This graphite on paper drawing was created by Albert Tissandier, depicting what he called “Le quartier des Indiens à Pueblo” (Pueblo Colorado Indian Neighborhood), on May 13, 1885 (from Drawings of Nature And Industry In the United States, 1885).

Mary F. Francey of the Utah Museum of Fine Arts wrote a short description of this drawing and what was called the Pueblo Indian Neighborhood, as drawn by Tissandier:

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. Tissandier’s journey across the United States took him to Pueblo and the surrounding area. A study of the Indian quarters, this drawing emphasizes their simple frontier lifestyle.

The community consisted of square, flat roofed wooden (her summary mistakenly calls them wooden but there were adobe) 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.”

This drawing communicates that sense of isolation and the tranquility of the open prairie. Fur trappers, Indians and early settlers made Pueblo a diverse community.

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. https://collections.lib.utah.edu/details?id=415812

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