1881 Hayden View of "The Twin Lakes - Lake Fork of the Arkansas, Showing the Great Moraines."

This is F. V. Hayden’s 1881 large format, panoramic view of “The Twin Lakes- Lake Fork of the Arkansas, Showing the Great Moraines.”  The perspective is from the hillside across the Arkansas River from the Twin Lakes Reservoir. The two lakes sit in a broad, flat-bottomed valley shaped by extensive glaciers. Listed in a key below the panoramic scene are identifiers: “Valley of the Arkansas,” “Lateral Moraines,” “Terminal Moraine,” “Mt. Elbert,” and “Massive Mt.”

This lithograph is from the United States Geological and Geographical Surveys of the Territories, published in the Geological And Geographical Atlas Of Colorado And Portions Of Adjacent Territory by F.V. Hayden, U.S. Geologist in Charge. William Henry Holmes drew the scene, Julius Bien was the lithographer.  The maps and panoramic views in the Atlas present the best and most extensive mapping of Colorado available at the time.

In 1867, the government-funded, systematic surveying and mapping of Western geology and geography began in earnest. Scientists, geologists, and military engineers organized a group of experts to travel through the West, mapping and cataloging the land and its resources. Between 1867 and 1879, Congress authorized and funded four significant surveys, under four leaders: the Powell Survey, under John Wesley Powell (1870–78); the King Survey, led by Clarence King (1867–78); the Wheeler Survey, under Lieutenant George M. Wheeler (1871–79); and the Hayden Survey, led by Ferdinand Vandeveer Hayden (1867–79). The four surveys consolidated into the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

The Hayden Survey was the largest and best funded of the four major surveys. Hayden wrote that he felt a comprehensive survey of Colorado would “yield more useful results, both of a practical and scientific character. . . . The prospect of [Colorado’s] rapid development within the next five years, by some of the most important railroads of the West, renders it very desirable that its resources be made known to the world at as early a date as possible” (Hayden 1874, 11).

The  Geological And Geographical Atlas Of Colorado And Portions Of Adjacent Territory was the culmination of Hayden's twelve year survey. The Atlas was first published in 1877; this particular imprint comes from the 1881 second edition printing. The maps were updated in the 1881 edition to show completed and projected railroads. However, there were no changes made to the topography or views from the first edition to the second edition.

The area of Colorado of most interest to Hayden was the mountains and western plateaus of the territory. His survey looked at the prairie-mountain interface, but did not venture very far eastward into the plains. Hayden felt that the plains’ geology was not of much interest in either a resource or scientific sense, due to its relatively simple geology, few mineralogical resources, and limited use beyond farming and ranching.


This lithograph is in very good condition. Paper is healthy, without tears or stains. The lithograph has been archivally presented in a custom-built wooden frame with acid-free mats, linen top mats, and UV Conservation Clear glass. Framed dimensions: 19" H x 29" W x 1" D.

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