Category Archives: Visual Instruction Department

Speaking of digging for stuff… Try docking this one!

Happy Wednesday all! The new Visual Instruction Lantern Slide set for this week is all showing off the many ways Oregon works! Check out these glass lantern slides, many of them hand-colored, showing Oregon industries from 1905 to 1910.

Boats, ports, barns, fish, and some beautiful shots of Oregon scenery.

Try stacking one more!

What a climb…

This weekend our Flickr Commons account hit 175,000 views!! Thanks to all our loyal viewers — you make this project great.

And while we thank you, we also tease you a bit …

Love the photo in this post? It’s part of a rapid fire release schedule we’re starting this week! We have 3 more sets to show you from the Visual Instruction Lantern Slide Department Collection, all focused on Oregon Industries between 1905 and 1940. You get lots of fish, some potato prep, tug boats, the OR State Capital Building, trees, chickens, corn, and so much more. So watch for the 1905 – 1910 set this Wednesday, followed by the 1925 set on September 9th, and the 1940 set on September 16th.

And after that? Stay tuned, we think you’ll like it …

Cool things about Fred Kiser

As promised yesterday, here’s is part two of the “cool things about Fred Kiser” post!

In 1907, a Kiser Exhibition opened at the Portland Hotel, attracting what was described as “an Admiring Crowd.” Again, I reach for the book Oregon Photographers: Biographical History and Directory.

“In many ways the finest art collection ever on exhibition in Portland is to be seen in the parlors of the Portland Hotel. The pictures are the results of eight years work by F. H. Kiser, one of the best scenic photographic artists in this country, and cost to produce over $40,000. On the walls of the two rooms are hung 200 exquisitely colored scenes of Oregon scenery, while on the tables are over 800 additional views.”

After the exhibit in Portland, the collection traveled to Oregon’s coastal towns and then headed to the east coast on a “Mission of Education.” And what an exhibit it was! Mayor Lane, in his introductory remarks said this:

Ladies and gentleman, I have been called upon to be present at the opening of the Kiser exhibit, a collection of photographs of the mountain scenery of the State of Oregon. It is a pleasure and an honor; we owe as a master of justice, many words of thanks to the gentleman who has risked his life and been to great expense and trouble to produce such an elegant collection of views as we see here today; and he has many more which are not an exhibition at this time.” He goes on to say that “In his efforts as an artist, Mr. Kiser has become, as a matter of fact, a public benefactor to the state. His work will live after him, and will bring great good to the state; for an exhibit of this kind cannot be made in the Eastern States.”

Finally, and I think this is the best part, he reports that “People in the East do not comprehend that such scenery as this exists; they would not believe it if we tried to describe it to them by word of mouth; if we made oath to it they would still doubt. They might even dispute the work of the painter, saying that it was the product of his imagination. But these cold facts as they are presented by the camera, a scientific and accurate instrument, is astonishing to those who are unacquainted with Oregon. Such an exhibit throughout the East will be of great advantage to the state; it will bring us tourists, hundreds and thousands of people who travel all over the world in the Summer season, many of them visiting places that have no such scenery as we have here.” Believe it — Oregon really is that beautiful!

You can read the entire article on Kiser on the forum page.

Lest you think that you’ll get away from this post without a random Flickr Commons connection, here it is: Kiser was also the official photographer for the 1905 Lewis and Clark Expo! Check out our Commons set to see some great images.

And, in a special release to celebrate Kiser’s Mazamas membership, we’ll be launching a new set tomorrow into our Commons account! 17 brand new images will be added to the Williams Collection. Here’s your sneak peak…

Fred Kiser

Still reeling over those delightful Crater Lake images in Flickr Commons? Want to know more about the man who took them? It’s another great story and another great find — from the comfort of our own offices… And the pages in Oregon Photographers: Biographical History and Directory.

It turns out that many (maybe all) of these images were taken by a Portland-based photographer who was “one of the best known commercial view photographers in the era between the turn of the century and the first world war.” No, he’s not one of the Giffords, but a man named Frederick H. Kiser.

