Horse No. 26
Medium: Archival Pigment Print
Triptych, 26” x 39” (middle piece) / 26” x 13” (each panel),archival print on 5.5 oz. Belgian Linen In Wallflower Series Miles combines photographs he takes of animals and vintage wallpapers. He travels to abandoned homesteads, gritty ghost towns, and buildings dripping with history to photograph these exquisite wallpapers - these glorious relics of an effort made by people who wished to enjoy a simple bit of beauty inside their dwelling on the harsh and hostile American frontier. But time has had its way with these buildings, and in his own way, he takes comfort in helping the grace and grandeur of these relics to live on. Miles photographed this horse on a ranch in Montana’s Gallatin Valley. He photographed this wallpaper in the ghost town of Bannack, Montana. Members of a Colorado-based group of “Pikes Peakers” discovered gold along the creek there in July of 1862. Unaware that the creek had already been named “Willard’s Creek” by Lewis and Clark in 1805, the men christened it “Grasshopper Creek.” Good news traveled fast and miners soon rushed to the “Grasshopper Diggins.” Bannack attracted folks from all walks of life: miners, entrepreneurs, mountain men, “hurdy gurdy girls”, outlaws, Civil War deserters, adventurers, and others made the dangerous journey to what is now the “Gold West” region of Montana. The mining eventually dried up and the last inhabitants left town for good in the 1970s. Bannack was home to Henry Plummer who, in addition to his responsibilities as the town’s first sheriff, also headed up a gang of highway robbers, better known as “road agents”, though they referred to themselves as “The Innocents.” Plummer was in cahoots with this secret gang that robbed and killed travelers and those transporting valuables in and out of the area. In January 1864 Plummer was captured by the vigilantes who organized to wipe out the road agents. As the noose was being put on his neck, Plummer reportedly pleaded that if he were given a horse and an hour and a half he could return with $100,000 in gold in exchange for being set free. Plummer was hung that day, but to this day adventure seekers still scour the hills of Beaverhead County, within an hour and half ride from Bannack, hoping to find Plummer’s supposed stash of stolen gold. This gorgeous floral wallpaper hangs on the walls of the Roe/Graves House. Built in 1866 by William Roe, it was the first frame house built in Bannack. Roe had moved to Bannack in the rush of 1862 and instead of mining he developed other profitable businesses. He and his brother opened a general store and meat market, which for a time were operated from this house. Roe was one of the vigilantes who captured and hung Plummer and two other road agents on that cold January night in 1864.