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Stanton Repeat Photography

Mile 71.5, Cardenas Hilltop Ruin, Upstream View from River Left (Stake 1439)

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Stake 1439, 23 January 1890 View Larger Image
23 January 1890
The Cardenas Hilltop Ruin was once called Stanton's Fort. Built and abandoned approximately eight hundred years ago by the Ancestral Puebloans, the walls had mostly fallen by the time Stanton photographed it on January 23, 1890, at 4:15 P.M. Despite Stanton's earlier criticism that Nims was photographing too much scenery and not enough railroad route, Stanton chose to photograph the scenery here even though his railroad was to be along the opposite side of the canyon. The day was cloudy, and the low snow line in the background depicts the severe winter that Stanton's crew experienced in Grand Canyon.
Photo credit: Robert B. Stanton, 57-RS-399, courtesy of The National Archives

Stake 1439, 25 January 1990 View Larger Image
25 January 1990
The view was replicated in bright sunlight by Tom Brownold on January 25, 1990, at 12:00 P.M. Amazingly, the walls of the ruin have changed more than the desert plants that surround it. Only one plant has died in the past century: the wolfberry next to the ruin in the 1890 view. Otis "Dock" Marston took a similar photograph of Cardenas Hilltop Ruin in 1957, and the wolfberry was alive in Marston's view. Ten individuals of Mormon tea and two other individuals of wolfberry persist.
Photo credit: Tom Brownold

Stake 1439, 20 September 2010 View Larger Image
20 September 2010
The ruin has changed slightly in the past 21 years, although at least one rock has been added to the left side. The Mormon tea and wolfberry present in 1990 are still alive, and there are three new brittlebush, one new Mormon tea, and a new sand dropseed in the view.
Photo credit: Steve Tharnstrom

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