Vintage Manitou and Pikes Peak Railway Postcards by Hook Photo, 1890

Presented is a collage of three vintage cabinet card photographs of the Manitou and Pikes Peak Railway, in Colorado dating to the 1890s. The sepia toned photographs were published by W.E. Hook View, Stationery and Book Company. The photographs capture views of the Pike's Peak Railroad above the timber line, railway tracks cutting through the mountain, and a popular tourist spot, the grave of poet Helen Marie Hunt  Jackson, along Cheyenne Mountain. 

The Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway is a cog railway that climbs one of the most iconic mountains in the United States, Pikes Peak in Colorado. New York–born inventor Zalmon G. Simmons started the railway. In 1888, Simmons traveled to Colorado Springs to inspect telegraph insulators on the side of Pikes Peak. After an arduous two-day long trip scaling the mountain by mule, Simmons decided to finance construction of the Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway in 1889. The track opened two years later, with its base station in Manitou Springs. The first train reached the 14,115-foot summit on June 30, 1891. In 1925, Simmons sold the railway to local philanthropist and Broadmoor Hotel owner Spencer Penrose for a reported $50,000.  

A style of photograph first introduced in 1863 by Windsor & Bridge in London, the cabinet card is a photographic print mounted on stiff card stock. The Cabinet card got its name from its suitability of display in parlors, especially in cabinets. It was a popular medium for family portraits and landscapes and many cabinet cards were mailed to friends and family living afar or abroad. Cabinet cards reached their peak of popularity in the 1870s through the 1890s. They continued to be made into the 1900s, albeit less frequently, once traditional postcards became popular. 

Between 1877 and 1881, photographer William Edward Hook (1833-1908) traveled and captured scenic vistas throughout Montana and Wyoming, from his home base in Missoula. He then moved to the Pikes Peak area of Colorado Springs and set up his photography studio. Early cabinet cards of his are stamped on the verso with his address "W. E. View Stationary and Book Company, 27 South Tejon St., Colorado Springs, Colorado" and advertise both photography supplies and development, give a list of popular photographs, and boast over "2000 Photographic Views of Colorado scenery, Artistically Colored to Choose From."


Overall, very good condition. Three horizontal sepia albumen photographs, each mounted on a stiff card. Some toning to edges. Approximately 8” x 5" each. Framed Dimensions: 21 1/2" H x 13 1/2" W x 1 1/4" D.

Related Items