It was E.H. Harriman who first purchased shares in that ranch in 1908, but he died later that year before ever visiting it.
It may have been health concerns, in part, that lead E.H. to organize the Alaska Expedition of 1899. His doctor had told him he needed to get away from the stress of running Union Pacific Railroad. E.H. thought a little hunting trip to Alaska might be refreshing. The more he thought about it, the more he became intrigued with making an expedition.
He and 125 scientists, writers, naturalists, artists, professors, and photographers went on the expedition. PBS did a several-part series on the venture a few years back. Read more about it here. It would take me the whole post just to scratch the surface.
Today, I just want to share a story about a little side trip many of the expedition members went on. They would set off from Seattle aboard the steamer George W. Elder, which Harriman had specially outfitted for the trip. On their way to Seattle, the train carrying some of the luminaries made a stop in Shoshone, Idaho.
A telegram preceded the arrival of the train, according to a 2015 article on magicvalley.com by Mychel Matthews. “Word was sent around to the whole countryside to be on hand early on the morning of (May 27) with all the conveyances available to take this group to see Shoshone Falls,” H.J. Kingsbury, publisher of Kingsbury Printing Co., wrote in his book Bucking the Tide.
“When the train arrived, the greatest collection of nondescript vehicles ever assembled in a small Western town was on hand to meet them,” Kingsbury said.
The two photos below show Expedition members returning to the train in Shoshone after visiting Shoshone Falls. They come from an album put together by Albert K. Fisher, an ornithologist and vertebrate zoologist who went along on the trip. The Library of Congress has the 127-page album and made these samples available. It’s unclear who took the pictures, whether it was Fisher or one of several other participants. The principle photographer was Edward Curtis, but it is unlikely these are his.