November 17, 2013 |  by

I recently read Trails Begin Where Rails End by Albert D. Manchester (1987 Trans-Anglo Books) and found it a very interesting read.  The author documents, among other topics related to early 20th century motoring adventures in the southwestern United States, much about the tourist trade in and around Taos, New Mexico in the 1920s.  Made me wonder how much of the sites depicted in the photographs Eric Sloane might have seen and experienced.  Sloane wrote of supplementing his meager income from selling original sketches and paintings to the tourists of Taos by acting as an “unofficial tour guide”.  It was fascinating to see c. 1920s photographs of Taos, the LaFonda Hotel, and “Harveycar Driver-Mechanics” – men who piloted large and luxurious touring cars out into the hinterlands in what was known as “The Indian Detour”.  Eric Sloane must have at least been aware of this tourist service.  Interestingly, a photograph on page 141 of the book depicts a Harveycar and tourists in front of the Taos pueblo with some natives looking on from above.   I recall this subject, or one extraordinarily similar, in an Eric Sloane painting of Taos.

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