View of town from high above. Train headed on tracks from center foreground to center background – where tracks meet sea. River to right, and village alongside river.
In 1865, the New York Tribune editor, Horace Greeley, stated in an editorial, “Go West, young man, go West.” To encourage westward exploration, newspapers provided written descriptions of the areas west of the Mississippi River while Currier & Ives provided visual images of the beauty of the land. Expanding on the popularity of bird’s-eye views, Currier & Ives depicted the joining of railroads at Promontory Point, Utah, by showing a train traveling through the valley on its journey to the Pacific Ocean. A small settlement can be seen across the bridge in the background. In the right foreground, a number of loggers cut trees, making rafts out of the logs to transport the wood to West Coast cities such as San Francisco. Nathaniel Currier and James Merritt Ives, as well as most of the artists who worked for the firm, never traveled west of the Mississippi River. Their images of the West often romanticized the land and its people and the prints were eagerly purchased by Easterners, many of whom had also never traveled to the areas pictured in the lithographs.