Whitney’s Gallery

Third Street and Cedar
Charles D. Elfelt’s store and Whitney’s Gallery, Third and Cedar, St. Paul. (1852) MHS
I become increasingly fascinated by the concept of the photographer’s studio as an outpost of culture on the American frontier. Saint Paul was known as “Pig’s Eye Landing” after a popular tavern until 1841. It was incorporated in 1849. The first business directory of St. Paul from 1850 didn’t list any photographers, but there numbers grew exponentially after Minnesota was labeled as a territory in 1852. Early studios were typically labeled as “galleries” and I’m sure that they provided a site for the exchange of news and views.

Whitney’s gallery, on yet another corner of Third and Cedar in Downtown St. Paul was across the street diagonally from the site of Ingersoll’s studio 1885-1890, and would have literally been next door (if it still existed—it didn’t) to the next incarnation of Ingersoll’s studio from 1891-1894 at 27 E. Third Street.

This corner, since 1966 at least, has housed the Crowne Plaza Hotel. Billed as “the place to meet,” I suspect that this intersection might have claimed that distinction since at least 1852.

Crowne Plaza

The current site of Whitney’s Gallery.

1 thought on “Whitney’s Gallery”

  1. For the record, Jeff Ward truely deserves to be callled a great American photographer. His approach is drenched in classic Americana. I met Jeff when we both lived in our hometown of Bakersfield, California in the early 90’s. He taught me the sound of pictures. Thanks, Slim the Drifter

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