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!)

 

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