Thursday, January 21, 2010

Louis Hill ...

Sometimes an old photograph is interesting for its subject matter ... and other times an image is appealing for its beauty. The best ones, of course, have both those traits, and I think today's photo is one of those.

This is a shot taken roughly a century ago, almost certainly somewhere in Glacier National Park. The composition is interesting, with its emphasis on the reflection in the water, but the shot becomes more intriguing when you learn the identity of the man on horseback. That's Louis HIll, one of the sons of James J. Hill, the builder of the Great Northern Railway.

Louis Hill succeeded his father as president of the Great Northern, but here in Montana he was known primarily as an advocate for Glacier National Park -- both for its establishment, and for the network of railway-built hotels and chalets that existed there. As much as anyone, this is the man responsible for Glacier's status as the state's best-known tourist attraction.


  1. You're right. Knowing the person depicted changes the whole story, doesn't it? This is GREAT. Where did you find it?

  2. This shot was actually in the Minnesota Historical Society's archives ... I came across it completely by accident.

    Both Jim Hill and Louis were really interesting characters. Did you know they came very close to building a railroad line all the way across Garfield County? (Almost did it, too ... you can see pieces of the unfinished grade on the drive from Grassrange to Lewistown.)