Saturday, February 23, 2013

Sepia Saturday #165; Unkown folks from Benton and Wasco Counties

The theme for today is "Group Portrait of an Unknown Family". As said in Sepia Saturday. "All lovers of old photographs are familiar with unknown people, unknown families and unknown places, we all have them in our collection, and Sepia Saturday 165 provides an opportunity to give them their moment in the limelight, not because of who they are but because of who they may be."   And so it is with this collection of pictures, some group, some not, that most likely is connected to my Keyes ancestors in Oregon. Their 1870s  arrival  in eastern Oregon was via Benton County, Isthmas of Panama, Tennessee, Virginia, and back to Ireland and the Scots border lands.  The following "unknown" pictures came to me from a Keyes cousin, who had "rescued" a number of old albums  that had apparently been in the Brown, Keyes, Butler and Donnelly families.  The lovely old fashioned albums were in disrepair -- cut up, pages torn out, pictures removed, and discarded as trash.

This first picture shows two young boys in The Dalles,Oregon, circa  1880s. The photographer was F. J. Gerhes. In the 1850s through  1870s, The Dalles was the County Seat for most of eastern half Oregon, and continued to be an important city on the Columbia for all of eastern Oregon.

The  picture below is a tintype of two unknown men. They each have a faint familiar look, and could be from the Keyes, Brown, or Donnelly families in either Corvallis, The Dalles, or Mitchell, Oregon.
The following  two pictures were taken by Ted Brown, a photographer who apparently took a number of tures in the Mitchell-Fossil area of eastern Oregon. The young men are most likely of the Keyes, Donnelly or Butler families --- all of whom were inter-related.

The couple below were photographed in The Dalles, Oregon, by C. M. duVall, photographer.

A group picture of a young family. No indication of a photographer, but there was a notation Canyon City (a small town just south of John Day, Oregon) that "might" have gone with this picture.
The following picture is a tintype and was found with other tintype pictures of my Benton County Keyes family.  If I had to hazard an educated guess, I would say this was Rebecca Jane Keyes Donnelly.
And now a family group picture.  However, I really do know all of the young people in this picture. I am thinking it was taken in 1875, just before the wedding of Margaret Delilah Keyes to Abiather Barrett Newton.  My great grandfather James Edward Leonardis Keyes returned to the family home in Benton County to attend his sister's wedding.  He and his cousin Zachary Taylor Keyes were building a sheep ranch near Mitchell, Oregon.

Keyes Siblings, circa 1875
Back Row, L-R, Alexander Doran, James E. L., and John Ward Keyes
Front Row, L-R, Margaret D., Rebecca  J., and Orena Cordelia Keyes
This post is part of a series of posts for Sepia Saturday, which provides an opportunity for bloggers to share their history through photographs. You can view more Sepia Saturday images here. 

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 © Joan G. Hill, Roots'n'Leaves Publications

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Sepia Saturday, # 163: A Snowy Day at Jabez B. McPherson's House in Bentley, Alberta

The following photo is a  good choice for this week's prompt, what with snow and the long furry and heavy coats.  The picture was taken in 1908 outside the home of Jabez B. & Zella McPherson in Bentley, Alberta, Canada.  Jabez is the man in the long dark fur coat in front of the horses.  I believe his wife Zella is standing just to the left of the sledge.  At this time, most of Jabez' brothers still lived in Bentley, so the other folks could be his brothers and their wives, or perhaps Bentley friends.

Circa 1908, Jabez and Zella McPherson with Friends and Family,
Bentley, Alberta, Canada
Courtesy of Bentley & District Historical Society and The Bentley Historical Museum

Jabez's father, William Burns McPherson (older brother of my great-grandfather James Burns McPherson) led his family north from Wisconsin when homesteading land opened up in the Alberta territory of Canada.  The McPherson group, which included William B., his sons Willie M, Jamie, Jabez Burns (who was a cousin of  my grandfather Jabez Burns McPherson) Charles, and Victor, arrived in Bentley in 1899.  They built homes, sawmills, a creamery and cheese company in Bentley;  helped build schools and churches as well as participated in the town government.  However by 1925, only the above Jabez Burns McPherson (my 1st cousin, 2x removed) remained in this small Alberta town.  He and his wife Zella had no children and lived out their years in and around Bentley.  Both are buried in the local cemetery.

One of Jabez McPherson's sawmills
Most likely the second, judging by the cars
Courtesy of Bentley, Alberta, Museum's Chronicles of Bentley

To end this collection of snow and Jabez, I have included the above picture of one of his sawmills.  If you liked these pictures, you might be interested in this Jabez post.

This post is part of a series of posts for Sepia Saturday, which provides an opportunity for bloggers to share their history through photographs.  You can view more Sepia Saturday images here.

