I've always been a fan of Paul Dorpat's "Now & Then" feature in the Seattle Times. I noticed a guy in the UK was making composited cross-time images by matching Google's Street View with vintage photos, so I made some of my own -- though I sometimes take my own "now" photos to improve alignment. It's been fun to time travel and think about people and events that happened in our region's past. All images can be clicked to see them at full size.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Mystery Album, Part One

As I continue to make those cross-time images I've been relying less on Google Street View images and taking more of the "now" images myself. For the "then" pics I've been looking beyond the usual online archives and MOHAI for source material. I've been finding great images in old news photos and photo albums on eBay. One album in particular turned out to be a real gem. The photos are all from the early to mid 1930s and show a very active family growing up in West Seattle. Every picture is meticulously annotated by the mom, who must have been the person behind the camera.
I'm looking forward to seeing what these pictures might turn into. The family spent a lot of time visiting many popular destinations in Seattle and Western Washington, which makes them perfect for "now and then" treatment.
This all made me curious about the people in the photos. As much as I'm enjoying the pictures it's a little sad to think that such a lovely piece of family history ended up selling on eBay for under 15 bucks. That's pretty common. Sometimes there are no living descendants or an album ends up in a branch of a family with nobody to pass it on to -- or no interest in old photos.
I was able to use the names, dates and some landmarks near their house to find most of the people in the album. One of the photographer's sons is apparently still alive in Oregon, as are several grandchildren. I'm planning to contact the family to see if they have any interest in the album. It could be I bought this from them to begin with (oops) but I figure it's worth checking. I'll follow up if any news develops.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Far, Far Away

Here's another picture from my home town, but a lot people who grew up in the 70s and 80s will relate to this. A friend sent me a photo of the original marquee being removed at Bremerton's historic Roxy Theater yesterday. Coincidentally, I photographed the Art Deco movie house a few weeks ago, planning to make a composite of a crowd lined up to see Star Wars in 1977. If you grew up in Kitsap County back then, chances are you saw the original trilogy at the Roxy. In Panavision. AND color. A lot of us will always be sentimental about walking under those neon lights for our first visit to a galaxy far, far away.

It seemed like the Roxy's days as a movie palace were over years ago, but thanks to recent restoration efforts it reopened with a new marquee last month. And it's screening films once again!


Monday, August 7, 2017

Just Wild About Harry - POTUS 33 In Bremerton

After a year-long break, I'm back with some new/old photo composites -- This time venturing back to my home county.

A recent eBay find netted some terrific snapshots of Harry S. Truman's visit to Bremerton, Washington on June 6th of 1948. This was the visit where many believe Truman's famous catchphrase "Give 'em hell, Harry!" was first shouted by a man in the crowd gathered on Pacific Avenue below the Elks Club (the present-day Max Hale Center) . A couple other towns tell a similar story but Bremerton's claim is pretty strong, or at least no worse than competing versions.

The photos from before and during Truman's speech are easy to match with present-day Bremerton -- Many of the buildings, including the terraced rooftop outside the Elk's Club still exist. The photos of Truman and his traveling companions stopping shortly before arriving in Bremerton took a little more digging. At first glance, it's just a nondescript country road.

Newspaper stories during the presidential visit mention Truman leaving Olympia early that morning with his friend, Washington Governor Mon Walgren (no relation to the famous senator). One story in particular mentioned the group -- a car of staffers and a Cadillac convertible for the dignitaries -- taking Highway 3 through Shelton. A note on the back of the photo lists Bremerton's mayor L. "Hum" Kean among the group. Given the direction they were coming from and the need to add Bremerton's mayor to the group it seemed like they must have stopped somewhere just outside the city.

Truman appears to be having an animated conversation with Bremerton mayor, Hum Kean.

This ended up being correct. The house seen in the background is in the town of Gorst, just south of Bremerton where Highway 3 meets Highway 16. Not the first place that comes to mind for a presidential visit but the brickwork on the house's back porch is still clearly visible today, though it's just peeking through dense trees and bushes. Several shots in the series show Truman, Walgren and Hum Kean chatting and milling about while a few onlookers enjoy their brush with fame. The image of a US president just hanging out with a small handful of people on a country road is remarkable compared to the huge contingent who travel with presidents today.

After his visit to Bremerton, Truman and Walgren boarded the governor's yacht, Olympos and left for Seattle while reporters followed on a specially chartered ferry. After giving a short address in Seattle Truman and his entourage visited  Fort Lewis before returning to Olympia, completing their loop.