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WILLIAM HENRY JACKSON, 1843-1942

From 1867 to 1869 the first photography studio of William Henry Jackson, renowned
photographer, artist, and explorer of the Old West, stood on the northwest corner of this block.
His autobiography, Time Exposure, reports that in 1869 Omaha had the vitality of "a boom
town."

Jackson first crossed Nebraska in 1866 on the Oregon Trail, working as a bullwhacker with a
freighting outfit. His sketches of the trip vividly depicted the trail experience. In 1870 he joined
the Hayden Geological Survey, which took him and artist Thomas Moran to Wyoming's
Yellowstone region. By revealing Yellowstone's wonders, Jackson's photographs and Moran's
paintings contributed to the establishment of our first national park.

Jackson's camera also focused on the infant towns along the Union Pacific Railroad, Nebraska's
Pawnee Indians, the cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde, and the Mountain of the Holy Cross in
Colorado, which inspired a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. In 1898 Jackson captured
scenes of Omaha's Trans-Mississippi Exposition. Although his life spanned nearly a century,
Jackson's photographs and sketches of the glorious landscapes of the nineteenth-century West are
his enduring legacy.

Omaha Corral of Westerners
Omaha Public Library
Nebraska State Historical Society
W. Dale Clark Library, 15th and Douglas, Omaha
Douglas County
Marker 404

 


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Last updated 9 June 2004

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