Guide to the A.P. Hill Photo Album Collection (1900 – 1904) – History

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Andrew Putnam Hill (1853 – 1922) was a noted California artist, photographer, and advocate for redwood conservation. In 1899 a major fire erupted in the redwood forests near the summit of the Santa Cruz Mountains above Los Gatos. Hill photographed the burning trees for a London magazine and the editors were so impressed that they commissioned him to take further photos of the redwoods. It was while photographing trees in the Big Trees Grove (now Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park) and at Big Basin that Hill became aware that the trees were in imminent danger of being logged. In 1900 an investigative party of concerned citizens explored Big Basin and formed the Sempervirens Club in hopes of saving the trees. Hill worked with these new advocates and others, including Santa Cruz journalist Josephine Clifford McCrackin, to publicize the importance of conserving the forests. McCrackin’s articles in the Santa Cruz Sentinel were widely reprinted throughout the state. A long, hard battle ensued, with Hill’s photographs playing a key role. In 1902 California acquired the California State Redwood Park (now Big Basin Redwoods State Park) as its first state park. In 1924, two years following Hill’s death, a monument to him was placed in the park with an inscription reading; “He Saved the Redwoods.” This album contains images by Andrew P. Hill relating to founding of Big Basin State Park; it also includes a photo of Boulder Creek, Tent City (Santa Cruz), and two of steam launches.