HAYNES, Frank Jay (1853-1921) - YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK. Fine Photograph of "Natural Bridge". [1887].

$ 800.00

Fine albumen print, mounted on archival matt (5 x 8 inches; 11 x 14 inches), of The Natural Bridge, number 47 pencilled lower left-hand corner.

Provenance: from the library of William E. Hofman, his sale Christie's 3rd December, 2010, lot 343

A beautiful view of the Natural Bridge in Yellowstone National Park by official Yellowstone National Park photographer Frank Jay Haynes. Bridge Creek "is an insignificant drainage that starts on the upper slopes of Elephant Back Mountain and flows down a densely wooded valley towards Yellowstone Lake, at one point cascading over the edge of a rhyolite plateau, where the waters have carved a small natural bridge - an opening 30 feet across, topped by a narrow span of dark-colored, lichen-covered rock, on which grows a lone pine tree. The bridge is not one of Yellowstone's major attractions but the 1.5 mile trail is popular as it starts right next to Bridge Bay Marina and Campground, and is the only path reachable from here without driving. Most of the hike is along an old paved road, in use until the early 1990s after which the route was closed to vehicles, so the hike is very easy, and the round trip takes less than an hour. The trail is closed for a month in early summer since grizzly bears frequent the area, hunting for spawning trout in the creek" (John Crossley, the American Southwest online).

Yellowstone, was the world's first national park, and "is situated mainly in Wyoming and extends into Montana and Idaho. It was established in 1872 by Congress, primarily because of its geysers, but also because of its remarkable assemblage of wildlife and unusual natural features. The "national park idea" pioneered at Yellowstone eventually spread worldwide. In the United States, Mackinac Island National Park (now a Michigan state park) was established in 1875 and Sequoia and Yosemite National Parks in 1890. (Yosemite had been a California state park since 1864.) Yellowstone remains the "mother park" in the U.S. national park system, which by the 1990s included 376 sites.

The celebrated photographer Haynes  was first hired as the official photographer of the Northern Pacific Railroad and "given his own travelling studio in a converted rail car, Haynes produced numerous famous images of the railroad's construction projects and of sites along its route. He held that position for nearly three decades. He also was appointed in 1884 as Yellowston's official photographer and sold materials from a store in the park itself. He retired in 1916. His images of Yellowstone are among his more important and dramatic imagery" (see Dorothy Sloan, Western Americana,10/18/2006, lot 254).

"Boasting about three-quarters of the world's geysers (of which Old Faithful is the most famous) and over half of the thermal features, it also has one of the globe's most spectacular canyons, one of North America's most celebrated waterfalls, and more than 225 permanent waterfalls higher than fifteen feet. It has the premier wildlife sanctuary (and the top three trout-fishing streams) in the continental United States. Unmatched in the variety and number of its megafauna, the park shelters the world's largest concentration of elk and is one of the last remaining strongholds of the grizzly bear in the coterminous states. It is the only site in the United States (and one of only two in the world) where a wild bison herd has survived continuously since ancient times. At the center of the largest relatively intact ecosystem in the North Temperate Zone, its hundreds of lakes, creeks, mountains, and valleys survive in essentially pristine condition. As in all major parks, Yellowstone's administrators debate the appropriate forms of intervention to protect this delicate ecosystem and strive to balance the competing claims of public access and wilderness preservation" (see Aubrey L. Haines, The Yellowstone Story, 1996; James Pritchard, Preserving Yellowstone's Natural Conditions: Science and the Perception of Nature, 1999). Catalogued by Kate Hunter