Original stereoview card of George Washington's tomb, Mount Vernon, Va. c.1866 albumen print by the renowned photographer Alexander Gardner. I picked this up on Ebay for $6..! A contemporary of photographer Mathew Brady, Gardner was famous for his photographs of the Civil War, portraits of President Abraham Lincoln, Gen. Robert E. Lee, Gen.U.S. Grant, Gen. George Custer (among many others), the execution photos of the Lincoln conspirators, images of the American West and Native Americans. He is considered to be one of the most important photographers in American history. This stereoview is one of a series, "The Home of Washington Illustrated", he did for the Mount Vernon Preservation Association as listed on the back of the card.
The Sun Valley neighborhood of San Rafael, Ca. was the location of the California Motion Picture Company (CMPC), a pioneer of feature-length films specializing in films about the early history of California. The studio complex was built in 1912 by George E. Middleton, a prominent San Francisco automobile dealer for the purpose of shooting promotional footage of the automobiles he was selling. He determined that his pretty wife, actress/singer Beatriz Michelena could star in movies made by his company and Middleton starred Michelena in 11 features for the San Rafael studio between 1914 and 1917. Michelena was talented but her demands for star treatment brought heavy expense to productions that continued to lose money and in 1916 CMPC filed for bankruptcy. Middleton and Michelena bought out the company in 1917 and renamed it Michelena Studios, finally closing for good around 1920 due to lack of profits and the rise of Hollywood. Today, almost 100 years later, the studio site where there once were cowboys and stagecoaches is now a quiet residential neighborhood with houses and trees.
© Joseph Greco