Tag Archives: Photographers

John A. Hanson, Photographer

Hanson’s standard advertisement. Courtesy of Verna L. Haley
The itinerant professional photographer of the late 1800s was an interesting creature in the rural areas such as Lassen. Many were single young men. After all, one would have to ride “circuit.” Susanville at that time, with a population base of less than 500, it could not sustain a full time photography studio. They would travel to neighboring communities in search of business. After a few years, they would move to a new territory.

John Hanson came to Susanville and initially opened his photography studio in a tent. With that type of mobility, it appeared Hanson was just traveling through town. Yet, Hanson found romance in Susanville with a young lady, by the name of Fannie Streshley, who operated a millenery store a block from Hanson’s tent. The relationship turned serious and the two were married on October 31, 1883. The couple made Susanville their home until 1886, when they moved onto unknown greener pastures.

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A Marysville Merchant

Big Meadows Maidu Camp, 1887. Courtesy of the National Park Service
Big Meadows [now Lake Almanor] Maidu Camp, 1887. Courtesy of the National Park Service
If there was a text book history of Lassen County, N.D. Rideout name would probably not show up, and if it did it would be an obscure footnote.  Yet, this Marysville merchant did exercise some influence on the region, especially when he became an investor in a short line railroad known as the Northern California. When T.B. Walker’s Red River Lumber Company began acquisition of timberland in Northern California, the two men became acquainted. After all, Walker was in need of a railroad to access his holdings, and Rideout owned one. In 1906, Rideout and Walker reached an agreement wherein the Northern California Railroad would build a line from Red Bluff to Fall River Mills, where Walker intended to build his first sawmill in California. However, in 1907, Rideout abruptly died, and everything came to a halt.

However, Rideout, also left a bit of legacy behind as he had an interest in photography. He was amateur photographer, long before cameras were common place. In 1887, he took several photographs including the one above, and also one of Drakesbad.

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Adin Revisited

Adin 1879
Adin, 1879

After two months of online tutorials from Lynda.com on this date a year ago, was my first posting.  So it was only fitting to take a gander, and update it.

The above photograph was taken by Herman Brince  a professional photographer in Lassen, Modoc and Plumas counties during 1878-79.  I have always been impressed with his work, though only dozen or so are known to be existence. Whatever, became of his negatives is unknown, but we do know that he died in New Zealand in 1882. However, in 2003, one of his photographs, an 1879 picture of Susanville’s Masonic Lodge surfaced on Ebay, which I purchased, but that is another story.

Adin’s humble beginning date back to 1869, when its namesake Adin Gainey McDowell, settled there.   Adin flourished during the 1870s because of its close proximity to the mining town of Hayden Hill. As a matter of fact, it was Modoc County’s largest town for awhile.

Beginning this year, I now have a column in the Northern California Traveller. In a forthcoming issue will be a lively account of Adin’s history.

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Susanville’s Thompson’s Photography Studio

Courtesy of Frances Wier
Thompson Studio, 1921. Courtesy of Frances Wier

It has been awhile since I wrote about the professional photographers of the area who left a valuable historical record behind.

In September 1912, Peter Julian “Jack” Thompson announced he was going to relocate his photography studio from Loyalton, which had been in operation there for ten years, to Susanville. However, due to some delays he did not open for business here until February 1913. Continue reading Susanville’s Thompson’s Photography Studio

Dunham Photography

Willow Creek School
Willow Creek Valley School, 1886 is a Orley Dunham photograph

Orley and Murry Dunham were photographers in the region during the 1880s and 1890s. They both started in Plumas County. Orley married Maggie Ford, a member of a Indian Valley pioneer family. In 1886, Orley opened his studio in Susanville. During that year, he took a number of photographs of the Lassen County Schools. He left Susanville in 1891,to work for a large photography studio in San Francisco. Continue reading Dunham Photography

Alexander Howell

Alexander Howell
Alexander Howell, courtesy of Donna Howell

Photographers, of course, is a favorite topic of mine. After all, thanks to their work we have a visual record of our past. It has been important to document the photographers of the late 1800s, so as to know the time frames when they chronicled the events. Due to a small population many photographers only remained a year or two, and even then they rode the “circuit” traveling to Modoc and Plumas counties to drum up business.

Alexander Howell came to Susanville from Oregon where he learned the photography trade. On April 15, 1891 he opened his Susanville studio. The following year he was lured to Amedee, with the prospects afforded by this boomtown. After a two-year stint, he traveled throughout Northern California and finally settled permanently at Auburn, California. Very few of his Lassen County works remain, but there is one of the Golden Eagle Mine at Hayden Hill, another topic for another time.

The current issue of the Lassen County Historical Society features an article of another photographer, Jervie Eastman.  The article has a number of flaws, so just be be aware.

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Robert Stinson

Robert Stinson
Robert Stinson’s grave at the Westwood Cemetery.

In August 2013, I led a Westwood Cemetery tour as part of that community’s centennial celebration. The graves that were highlighted, provided a different aspect to Westwood and the Red River Lumber Company.

Robert Stinson was born in Quincy in 1882, and followed in his father’s footsteps as a commercial photographer. It was a tough trade to operate a business in a rural region. So like many others it became necessary to be itinerate traveling from community to community for business. In 1913, Red River hired Stinson as their company photographer, who at the time was located in Red Bluff. Stinson’s main job was to make a complete photographic inventory of all the buildings being constructed in the town, as well as the sawmill plant. A portion of this collection exists in the T.B. Walker papers housed with the Minnesota Historical Society. Stinson just happened to be at the right place at the right time, when Lassen Peak set off a series of volcanic eruptions beginning in 1914. Unfortunately, for Stinson and other photographers such as P.J. Thompson, are overshadowed by that B.F. Loomis, but that is another story, for another time. Stinson stay at Westwood was brief and left Red River in 1915 to be replaced Otto Kratzer. On a final note, Red River always had an in-house photographer, though they also hired others for commercial work.

Adin 1879

Welcome, to the new site and hope you enjoy it. Beginning on March 1 , I will be posting on a daily basis, sometimes about an historic event or sometimes about a current news matter. In addition, most all posts will contain a pertinent photograph or two.

Herman Brince was a photographer in Lassen, Modoc and Plumas counties during 1878-79.  I have always been impressed with his photographs, though only dozen or so are known to be existence. Whatever, became of his negatives is unknown, but we do know that he died in New Zealand in 1882. However, in 2003, one of his photographs, an 1879 picture of Susanville’s Masonic Lodge surfaced on Ebay, which I purchased, but that is another story.

Adin 1879
Adin 1879

 

The picture depicted is that of Adin, taken in 1879. The town was named for Adin Gainey McDowell, who in 1869 was the first person to settle on the east side of Big Valley. Adin flourished during the 1870s because of its close proximity to the mining town of Hayden Hill. As a matter of fact, it was Modoc County’s largest town for awhile.