Albert Tissandier’s journey across the United States took him to Pueblo, Colorado and the surrounding area. A study of the Indian quarters, this drawing by Tissandier emphasizes their simple frontier lifestyle. It is dated May 13, 1885 and labeled “Le quartier des Indiens à Pueblo in French or Pueblo Colorado Indian Neighborhood in English.
This drawing communicates that sense of isolation and the tranquility of the open prairie. Fur trappers, Indians and early settlers made Pueblo, Colorado a diverse community.
According to historical documents written by Tissandier, this is his description of Pueblo in 1885:
“Initially established as a trading post, Pueblo is now Colorado’s second largest city. Because it was located on their route, fur traders and settlers inhabited the fort while the surrounding land was occupied by Ute Indians. Indians and the white settlers did not always happily co-exist. Mountain men traded furs with the Indians, and some married Indian women, but relations between the whites and Indians remained troubled.
An Indian attack on the fort in 1854 killed everyone except one man and a few children. After this incident, Pueblo no longer attracted traders, but continued to function as a settlement for travelers.”
He went on to describe Pueblo more: “The community consisted of square, flat roofed wooden houses placed on different levels. Outside are drying lines for clothes, barrels, and an outhouse tucked away on the side of the mountain.”
Captivated by the Indian culture, Tissandier noted that life in the Western United States was less civilized than that in the East, and neither was as civilized as life in France.
He wrote: “We left the territory of Nebraska to enter into that of Colorado, but the landscape became even more barren and abandoned. There was silence, and complete isolation.”
Source: “Albert Tissandier : Drawings of Nature And Industry In the United States, 1885”, by Mary F. Francey. Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Salt Lake City, 2001, p. 27. Digital ID: 415994.