|Death: ||Apr. 15, 1883|
710 N. 8th Street, 13th Ward
Panorama and scenic painter; active New York City 1838-39, Philadelphia 1840-c. 1855
George Heilge, was a theatrical scenery painter in New York City in 1838-39. He moved to Philadelphia in 1840 and painted backdrops for a number of theatres, including the American Theatre in 1840, the Walnut Street Theatre in 1841, and the Arch Street Theatre in 1846. By 1844 he was also painting panoramas, such as a tour of Jerusalem and views of the Antediluvian World. Around 1850 Heilge painted a moving-picture panorama of a trip from eastern states around Cape Horn to the gold mines of California. This panorama occupied thirty-eight thousand feet of canvas. According to a playbill, Heilge based some of the panorama on his own original drawings. However, since he also relied on eyewitness sketches by John Charles Frémont, Walter Colton , John Hastings, U.S.N. Commander Robert Stockton, and James Hamilton, the extent to which the subject matter of the panorama was derived from Heilge's own experiences is open to question. Two promoters known as Beale and Craven took Heilge's panorama on a tour of eastern cities beginning in Baltimore in April 1850. The panorama also played at the Masonic Hall in Philadelphia, the South Carolina Hall in Charleston, and possibly in Reading, Pennsylvania. The program was in four acts. "Panorama First" pictured some of the ports of departure for California, such as Philadelphia, Charleston, and Washington. "Panorama Second" continued from the West Indies to Brazil. "Panorama Third" displayed views of Valparaiso, mariners' graves at Mazatlán, Honolulu and the Sandwich Islands, and such California scenes as "Emigrants forming a cavalcade … Dog fight in California … Emigrant Route to the Gold Region … Celebrated Repulse Rock … Devil's Gateway … Stenni's Slough and Ravine … Indian Encampment, near [San] Joaquim [sic] River … Gold Washers---Dry Diggings … Mormon Island … United States Hotel, and other tents … and Moonlight revelling---California serenaders." There were also tableaux of pirate depredations off the Monterey coast, including such scenes as "Monterey-Pirates, American Ship boarded by Pirates, Vessel scuttled and sinking, Distressed Crew on a Raft, Ship or Fire." Finally, "Panorama Fourth" took the audience via the Isthmus of Panama, through "Wild Scenery on the River Chagres," and back to Boston. In May 1850 a moving-picture panorama depicting "Scripture Illustrations" and "exemplifications of the Antediluvian World" by Heilge opened to the public at the New Assembly Room, Chambers Street, New York. The program featured"Moving Figures, Storms, Sunsets, Moonlights, ande." Heilge continued to paint moving-picture panoramas in Philadelphia until at least 1855. His later works included panoramas based on the Arctic explorations of Elias Kent Kane and the siege of Sebastopol in the Crimean War.
Mary Heilge (1823 - 1888)*
Georgiana H. Heilge Kochersperger (____ - 1895)*
Carrie Heilge (1858 - 1878)*
Mount Vernon Cemetery
Maintained by: Mary Harrell-Sesniak
Originally Created by: Meges
Record added: Feb 22, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 48522243
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Added: Jul. 21, 2014