Can You Help Solve a Fifty Year Old Family Mystery?

What is this? 
and more importantly, 
Exactly, where was this picture taken?

My grandparents passed away in the 1990's, and my father received this when his brother, sister, and he were dividing up some family heirlooms.  A few years later, he gave it to me.

I don't know anything about it, other than my grandfather had it at least as long as I have been alive.

It is a photo printed on glass.  It's huge, about 2' wide x 3' tall.  I assume it was taken in the late 1800's because in the actual picture, you can see a horse drawn wagon and a couple of men dressed in clothes from that era.  Plus, it just looks like a picture from that time period.  It appears to have been taken at the Grand Canyon or some place with similar geology.

If anyone knows anything about this picture, particularly it's exact location, please leave a comment.  I don't travel much, but I am going to visit that area very soon.  It would be pretty cool to visit and see in person, a location that I have wondered about for almost half a century.


  1. It looks more like some parts of Utah that I saw many years ago but I could be off by several states too.
    Damn, good luck with this, I know I would want to know too.

  2. Canyon de Chelley on the Navaho Reservation New Mexico.

  3. Actually in Arizona but yes, Canyon de Chelly (pronounced like "Shay") National Monument.

  4. That was quick :) I had put up a post for you as well Neil.

  5. Butte Creek or Butte Creek Canyon?

  6. Thanks Irish, and all the other people who helped me out so quickly! In less than a day, I had the answer to a question that had been haunting me for almost fifty years. Willy Kanos, wild Rivr Ranger, and anonymous were correct. Thanks again, everyone!

    P.S. Does anyone know anything about old photos printed on glass? Was that a common thing back then? I know that photo negatives were glass in the old days.

  7. My apologies for not finishing my thought in the first post. I just had a senior moment after I explained why they used glass for negatives and wandered off after previewing that first part.
    Glass is/was a ubiquitous and very inexpensive medium and easily coated. Original prints were generally on metal which was expensive and required some skill to size and polish. Glass however, could be cut by almost anyone quickly and accurately and reached a point long ago where it was flat and uniform. Most early photographers made their own plates and if you were fiddling with your cameras and such, silver or copper plates were hard to come by. Just don't let the burro get spooked by a buzztail and throw your packs of glass plates into the canyon.