NE Oregon Arts


Call to the Community – Old Photographs Wanted for Exhibit

The Josephy Center wants to see your photos!


Plans are in the works for a January-February exhibit of historic photos of the Wallowa Country. We are asking local residents and people living elsewhere with family, work, and play memories of the Wallowas to dig deep into attics and old trunks for historic photos. We will then scan your photos and give you a thumb-drive full of digital images that you can share with family and friends across the world. This will be done on an appointment basis in October, with museum and history center people here to answer questions about the images. We will do all of this—without charge—in exchange for the opportunity to use some of your photos for our exhibit. Our cutoff date for this exhibit is 1941—the beginning of World War II.

The Josephy Center is cooperating with the Wallowa County Museum, the Wallowa History Center, the Chieftain, and other organizations about the exhibit. They will all have things to contribute, but we are especially interested in what you have. Maybe it’s the original of a photo reprinted in one of the Wallowa history books, or in the Chieftain or another newspaper. Maybe it’s an album that has been hidden in a cabinet or a photo in plain sight on a wall that has not been shared outside of your home.

In an initial planning meeting, we wondered about photos of family, work, play, school, special events and places. We thought about early photos we do know about: Indians working on local ranches, an early Enterprise business photo with a Chinese man in a group of businessmen—the only early photo of a Chinese person in the country we know of.

We know that there are early logging, skiing, swimming, and sledding photos out there. We’re interested. Are there photos of boxing matches at the head of the Lake? The lake tour boats? Early Eagle Cap Ski Club excursions? Hay derricks and feeding off sleds? Indians working the hay and grain harvests? Is there a picture of Albert Hester, the geologist-recluse on the Grande Ronde who wore women’s clothing and a long gray beard—he died in 1927, according to Horner, so plenty of time for photos. Any other noted—or not noted—Wallowa County eccentrics? Are there pictures of the Chinese restaurant in Wallowa? Or the one in Enterprise?

Is there another picture—other than those with A.C. Smith—of one of Chief Joseph’s 1899 or 1900 visits to the County? Did he, as some say, make a third visit in 1895?

We know that hundreds of photos are out there—does anyone have a trove of work by early photographers like Reavis and Juve. And how about the films? We know of two: “Winds of Chance,” a “Klondike” movie filmed here, and a commercial film of Enterprise businesses. Are there others?

Please call Rich or Megan at the Josephy Center, 541-432-0505, or email coordinator@josephy.orgto schedule an appointment to bring your photos in for scanning. Appointment dates will be Friday and Saturday, October 12 and 13, and Tuesday through Thursday, October 16, 17, 18 of the next week.

In November and December we will sift through the treasures you’ve shared with us, and in January, 2019 some 50-75 of them will go on the wall at the Josephy Center. Any of your photos chosen will be enlarged, mounted, and given to you after the show.

Let your memories and imaginations loose! And give Rich or Megan a call at the Josephy Center, 541-432-0505 to tell us a story and set up a date to meet with us.

Back row, left to right: Will, Ed, Don, Jim Masterson. Front Row left to right: Eliza (Masterson, Helm, Robert, Betty (Masterson) Lewis. Courtesy of Mrs. Lilly Gillette

A.C. Smith, retired Kansas cavalry Lieutenant. Came to Grande Ronde Valley with Iowa train in 1862. He became the “Mountain Man” of the Wallowa and a friend of the Indians.