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AUCTION 22

 

“Brains and Money vs. Resources”—Rare Wyoming-Colorado Promotional


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549.     [VAN HORN, ISAAC & COMPANY]. Brains and Money vs. Resources: Illustrated and Embellished with Views of One of the Most Resourceful yet Undeveloped Sections of the Rocky Mountain Region and of a City Therein Containing a Present Population of about Eight Thousand People which in a Very Few Years Is Destined to Contain a Population of More than One Hundred Thousand People and Become a Great City. Complete in One Volume. Compliments of Isaac Van Horn & Co. Bankers. [Boston?]: Isaac Van Horn & Co., [ca. 1901]. [148] pp., 2 photographic plates (portraits), text illustrations (half-tone photographs and maps). 4to (29.2 x 24 cm), original gilt-lettered olive cloth. Binding moderately darkened and with a few small spots and stains, lower corners lightly bumped; text block cracked and signatures loose but holding. Text block is otherwise fine.

     First edition. Not in standard sources. The latest date in the text is January 1, 1901. This unabashed Wyoming promotional seeks investors in a trust. The bankers make it abundantly clear that their main purpose is to make money: “Money is attractive, not because it is money, but because it is the means whereby that happiness which seems so elusive may be acquired. If we have tasted in a limited way of the sweets, the desire is just as strong to do so without limit…. When such desires are once awakened, legitimate effort to attain money is to live—is happiness…” (p. [5]). The intended audiences are “the investor, the business man, and the home seeker.” The areas in which investments are to be directed are Albany and Carbon counties and the town of Laramie. The two-pronged approach to that development will involve building the Laramie, Hahns Peak & Pacific Railroad and providing further development capital for other enterprises in the Gold Hill region spanning southern Wyoming and northwestern Colorado.

     Needless to say, this publication flaunts the region’s advantages in almost every respect. From timber to mines to finance, it describes the area as teeming with opportunities, both for those with money and for those who wish to make more. The text is divided into several headings, all under the guise of a “department” in charge of one particular enterprise, such as mining, smelting, railroading, publishing, irrigating, or financing. Most sections contain at least some thrilling financial news for the curious investor, and testimonials abound. The photographs interspersed throughout the book are important documents of the region and of company activities. Included are several images and some text relating to ranches and ranching.

     Under the chapter “Irrigation Department,” plans and schemes for introducing widespread irrigation into the area are explored, trumpeting “the wonderful results wrought by irrigation in sections at that time barren, uninhabited wastes, considered fit only as a habitation for the coyote and the Indian.” The model held up for the trust’s Rocky Mountain Power & Irrigation Company is the successful effort of the Mormons in Salt Lake Valley in 1847, which turned that area into productive farm land by constructing “the first irrigation canal ever built by white men in the United States.” The trust’s efforts at repeating that success are discussed at length.

     Isaac Van Horn, a prominent Bostonian, and his partners Fred A. Miller (the trust’s resident Laramie agent) and Edward R. Miller were significant investors in this part of Wyoming, holding both the railroad and later the Acme Gold & Copper Mining Company. They were instrumental in developing the town of Centennial (about thirty miles west of Laramie), a substantial portion of which they owned and developed as a sort of resort. The railroad, incorporated on February 1, 1901, reached the town in 1907 and the southern state line by 1910, whence it continued on to Hahns Peak, Colorado. The mining company got into legal difficulties with the federal government over fraudulent coal land titles it had acquired using straw men in 1914. As a result, the railroad, which was neither large nor dependable, then failed. After a reorganization, what was left of the railroad was eventually acquired in 1951 by the Union Pacific. One of its stations and the Mountain View Hotel, which it also built, still stand in Centennial. Van Horn subsequently moved to Florida, where he unsuccessfully drilled for oil. His elaborate home on New Hampshire’s Squam Lake (the setting for the movie On Golden Pond) still stands, and is now a small hotel called the Manor on Golden Pond.

($500-1,000)

 

Auction 22 Abstracts

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