Thursday, May 17, 2012

Promontory Cowboy Hats

May 17, 2012

Got up this morning and whipped out another take on "Last Light On Morningstar". This is number 98:

Dan The Man Harshberger came out at ten and we had a design review for our next issue. At 11:30 we broke up the meeting and gathered at Robert Ray's computer to discuss train images. I got waylaid by another matter and Dan said loudly, "Myu-ah!" Not sure of the spelling but the phonetical sounds like Mmm-you-ah. This is anglo-mashing of a Hualapai term that means "Come here." We learned this from fellow Kingman athletes and Hualapai tribal members, Delano Havatone, Moon and Squibe Nish and, of course, Alex Suthogomie. Hadn't heard the expression in at least 45 years. Made me laugh. Took this photo to prove it (Dan is quite tickled).

The Cowboy Hats of Promontory Point

I have often studied the famous Golden Spike Ceremony at Promontory Point photographs. I love it because of the variety of hats on display. Did this page of sketches off one of the photos two nights ago:

As you can clearly see, there is one hat (upper, right) that looks remarkably like a 1930s Hoot Gibson hat. You know, kind of like this one:

Yes, this is my custom made Westerner of The Year Beaver Brand hat. Surely this style of hat didn't exist in the 1860s, did it? Well, take a gander at the Promontory Photo one more time:

Do you see it? Here, let me zoom in on it for you:

Now, lest you think this is a photo fluke ("He grabbed it like that but the brim didn't really curl up on the sides like that."), well, there were multiple photographers there that day and one of them took a photo of the same scene one second later. Here's the same dude:

A little grainy (didn't have the original), but not only is the white hat a large Hoot Gibson style sombrero, it also appears to have a pencil curl, just like my Beaver Brand. As I jotted in my sketchbook there are no new hats, just old hats forgotten. Remember this the next time you criticize someone for wearing a hat with curled up sides and pronounce it as "not historically accurate."

"I would define true courage to be a perfect sensibility of the measure of danger, and a mental willingness to endure it."

—William Sherman