 for the Eastern Division of the Union Pacific Railway (which changed its name to Kansas Pacific Railway in March 1869).

Gardner, an immigrant from Scotland best known for his photographs of the US Civil War, traveled to St. Louis in 1867, where he met with surveyors searching for the best route for the proposed southern branch of the transcontinental railroad. The survey team traveled from St. Louis to San Francisco via Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona.

The photographs, taken during the expedition in 1867 and 1868, were published in a portfolio of 127 albumen pictures entitled Across the Continent on the Kansas Pacific Railroad (Route of the 35th Parallel) circa 1869.

#1 The Journey begins: Depot of Pacific Railroad, St. Louis, Mo.

The Journey begins: Depot of Pacific Railroad, St. Louis, Mo.

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#2 Massachusetts Avenue, Lawrence, Kansas, 38 miles west of Missouri River.

Massachusetts Avenue, Lawrence, Kansas, 38 miles west of Missouri River.

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#3 Overlooking Lawerence and the Kansas River.

Overlooking Lawerence and the Kansas River.

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#4 Topeka, Capital of Kansas, in 1867, 68 miles west of Missouri River

Topeka, Capital of Kansas, in 1867, 68 miles west of Missouri River

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#5 St. Mary’s Mission, Kansas, Pottawatamie School, 90 miles west of Missouri River.

St. Mary’s Mission, Kansas, Pottawatamie School, 90 miles west of Missouri River.

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#6 Banks of the Kaw, near Fort Riley, 135 miles west of Missouri River.

Banks of the Kaw, near Fort Riley, 135 miles west of Missouri River.

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#7 Shipping Point for Texan Cattle, Abilene, Kansas, 162 miles west of Missouri River.

Shipping Point for Texan Cattle, Abilene, Kansas, 162 miles west of Missouri River.

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#8 On the Kansas Plains, 185 miles west of Missouri River.

On the Kansas Plains, 185 miles west of Missouri River.

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#9 Mushroom Rock on Alum Creek, Kansas, 211 miles west of Missouri River.

Mushroom Rock on Alum Creek, Kansas, 211 miles west of Missouri River.

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#10 View near Fort Harker, Kansas, 216 miles west of Missouri River.

View near Fort Harker, Kansas, 216 miles west of Missouri River.

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#11 Castle Rock, Kansas, on the Smoky Hill, 385 miles west of Missouri River.

Castle Rock, Kansas, on the Smoky Hill, 385 miles west of Missouri River.

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#12 Runk’s Division of the Engineer Corps on the Plains.

Runk’s Division of the Engineer Corps on the Plains.

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#13 Church at Isletta, New Mexico, on the Rio Grande, below Albuquerque, 871 miles west of Missouri River.

Church at Isletta, New Mexico, on the Rio Grande, below Albuquerque, 871 miles west of Missouri River.

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#14 Zuni near border of New Mexico and Arizona.

Zuni near border of New Mexico and Arizona.

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#15 Engineer camp at the Zuni Pass, in the Sierra Madre, N.M., 975 miles west of Missouri River.

Engineer camp at the Zuni Pass, in the Sierra Madre, N.M., 975 miles west of Missouri River.

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#16 Zuni Pass, New Mexico, summit of Sierra Madre. (Water Shed of Contient,) November, 1867; 980 miles west of Missouri River.

Zuni Pass, New Mexico, summit of Sierra Madre. (Water Shed of Contient,) November, 1867; 980 miles west of Missouri River.

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#17 Ancient Pueblo Town of Zuni, Western New Mexico,

Ancient Pueblo Town of Zuni, Western New Mexico,

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#18 The two races, at Fort Mojave, Arizona.

The two races, at Fort Mojave, Arizona.

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#19 Yucca tree, Spanish Bayonet, on the Great Basin, Southern California; Sierra Nevada in the distance, 1670 miles from Missouri River.

Yucca tree, Spanish Bayonet, on the Great Basin, Southern California; Sierra Nevada in the distance, 1670 miles from Missouri River.

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#20 Canada de las Uvas, or Tejon Pass in Sierra Nevada, California, 1,690 miles west of Missouri River.

Canada de las Uvas, or Tejon Pass in Sierra Nevada, California, 1,690 miles west of Missouri River.

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#21 Seal Rocks, in Pacific Ocean, near San Francisco, 1,955 miles west of Missouri River. Last scene of all in this strange, eventful history.

Seal Rocks, in Pacific Ocean, near San Francisco, 1,955 miles west of Missouri River. Last scene of all in this strange, eventful history.

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Written by Aung Budhh

Husband + Father + librarian + Poet + Traveler + Proud Buddhist. I love you with the breath, the smiles and the tears of all my life.

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