Five times during the 1840's pictures were painted of the Mississippi River that measured from four hundred and forty yards up to twelve hundred and fifty in length by four in height. Exhibited as moving newsreels or travelogues in St. Louis, Cincinnati, Louisville, New Orleans, and in many another city on their way to the eastern seaboard before they were carried to Europe, they entertained and instructed vast audiences and some of them earned considerable fortunes for their producers. They enjoyed a place in theatrical history and in the educational uses of art well recognized in their day, but long since they have been almost completely forgotten. Except for a few contemporary prints and a handful of recent articles, hardly a thing is known today of this once popular form.
Many long years ago my interest was aroused in this subject by the numerous accounts I found of the pictures in the St. Louis newspapers of the period, for all of the artists had career connections with St. Louis, two of the panoramas had been painted there, and three of them exhibited in the home