American Autumn, Starucca Valley, Erie R Road


American Autumn, Starucca Valley, Erie R Road


William Dreser
American, b. Germany, 1820–after 1865
After Jasper Francis Cropsey
American, 1823–1900
Published by T. Sinclair's Chromo Lithography, Philadelphia.




In January 1867, Jasper Cropsey's large painting titled Starrucca Viaduct (said to have been fourteen feet wide) was offered as third prize in the famous Crosby Opera House lottery. The Chicago theater's owner, distilling magnate U. H. Crosby, went bankrupt during its construction, and so devised a lottery, offering the opera house itself as first prize, to pay off his debts. Anyone purchasing four or more lottery tickets received a color lithograph of Cropsey's painting, drawn by William Dreser and printed and published by Thomas Sinclair in Philadelphia. Sinclair curiously altered the title to American Autumn, Starucca [sic] Valley, Erie R Road, probably to capitalize on Cropsey's reputation, international at this point in his career, for capturing the splendors of the fall season. The original painting is assumed to have been lost in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, and is known today through the smaller version now in the Toledo Museum of Art.

The Starrucca viaduct was constructed in 1847-48 by the New York and Erie Railroad near Lanesboro, Pennsylvania, located on the North Branch of the Susquehanna River, adjacent to the town of Susquehanna. Over 1000 feet long and 100 feet high, it was the largest stone arch bridge in the country, and it's one of the few bridges of its kind still in use today.


Palmer Museum of Art, The Pennsylvania State University, Partial gift and purchase from John C. O’Connor and Ralph M. Yeager


John C. O'Connor and Ralph M. Yeager Collection, Palmer Museum of Art, The Pennsylvania State University


This image is posted publicly for non-profit educational uses, excluding printed publication. Other uses are not permitted.


Color lithograph; 20 x 29-15/16 in. (50.8 x 76.1 cm)