Everett Van Epps, Kansas Photographer and Publisher, Moves to Alma, Colorado

With this post, we are going to cross over to the 20th century, to look at the work of Everett Van Epps (1858-1935), a photographer active in Alma, Colorado, in the late 1890s until his death.  The Pikes Peak Library District in Colorado Springs has a small archive of modern prints made from Epps’ original negatives.

photo car
E. E. Van Epps Photo Gallery, probably in Hoxie, Kansas, 1888, Pikes Peak Library District

Everett E. Van Epps was born on a farm in Fremont, Iowa, on April 28, 1858, to Evert and Janett Van Epps.  Everett pursued many professional careers during his long life, but his interest in photography never wavered. He began his photographic career in 1879 working out of a railroad car in Scandia, Kansas.

In 1884 he opened a studio in a brand new building in Hanover, KS.   Everett traveled to New Orleans in January 1885,  studying photography at the  World’s Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition.  (Grit, February 27, 1885, p6, c1)

Everett moved his operation to Oberlin, KS, in 1886 and opened a series of studios in northwestern part of the state.  He juggled as many as four studios at a time, including locations in Atwood, Colby, Hoxie, and Sharon Springs. He also traveled with his outfit to several other cities in the state.

Girls in newspaper
E. E. van Epps, Cabinet Card, circa 1888, Courtesy of Worthpoint

During the early 1890s Van Epps published The Selden Times, The Colby News and The Dresden Star,  while maintaining his photo business.  In September 1890 he traveled with other Kansas newspapers editors to Colorado.  From Colorado Springs, they took a special Pullman car on the Colorado Midland to the Continental Divide, and then to Glenwood Springs and Denver before taking the Rock Island back to Kansas.

In 1892 Van Epps began working a mining claim near Colorado’s Cripple Creek, while maintaining is home in Kansas.  The following year, Van Epps worked in the photography department at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, where he printed a record 1260 pictures in a single day.  (The Pittsburg Daily Headlight, September 12, 1896, p4, c7)

Van Epps moved permanently to Alma, Colorado, in 1898. He opened a photo gallery and also worked the Wood Chuck mine on Mt. Democrat for molybdenum.  (The Colby Tribune,  January 26, 1899, p8, c3)

In the 1920s,  Van Epps used a panoramic camera to photograph mining camps in Park County, Colorado.  Copy photographs from Van Epps’s original negatives can be viewed here: http://digitalcollections.ppld.org/digital/collection/p15981coll11

Van Epps Mine
E. E. Van Epps. Van Epps Placer Claim, circa 1925. Pikes Peak Library.

Van Epps died on August 30,1935 from an accidental powder blast at his placer mine.  He is buried in Buckskin Cemetery at Alma, CO.