Above: A hand-colored image of a New Mexico dude ranch. Photograph by Minesh Bacrania.
In 1925, the Fred Harvey Company announced something new and exotic: Indian Detours. Travelers who came west on the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway to stay at Harvey hotels in New Mexico and Arizona would caravan to places like Inscription Rock, Chaco Canyon, and Taos Pueblo. To promote the trips, boosters were given suitcases filled with glass slides bearing photographic images that they would load into “magic lanterns” to impress prospective customers during slide-show lectures—a physical forerunner of the Travel Channel. The Palace of the Governors Photo Archives, in Santa Fe, holds a near-complete set of images taken for the project by Edward Kemp, among other photographers. Together, they tell a story of an earlier era’s approach to tourism, including stereotypical portrayals of cowboys, Native people, and romantic dude-ranch couples. “The slides were made in black-and-white, and each set was hand-colored, so none of them are precisely the same,” Photo Archivist Hannah Abelbeck says. “This set is very nice—and may be one of just 15 in the world.”
Entry to the Photo Archives is by appointment. Visitors reach it through the New Mexico History Museum, on the Santa Fe Plaza.