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Unidentified history – in glass!
By Clay Eals
Tom Reese, former longtime photographer for The Seattle Times and the photographer for the 2016 book Once and Future River: Reclaiming the Duwamish, has a mystery that he would like help solving.
Actually, he has 15 mysteries. They are the stunning scans of 15 glass negatives that he recently purchased at the Antique Mall of West Seattle.
When and where were they taken? The clues are few. Perhaps one of you reading this blog can help.
The Antique Mall had no information about the negatives other than they came by way of an estate sale, perhaps from a family in Magnolia.
Most are of exteriors – showing horses, logs, sailboats, falls and settlements. (A “Jonks Bros” sign peeks out from one. The image with tents shows men in uniform waiting in line. A left hand protrudes in another image.)
Two show interiors – a kitchen and some dishware. (A blow-up of the hanging phone book is little help. In the dish photo, two boxes in the background say “Specially manufactured for Case, Gravelle & Ervin Co, Butte, Mont. by William Liddell Co, Belfast, Ireland.”)
A scrap of a 1901 newspaper clipping (below) was slipped between two of the negatives — a clue?
Are these from the Northwest? Is there a thread among them? Even if only one image were identifiable, it might make for a great “Now & Then” column!
We ask ye of endless curiosity and skill to help us piece together this story – or stories. To do so, please reply below. The first person to reply with at least a partial and substantive solution to these mystery photos will receive an inscribed copy of Seattle Now & Then: The Historic Hundred!