January 3, 2014

Two New Gill Stereoviews (Animated as GIFs)

Location: Columbia, PA, USA
While visiting Lancaster over Christmas, I found a present with my name on it sitting beneath my wonderful in-laws' Christmas tree containing two rather interesting photographs.  The photos were part of William L. Gill's "Stereoscopic Home Views," a set of 133 three dimensional photos of Lancaster City and County sold commercially around 1866-1867.  See previous posts (Lancaster City photos, Lancaster County photos) for another ten of these photos from my collection, as well as some of the 10-20 that I've seen on Ebay and another 10-20 in the Denis Collection at NY Public Library.

The first of these images has great clarity and contrast, and depicts an unidentified farm lane with three men in the foreground and a handsome farmstead on a ridge in the background.  It is labeled "Road Scene" and is #39 in the series.
"Road Scene" by William L. Gill (vws)
As stereoviews, the photographs are much more impressive when viewed through a stereoviewer (which I have done).  However, you can get some of the effect by viewing the image as an animated GIF with alternating left-right images.  Here is "Road Scene" as an animated GIF:

The second image is of the ruins of the Columbia-Wrightsville Bridge, famously destroyed on June 28, 1863, to stop the Confederate advance.  It's not quite as clear as the "Road Scene" image, but is interesting nevertheless for its content.  It is #10 in Gill's series and labeled "Columbia Bridge Piers."
"Columbia Bridge Piers" by William L. Gill (vws)
And that same image as an animated GIF...

These images stand out as part of a rather remarkable collection that visually documents Lancaster's urban and rural landscapes in the 1860s.  It seems to be only a matter of time until someone in Lancaster does a then-and-now exhibit with these fascinating 3D photos, but as far as I know the Gill photographs are largely missing from historical collections in Lancaster.  

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