A friend recently sent me this 1870s Great S J Morrow Deadwood Saloon Bottles Ranch Stereoview. I was at first taken by the site of this early town most of us had seen on TV in the series of the same name. But looking closer it revealed quite a cache of discarded bottles, some of which I’d have to believe were a bottle collectors dream. The pictures tell the story and if we could go back and just grab one barrel full I can’t imagine what treasures we’d find. The Steroview was posted on Ebay and it came with this description.
|A fantastic circa 1876 Deadwood stereo view titled in period manuscript “Bottle Fiends Ranch in Deadwood Black Hills.” With wonderful detail showing dozens of wooden barrels overflowing with empty bottles from a Deadwood saloon. The log cabin in the foreground is partly submerged in bottles overflowing from the barrels. These bottles no doubt held the wine and hard liquor that provided refreshment to an assortment of miners, workers, citizens, lawmen and outlaws. They may have even come from the saloon where Wild Bill Hickok met his untimely end. Part of Deadwood’s commercial district can be seen on the higher ground behind the log cabin. The building in the center has a sign reading “Chambers & Davis.” Other businesses line the street which is partly fenced with raised supports above the cabin.This view has great three-dimensional effect in a viewer bringing the detail to life. The cabin, lone tree and bottles lie in the ravine with with the photo taken by Morrow standing on the ledge partly visible in the foreground. With the imprint, ” Photographed and Published by S. J. Morrow, Yankton, Dakota Territory. Photographic Gems of the Great North-West. Circa 1876.The back of the mount has an interesting period ownership stamp for George Cook” (NOT George Crook, the Indian fighter) and descriptions in English and German. The original owner, George Cook has titled this view “Bottle Fiends Ranch” suggesting that the owner of the cabin (or is it the saloon?) may have been one of the earliest western saloon bottle collectors. There is also an intriguing military-looking stamped logo with the words “Nunquam Retrorsa” which loosely translates as “Never Retreat.”The 1950s reference book, “Stanley J. Morrow’s Dakota Years by Hart & Lass reproduces a photo of this image on page 93 where it is titled “Rear of Saloon in Deadwood Showing Empty Bottles.” The South Dakota Historical Society shows a photo online, it appears to be reproduced from the book. This view being auctioned is the only example I am aware of on Morrow’s mount. I have seen one other on a later mount believed to have been made by Morrow in the late 1880s from his partly-damaged glass negatives surviving after a fire.
The lower edge of the mount under the left image appears to have been very slightly trimmed by 1/16 to 1/8 inch, o/w near excellent with fine detail. In the enlarged scan of the bottles lying on the ground, one can see that some have their labels. Buyer pays shipping which includes insurance. See all 5 scans.