The U.S. Geological Survey has a nice collection of photos from the national parks of the American West, including a bunch of images from the various surveys of Yellowstone National Park from late 1800s that eventually led to the land being protected forever by the government. These early black and white photographs capture the beautiful natural landscape of an area that has gone on to become one of the most celebrated and a widely visited places in America.
The draw of these lands is unique in its impact on so many different types of people. It’s compelling for an afternoon or for a long and drawn out sabbatical away from the pressure of everyday life. The inspiring beauty of the landscape of the American West seems like it could very easily be an agent for rehabilitation against the modern world. And it appears they knew that to be true even back in the 1870s.