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Saturday, July 5, 2014

The "Owner" of Pikes Peak

These two post cards continue the theme of looking at various aspects of Pikes Peak and the parties that were responsible for the production of the post cards that highlighted the famous mountain top. The top card is titled, “Climbing Son-of-a-Gun Hill”
and the bottom is titled, “Phantom Curve.” These two pictures were taken by someone who knew Pikes Peak well: Joseph Hiestand. It says so in the bottom right hand corner of each of these post cards. I have enlarged one of the credits for you to see.

Joseph G. Hiestand was heavily involved in the promotion and the early success of Pikes Peak as a tourist attraction. He owned both the Ute Iron Springs hotel at the bottom of the peak and the Summit House at the top of the peak.

The following information was taken from these two websites:

Joseph Gonder Hiestand was born in Strasburg, Pennsylvania on August 15, 1860. He grew up in Lewiston, Pennsylvania, and already on the 1880 Philadelphia census, at the age of 20, he was listing himself as a “mineralogist.” Later he also studied with George F. Kunz of Tiffany's in New York, who encouraged him to go west.

Hiestand spent the latter years of his life living part of the time in New York, where his wife and three daughters lived year-round, but after divorcing around 1900 he moved to Manitou Springs, where he had been spending his summers. There he acquired ownership of the Ute Iron Springs, adjoining the station of the cog road up Pikes Peak. He built a pavilion and hotel at the springs which became a popular tourist attraction, and he was also owner of the Summit House on Pikes Peak.

In an anecdote recorded in The Pike’s Peak Cog Road (1972) by Morris W. Abbott, Hiestand would take a toboggan down the rails of the cog road at the end of his workday, and is credited with having made the entire trip in 11 minutes at the astonishing rate of speed of 50 mph.

He was well known for his photography of the Pikes Peak area, was the official photographer for the Manitou and Pikes Peak Railway. He even published a book: SUMMIT OF PIKE'S PEAK Via the Cog Road in 1903.

Hiestand was also a prominent local collector and dealer in mineral specimens. He made early discoveries of topaz and phenacite in Colorado which he brought to the attention of the scientific community. In 1896 he issued a 24-page booklet called Colorado minerals. It was given out "compliments of J. G. Hiestand, collector and dealer in fine mineral specimens."

Heistand had a mineral shop on Fairview Avenue in Manitou Springs, Colorado. Hiestand exhibited his collection at the 1887 Exposition, as reported in the Manitou Springs Journal (September 3, 1887). The collection was also displayed at the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The Manitou Springs Journal for May 28, 1898 reported on the sale of Heistand's mineral collection as follows: “No one will deny that the most beautiful thing in Manitou is the case of mineral specimens at the Iron Springs pavilion, collected and arranged by Mr. J.G. Hiestand. It is well worth the hundred miles travel to see the collection. "The specimens are the handsomest and are such as are not found in any other collection. The cave formations are particularly gorgeous. The crystallization is perfect. There are twelve or fifteen hundred specimens in the cabinet ranging all the way from a venus hairstone to gold nuggets that run $200,000 to the ton.”

On January 1, 1916 he accidentally shot himself dead while cleaning his guns.

The backs of the cards show that they were designed to be souvenirs of the trip up the mountain. There is a box in the top left of the card where an official stamp can be impressed to prove that the traveller had made it to the top!!

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If you know anything about the history of the cards, the trains or the locations, please add them.