DENVER, Colorado — On August 24, 1873, William Henry Jackson captured the first photograph of the Mount of the Holy Cross. 

The natural landmark had been spoken of as a religious symbol for years but few had seen it.

Those who had returned with little proof of the cross' existence.

History Colorado told 9NEWS this turned the Mount of the Holy Cross into quite the subject of folklore.

It held spiritual significance in the community as a religious symbol of Manifest Destiny.

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The young nation was expanding westward and exploring its boundaries. 

On August 24, 1873, William Henry Jackson acquired the first proof of the Mount of the Holy Cross' existence. 

It took two days to acquire the photo.

Jackson began his ascent of Mount Notch, the mountain facing the Mount of the Holy Cross, on August 23, 1873.

The prominent photographer and his crew carried close to 100 pounds of photography equipment up the mountain face.

On the morning of August 24, 1873, Jackson and his crew found the ideal spot to capture the iconic photograph.

Jackson returned to Denver with eight negatives of the Mount of the Holy Cross.

History Colorado told 9NEWS that erosion created the Mount of the Holy Cross.

Perpendicular crevices protecting snow from the wind and sun create the shape of a cross visible to hikers nearly year round. 

William Henry Jackson will be featured in the exhibit "What's Your Story" opening at History Colorado in early October 2019.

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