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Joseph G. Hiestand

Joseph Gonder Hiestand was born in Strasburg, Pennsylvania on August 15, 1860, the son of Eve Ann Gonder and John Valentine Hiestand (1825-1896), a coach maker. He grew up in Lewiston, Pennsylvania, and already on the 1880 Philadelphia census, at the age of 20, he was listing himself as a “mineralogist,” having been mentored there by "Prof. Fisk" (possibly George Washington Fiss, a prominent Philadelphia mineral collector). Later he also studied with George F. Kunz of Tiffany's in New York, who encouraged him to go west.

In 1888 Heistand married Aline Zerelda Garrison, and together they had three daughters: Estelle Louise Heistand (1889-1959; she never married), Mary Madeline Heistand (1892-1989; married Gustaf Emil Lindquist and had two children: Emmett Gustaf Garrison Lindquist and Aline Genevieve Lindquist) and Genevieve Garrison Heistand (1895-1956; married twice but no children).

Hiestand spent the latter years of his life living part of the time in New York, where his wife and daughters lived year-round, but after divorcing around 1900 he moved to Manitou Springs, where he had been spending his summers. There he acquired ownership of the Ute Iron Springs, adjoining the station of the cog road up Pikes Peak. He built a pavilion and hotel at the springs which became a popular tourist attraction, and he was also owner of the Summit House on Pikes Peak. He was well known for his photography of the Pikes Peak area, was the official photographer for the Manitou and Pikes Peak Railway.

Hiestand was also a prominent local collector and dealer in mineral specimens. He made early discoveries of topaz and phenacite in Colorado which he brought to the attention of the scientific community. In 1896 he issued a 24-page booklet called Colorado minerals. It was given out "compliments of J. G. Hiestand, collector and dealer in fine mineral specimens." This booklet was actually written by J. S. Randall in 1894 and revised as late as 1899. Apparently, Heistand paid Randall to reprint it for him to use as either a gift to customers or to sell in his gift shop.

Heistand had a mineral shop on Fairview Avenue in Manitou Springs, Colorado, and he appears on the 1910 census as divorced and working as a "Retail merchant, minerals and souvenirs."

Hiestand exhibited his collection at the 1887 Exposition, as reported in the Manitou Springs Journal (September 3, 1887):

“Manitou [Springs] will come in for her share of the display. Mr. J.G. Hiestand will show … one of the finest collections of mineral specimens ever made in Colorado, the greater part of which he has collected himself. …”

The collection was also displayed at the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The Manitou Springs Journal for May 28, 1898 reported on the sale of Heistand's mineral collection as follows:

Mineral Collection Sold
No one will deny that the most beautiful thing in Manitou is the case of mineral specimens at the Iron Springs pavilion, collected and arranged by Mr. J.G. Hiestand. It is well worth the hundred miles travel to see the collection. There was nothing at the world's fair that would compare with it. This noted case of mineral specimens has been sold and in 1900 will be on exhibition at the Paris exposition. Miss Anna Held, the French actress, is the purchaser. After seeing the glittering gems and sparkling crystals the rich, ebullient songstress grew dizzy at ‘ze butiful deesplay' and could not close her great ocular orbs for sleep until she had purchased the mineral set to take to Paris. The case will remain where it is for one year however.

"The specimens are the handsomest and are such as are not found in any other collection. The cave formations are particularly gorgeous. The crystallization is perfect. There are twelve or fifteen hundred specimens in the cabinet ranging all the way from a venus hairstone to gold nuggets that run $200,000 to the ton.”

But there was more to the collection, as the following article in the Manitou Springs Journal (October 13, 1900) reports:

“J.G. Hiestand and A.L. Shelley started Friday for Warren, Pa., where they will deliver the case of specimens Mr. Hiestand sold to Mr. Levi Smith of that place. The case contained 1,044 specimens.”

The Levi Smith collection, including many specimens from the Copper Queen mine in Bisbee, Arizona, was bequeathed to the Warren County School District when Smith died in 1917, and was eventually sold at auction in 2006.

On January 1, 1916 he accidentally shot himself dead while cleaning his guns.

KELKER, L. R. (1907) History of Dauphin County, Pennsylvania. Lewis Publishing Co., vol. 3, 517-519.
ANON (1916) Shot kills J. G. Hiestand. New York Times, January 3.
U.S. Federal Census, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910.
Christine Patton Bruhn [dau. of Aline] (2010) Personal communication.
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WILSON, Wendell E. (2019)
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The Mineralogical Record - Joseph G. Hiestand Joseph G. Hiestand
The Mineralogical Record - Joseph G. Hiestand Interior of Heistand's mineral and curio shop in Manitou Springs, Colorado (1887)
The Mineralogical Record - Joseph G. Hiestand Box imprints
The Mineralogical Record - Joseph G. Hiestand Cover of Hiestand's 1895 catalog. (Denver Public Library)
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