Scenes from the Centennial

De Camp, Gates of the Mountains

"The Heart of the Gates of the Rocky Mountains."
From a painting by Ralph DeCamp.1

Olin D. Wheeler was a writer and publicist for the Northern Pacific Railway, which parallels much of the Lewis and Clark Trail, especially from Billings westward. His highly successful book, illustrated with more than 100 halftones mostly made from pictures taken by photographers he hired along the route, gave the American public its first comprehensive view of the trail, on the occasion of the centennial observance of the expedition.

Ralph DeCamp was a minor American painter who was living in Helena, Montana, around 1900. He later became associated with a group of ten Impressionist painters that included several more prominent figures such as Childe Hassam, John Henry Twachtman, J. Alden Weir, and William Merritt Chase. In 1902 DeCamp accompanied Olin Wheeler over segments of the Lewis and Clark trail not only as an artist but also as a photographer.


1. Olin D. Wheeler, The Trail of Lewis and Clark, 2 vols. (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1904), 1:39.