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Saturday, September 12, 2015

Don't Try This at Home!

I cannot imagine being able to or wanting to stand inside one of the Spiral Tunnels on “The Big Hill” just east of Field, British Columbia. It just isn't a safe thing to do!! But that is exactly what the photographer for Gowan & Sutton Company must have done to get this beautiful shot of Cathedral Mountain.
Then, in order to sell a very impressive post card to someone, they hand tinted the real photo card. I can see a light shade of blue surrounding Cathedral Mountain; there is a slight shading of green on the side of the mountain, too.

The photographer was probably standing at the opening of the top of the Lower Spiral Tunnel in the base of Mt. Stephen. The track continues to curve to the left, which will take it to the Upper Spiral Tunnel built into the base of Cathedral Mountain.

An eastbound train leaving Field climbs a moderate hill, goes through two short, straight tunnels on Mt. Stephen, under the Trans-Canada Highway, across the Kicking Horse River and into the Lower Spiral Tunnel in Mt. Ogden. It spirals to the left up inside the mountain for 891-m and emerges 15-m higher. The train then crosses back over the Kicking Horse River, under the highway a second time and into the 991-m tunnel in Cathedral Mountain. The train spirals to the right, emerging 17-m higher and continues to the top of Kicking Horse Pass.

I have written in my past blogs about this area that straddles British Columbia and Alberta in the Rocky Mountains. See my 2013 entries from February 17th (probably from Cathedral Mountain looking back at Mt. Stephen), March 22nd and April 5th as well as Nov. 8, 2014. I have also written about the publisher/printer on April 12th and August 2nd of 2013 and February 1st of 2014.

Gowan Sutton (1921 – 1960) was a publisher of real photo and printed postcards of the Canadian West. Not only did they produce cards depicting large cities, they captured many hard to reach views within the Canadian Territories. Many of their cards were hand tinted in a simple manner striving for style rather than realism, which created cards in vastly differing quality. While the real photo cards were made in Canada their printed cards were made in England.

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