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A color postcard of a panoramic view from the Boulevard (today’s Skyline Parkway), Duluth, Minnesota, made from three photos by W. Jackson covered 20,000 miles in less than five months, and the port city was just one of several he photographed that year. Jackson now relaxed in a special Detroit Photographic Company train car that was outfitted with all the necessary equipment for making photographs, and all the comforts of home.
The veteran photographer’s arrival in Duluth went unnoticed by the local newspapers.
One day in the summer of 1899, a Chicago & Northwestern train pulled into Duluth, Minnesota, carrying with it a private “photography car” owned by the Detroit Photographic Company. The DPC was one of the largest publishers of color postcards and photographic views and used several such special cars to haul their photographers around the country to capture images to publish.
Jackson moved to Detroit in 1898, the same year Congress authorized use of the penny postcard.
In the latter half of the nineteenth century, Jackson’s stunning photographs of wilderness landscapes, diminishing native tribes, boomtowns, and railroad construction had preserved views of the mythical and fading American West.
His otherworldly images of the Yellowstone region in northwestern Wyoming had brought Jackson great acclaim—and helped create the country’s first national park.
The DPC would become the giant of the postcard industry. (Image: Mark Ryan)In 1906 Detroit Publishing used the same three negatives for another panoramic view, but they also enhanced the postcard by adding an image of Duluth’s Aerial Transfer Bridge, built in 1905, and the cloud pattern is different.
Jackson began work managing the new color process at the DPC plant, but within a year he was back on the road doing what he loved best—shooting photographs. (Image: Mark Ryan) His first assignment that summer of 1899 was shooting scenes along the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad, the line that would eventually bring him to Duluth.
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Detail of a photograph of the Duluth Ship Canal, Duluth, Minnesota, by W. (Image: Library of Congress) Within three years of visiting Duluth, Jackson ended his travels as a professional photographer and settled into managing the plant at the Detroit Photographic company, which became the Detroit Publishing Company in 1905.