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The opening of the West after the Civil War drew a flood of
Americans and immigrants to the frontier. Among the liveliest
records of the westering of the 1870s is the series of prints
collected for the first time in this book. "Chronicling the West
for "Harper's showcases 100 illustrations made for the weekly
magazine by French artists Paul Frenzeny and Jules Tavernier on a
cross-country assignment in 1873 and 1874. The pair--"Frenzeny
& Tavernier," as they signed their work--documented the newly
accessible territories, their diverse inhabitants, and the changing
Nineteenth-century California was not a destination for the faint of heart, and Frenchmen are usually said to prefer their slippers to their traveling boots. Yet many visitors from France--starting in 1786 with legendary explorer Count de LapAA(c)rouse--made their way to the remote and beautiful territory, leaving enduring accounts and images of their experience. As France's troubled revolutionary era began in the 1840s, tens of thousands of Frenchmen journeyed to California's goldfields. Some found wealth, others freedom, and some death. Many remained in San Francisco, helping shape the city and make it French from the inside.
Grass Valley was named for its spring-fed meadows, but its history springs from deep below the soil. An immeasurable wealth of gold lay in ancient river courses, embedded in quartz, or scattered capriciously in surface gravel. Vibrantly entrepreneurial since its inception, Grass Valley echoed with the roar of stamp mills crushing gold-bearing quartz 24 hours a day, every day, for decades. Its mines produced $350 million, and millions more are thought to be buried beneath the modern city. Grass Valley's wealth drew flamboyant stars like Lola Montez and gold-camp-urchin-turned-star Lotta Crabtree. It was here that philosopher Josiah Royce was born and Cherokee writer Yellow Bird (John Rollin Ridge) lived his final days. Grass Valley was often the subject of Alonzo Delano's tales of the gold rush, and more recently, it was the setting and inspiration for Wallace Stegner's best seller Angle of Repose.
Mill Valley rests in the shadow of Mount Tamalpais, the tallest peak of the Coast Range. Ancient redwood groves cloaking the mountain's flanks and nearby canyons attracted a pioneer sawmill that gave the town its name. As the timber industry was replaced by dairies, Mill Valley became a destination for those drawn to beauty: hikers, campers, naturalists, artists, writers, and dreamers who gave the town its early bohemian atmosphere. Tamalpais Scenic Railway once ran the "crookedest railroad in the world" to the summit, where passengers exulted in the taste of salty ocean winds, rolling fog, and stunning vistas of the inner bay and ocean shores. Pres. Theodore Roosevelt reserved some of the area's majestic trees, now national parkland webbed with 200 miles of scenic trails, and named them Muir Woods for naturalist John Muir.
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