Possibly the most photographed spot in the entire Garden of the Gods, Balanced Rock’s place as a backdrop in tourist photographs for more than a hundred years gives it a status worthy of “the most photographed barn in America” from Don DeLillo’s satirical novel White Noise: “No one sees the barn. Once you’ve seen the signs about the barn, it becomes impossible to see the barn.”

Who among us hasn’t had our photograph taken with Balanced Rock, pretending to prop it or topple it? Who among us hasn’t spent more time looking at the camera that’s photographing us against it than the rock itself? Perhaps the photographs, past and present, are the best evidence that there is no “one” balanced rock. In fact, we believe that the two slide shows below will attest to the terrifying possibility that some Behemoth or Wooly Golem replaces Balanced Rock each night with a Balanced Rock that looks just similar enough to pass for all other Balanced Rocks.

Regardless, these images are but few of what must be millions of images and digital copies that testify to the fascination that Balanced Rock continues to hold for us no matter how many times we pose in front of it.

Let’s start with the past and Matt Mayberry of the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum:

Says Mayberry, Director of the Pioneers Museum:

The Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum has an outstanding collection of historic photographs—some 80,000 images in our collection. One of the great series of images in that collection come from Balanced Rock at Garden of the Gods. An exhibit that I’ve always thought about doing, and now will have a chance to do virtually, is to show how beloved Garden of the Gods, and Balanced Rock in particular, have been by tourists coming through and by photographers. Because of the way the road is up there now, it almost requires you take it from one specific location because of the parking lot and the roadway. But this reminds you that there were many different ways to get to Balanced Rock and the park wasn’t as carefully defined in terms of trails as it is today.

The next slideshow is culled from various places on the web as a sampling of the present. Though Sombreros and Burros have given way to track suits and Big Gulps, there is something equally essential about Balanced Rock’s status as evidence. “I’ve been here!” the photos still say. And somehow it’s reassuring.

The Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum is gladly accepting donations of Balanced Rock photographs from any era up to and including the present! Please contact them through their website HERE

(We always appreciate your comments below. If you have tips for other Big Somethings, please email us at thebigsomething@krcc.org. Thanks!)

 

2 Responses to Balanced Rock Forever Balanced Rock

  1. [...] of our favorite things about The Big Something has been the opportunity to open windows onto our local history through audio slideshows with expert narration by staff members of the museum. In light of the [...]

  2. I am a local Artist painted in oil the Balanced
    Bock, Kissing Camels you can see at my webside.
    Ingrid Spreuer

News

EPA /LANDOV
January 28, 2015 | NPR · A Japanese hostage held by the violent extremist group ISIS has reportedly been forced to record a message setting a Thursday deadline for Jordan to release an Iraqi prisoner.
 

AP
January 28, 2015 | NPR · The Air Force says the decision came down to the American-made 747-8 or the Airbus A380, which is manufactured in France. But even with that pick, the 747 program might not last much longer.
 

National Park Service
January 28, 2015 | NPR · It’s been nearly 100 years since a sighting of a Sierra Nevada red fox was documented in Yosemite National Park, according to park staff.
 

Arts & Life

South Dakota State Historical Society
January 28, 2015 | NPR · Wilder’s memoir reveals that she witnessed more violence than you’d ever know from her children’s books. The South Dakota State Historical Society can barely keep up with demand for the autobiography.
 

January 28, 2015 | NPR · Robert Siegel talks to Joe Weisberg, creator of the FX television series, The Americans, about the similarities between his show and recent real-life spy-related events in New York and Argentina.
 

Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures
January 28, 2015 | NPR · The film about a Navy SEAL whose service in Iraq made him a mythic figure has become a cultural lightning rod. But the squabbles are too simple for a low-key movie striking in its lack of stridency.
 

Music

NPR
January 29, 2015 | WBGO+JAZZ.org · A 76-year-old jazz record label gathers its new crop into a band. Robert Glasper, Ambrose Akinmusire, Marcus Strickland, Lionel Loueke, Derrick Hodge and Kendrick Scott play each others’ tunes.
 

Kazoobie Kazoos
January 28, 2015 | NPR · They’re the instrument anyone can play — but only two places in the U.S. make them, and only one makes the colorful plastic kind most people know. Karen Michel pays a visit to the latter.
 

Mountain Stage
January 28, 2015 | NPR · The Louisville native performs songs from 2014′s moody, languid, country-inflected Electric Ursa.
 

Get the KRCC iPhone App

The Writer's Almanac

Radiolab