Trenton Falls Stereoviews
This exhibition features stereoscopic photographs of the same landscape views the painter Thomas Hicks (1823-90) depicted in the Museums concurrent exhibition, The Moore Family and Trenton Falls: Three Paintings by Thomas Hicks. Stereoviews were a popular parlor amusement in the second half of the nineteenth century. The enterprising photographer John R. Moore (1841-1909), one of nine children of Michael and Maria Moore, the owners of the Trenton Falls Hotel, produced stereoscopic and carte de visite images of the fallss various cataracts, waterfalls and cascades. The images were sold as sets with titles such as Trenton Falls Scenery and American Scenery. They circulated widely, helping to increase the fame of this picturesque site.
Moore, who was thirteen years old when Hicks painted The Moore Family at Trenton Falls, and is likely the young boy at the right wearing a hat and blue coat, later studied law and photography at Hamilton College, served in the Civil War, and established a photographic studio in the village Trenton Falls. D. G. Beers & Co.s 1874 Atlas of Oneida County listed him as Proprietor and Manager of Photographic Studio, Stereoscopic Delineator, and Telegraphic Instrument Manipulator. He was supervisor of the Town of Trenton from 1874 to 1876, and also served in the New York State Assembly. In 1889, after his fathers death, he moved to Chelan Lake, in the North Cascades of central Washington State, where he operated a resort hotel and silver mine, and worked as a telegrapher, lawyer and postmaster, as well as a photographer.
In addition to the obvious beauty of Moores photographs, this exhibition invites questions about the relative merits and disadvantages of photographic versus painted images of landscape scenery, a subject as potent today as it was during the second half of the nineteenth century. The twelve stereoviews in this exhibition were originally owned by the Institutes founders, who doubtless visited Trenton Falls and purchased them as armchair mementos of their excursion to this popular tourist destination.