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 © Joan G. Hill, Roots'n'Leaves Publications

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Sharing Memories: The Esquire Theater in Klamath Falls

The Esquire Theater Spire
Courtesy of Dan Haneckow

Klamath Falls'  Esquire Theater was built in 1939 and was a contemporary of the  Tower Theater. However I don't have many childhood memories of going to the Esquire.  Now I asked myself, "Why?"  I could remember specific movies and events at the Tower, Pelican, Pine Tree, and even the old store-front movie theaters, the Rainbow and Vox, but not the Esquire.   In my child's mind,  the Pine Tree and Pelican theaters were the older theaters which were around in the silent movies days; the Pelican a special theater that my parents talked about,  and perhaps town kids went to matinees;  the Pine Tree had a fare of westerns -our family favorites. The Rainbow and Vox also showed westerns--at least that what I remember of those two theaters. No childhood memories of the Esquire.

A bit of wool-gathering thoughts of movies times of my childhood seemed to provide a glimmering of the answer.  By the 1950s, the Tower was the closest of these two new theaters  to our rural farm, whereas the Esquire was the "townie" theater.  When I was in high school distance and "townie"  was a factor, but not so much when we joined the ranks of "young married's." 

When I think of the Esquire, I remember the deep maroon spire with the white lettered ESQUIRE that rose above the the neighboring businesses -- and at night the the lighted spire drew patrons to a magical movie night. The Art Deco-style theater also had a more modern elegance, at least in my mind.  The stone and glass ticket booth was lovely in the theater's hey-day.  Even this 1984 picture,  which was taken after the theater closed and in disrepair, reflects the original elegance of the theater.

The Esquire Theater Ticket Booth in 1984
Courtesy of Dan Haneckow

We saw many movies in this theater in the 1950s, and here are a few of my most memorable moments.    I remember climbing the carpeted center-aisle stairs to see Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.  The theater was packed, nearly sold out, and Ric and I had to sit nearly in the back row, high above the screen, and just below the projection booth.  Strange how such a seemingly innocuous memory sticks in one's mind-- but I really liked  that movie.  

Another Esquire moment came while watching 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Movies, to me, were not a spectator sport, but rather an opportunity to live another life albeit for just an hour or so.  In this movie, I am right there with Kirk Douglas in the  boat, or maybe on a dock,  as the giant squid rises up behind him. The theater seemed to have a collective silent inhalation of breath, as I scream a warning to Kirk, "Watch out behind you!"  My husband Ric, shushes me and shakes his head with a knowing smile.  This wasn't the first time I had lost myself in a movie, nor would it be the last -- but perhaps the loudest --and most notable if the"tittering" of folks around us was any indication..

We usually parked in a store lot a few blocks from the Esquire. A brisk walk in the winter, but in the warmer months walking back to the car from the theater was a treat.  Cool crisp evenings, clear star-laden skies, made for a great ending to a night out, as Ric and I walked hand-in-hand down the familiar streets.  That's how I remember the Esquire Theater. 

The Esquire Theater in 1984
Courtesy of Dan Haneckow

In the early 1960s, Ric and I moved our family of three young children to Pullman, Washington, in order for him to attend the Washington State University's Veterinary College, so we didn't see the downward spiral of the movie theaters that were part of our history.   By 1984, when the above picture was taken , the Esquire had closed and the glamor of those wonder years had disintegrated to a damaged, empty  marquee and a shabby, worn-out version of its former self.  However that lovely old Art Deco theater had fans throughout the Klamath Basin, who had a vision of a community center dedicated to the arts.  Fundraising started in 1983, but the plans came dangerously close to failure when the theater owners decided to demolish the building.  The Founders of the very active local Community Lounge stepped up and purchased the building.  They then donated the building to the City of Klamath Falls in exchange for a permanent home in a portion of the renovated building.

By 1989, a number of community businesses and leaders had stepped up and made the $2 million renovation a reality.  The theater, renamed the Ross Ragland Theater, after a prominent local civic leader and patron of the arts, opened in March of 1989.  The first presentation was a local production of The Music Man.  Since then, our family has attended a number of events at the Ross Ragland Theater, ranging from children's dance programs,  Cowboy Poetry presentations and contests, and a lovely musical production of White Christmas.
The Ross Ragland Theater, Klamath Falls, 2011
Courtesy of Dan Haneckow
The Ross Ragland Theater now is a privately-owned, not-for-profit corporation, which is widely supported in Klamath County and surrounding areas.  The Theater has added a Cultural Center which allows the theater to further serve the community by providing a venue for meetings, banquets, and even weddings.  It's reassuring that the Ross Ragland Theater is providing a cultural center for Klamath County and the four surrounding counties, as well as providing cultural experiences, through its Outreach and Education programs for the next generation of theater-goers.

Although when I look up at the spire of the theater, I still miss the brightly lighted ESQUIRE sign.

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 © Joan G. Hill, Roots'n'Leaves Publications