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!)

 

4 Responses to Balanced Rock Forever Balanced Rock (TBS Encore)

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by KRCC. KRCC said: Balanced Rock Forever Balanced Rock (TBS Encore): Possibly the most photographed spot in the entire Garden of the … http://bit.ly/dzSBdE […]

  2. Very interesting! Loved it. Tried to upload my image of Balanced Rock, but couldn’t figure out how to do it. Any suggestions?

  3. Dave Franklyn says:

    After submitting my photo of Balanced Rock a moment ago, I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was already found and used in the second video. Good stuff!

  4. Chrys Fotenos says:

    Nice interview Matt,the little boys were wearing Lord Fauntleroy suits! Thank you KRCC for the great interviews featuring our valuable Pioneers Museum!

News

YouTube
August 28, 2015 | NPR · Tony Turner wrote and sang “Harperman,” leading a (barefooted) choir through lyrics that ask questions such as “Who squashes all dissent?” and “Who muzzles all the scientists?”
 

AP
August 28, 2015 | NPR · The agency says it’s now spending record amounts on fire suppression, and these bills are coming at the expense of its other programs — many of which would help prevent future wildfires.
 

Getty Images
August 28, 2015 | NPR · The long-time coach of the New York Islanders won four Stanley Cup championships with the team — after winning four as a player.
 

Arts & Life

iStockphoto
August 28, 2015 | NPR · Television coverage is in more places than ever, doing more work than ever, involving more people than ever. In that way, it’s a lot like the medium it’s analyzing.
 

August 28, 2015 | NPR · This week’s show has HBO, summer box office, pop songs and summer songs, television we forgot to tell you about, and a lot more. It’s just packed — just like summer.
 

Alastair Bland for NPR
August 28, 2015 | NPR · Sour beers are made by deliberately adding microbes to create complex brews with a crisp, acidic taste. But that process takes lots of time and money, resulting in a pricey final product. Until now.
 

Music

Getty Images
August 28, 2015 | NPR · Bassist Christian McBride, host of NPR’s Jazz Night In America, explains the complicated dynamics between the bass and the drums in jazz — and James Brown.
 

August 28, 2015 | NPR · Bob Dylan’s seminal album, Highway 61 Revisited, celebrates its 50th birthday over the weekend. To mark the occasion, we’re asking five of NPR’s millennials to take a listen to the 50-year-old LP.
 

Getty Images
August 28, 2015 | NPR · As a wild week on Wall Street comes to a close, experimental musician Jace Clayton shares his current work-in-progress: a composition that translates stocks’ movements into sound.
 

Get the KRCC iPhone App

The Writer's Almanac

Radiolab