Fred Kiser

Kiser partnered with his brother, Oscar, to set up the Kiser Scenic Photo Studio in Warrendale (1903) and Portland (1905), and they produced both images and murals. They grew up on Columbia Beach, on the Columbia River opposite Beacon Rock — a place, of course, known for its beauty and undoubtedly its inspiration! Their parents owned the Columbia Beach Hotel and Nursery. Unfortunately, Oscar died in a boating accident soon after the business was established.He is buried in Lone Fir cemetery in Portland.

Curious about those “murals”? Apparently, murals by Kiser (not sure which one) were installed at Multnomah Falls Lodge, Crater Lake Lodge, and the chateau at Oregon Caves. The Oregon Photographers book states that “it is certain that the Kiser Brothers were technically able to produce murals no later than 1905.”

Curious about Fred? He was a longtime member of the Mazamas, a mountain climbing club that is based in the Portland area. He was a frequent contributor of photographs to their publications. In 1915, he sold the business so he could devote his time to photographing the new Columbia River Highway and in 1922 he opened a motion picture studio! Fun fact: Gifford was also based in the Columbia River Gorge area for a time, with studios in the Dalles.

Curious about even more great connections to other Flickr Collections? Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post…

The Legend of Llao Rock…

Another great one from the Visual Instruction Department instructor booklets!

According to the legend of the Klamath and Modoc Indians the mystic land of Gaywas was the home of the great god Llao. His throne in the infinite depths of the blue green waters was surrounded by his warriors, giant crawfish able to lift great claws out of the water and seize too venturesome enemies on the cliff tops.

War broke out with Skell, the god of the neighboring Klamath Marshes. Skell was captured and his heart used for a ball by Llao’s monsters. But an eagle, one of Skell’s servant, captured it in its flight, and a deer, another of Skell’s servants, escaped with it; and Skell’s body grew again around his living heart. Once more he was powerful, and once more he waged war against the God of the Lake.

Then Llao was captured; but he was not so fortunate. Upon the highest cliff his body was torn into fragments and cast into the lake, eaten by his own monsters under the belief that it was Skell’s body. But when Llao’s head was thrown in, the monsters recognized it and would not eat it.

Llao’s head will lies in the lake, and white men call it Wizard Island. And the cliff where Llao was torn to pieces if named Llao Rock.

The Story of Mount Mazama

Who can resist this one? Straight from the pages of the Visual Instruction Department lecture booklets comes the Story of Mount Mazama! Sit back and enjoy this short tale…

Listen to the startling story in which geology gives us a picture of creation days in this mysterious region – the story of Mt. Mazama.Once a great mountain reared a smoking peak many thousands of feet above the present peaceful level of Crater Lake. Away to the northward stood other volcanoes – Baker, Rainier, Adams, St. Helens, Hood, Jefferson, and noble Mt. Multnomah which towered above the present region of the Three Sisters, while to the southward were Shasta and Lassen, all of which helped build the Cascade Mountains. Most of these old volcanoes stand today quiet and cold in their shining armor of snow and ice – but Multnomah and Mazama are missing.

Evidently there came a day when Mt. Mazama poured forth vast quantities of lava, creating a great cavern beneath, and then collapsed and sank within the grave it had made for itself. This drawing shows the bare outline of Mt. Mazama as it must have towered in its greatest days.

Want to know more? Check out the Wikipedia article and USGS page entitled “Mount Mazama and Crater Lake: Growth and Destruction of a Cascade Volcano“.

More trips! Join us and take a tour of Crater Lake…

Who can resist the brilliance of Crater Lake? Wizard Island, Mt. Mazama, Phantom Ship, the Pallisades, a really cool lodge – it’s another great hand-colored set from the Visual Instruction Department Lantern Slide Collection!

Again, we’re lucky to have such great slide descriptions from the booklets – they must be quoted, so please check the descriptions under each for more details! Who can resist these directions?

“Crater Lake National Park may be reached from Medford, Oregon, on the Southern Pacific Railway, and on the Pacific Highway about 36 miles from the southern boundary of Oregon, or from Kirk, on the new Southern Pacific line between Eugene and Klamath Falls and near The Dalles – [aka] ‘California Highway.’

Motorists southbound from Portland may choose to traverse the Pacific Highway through Oregon City, Salem, and Albany, or go by the West Side Highway through Newberg, McMinnville, Corvallis, and Junction City where this road merges with the Pacific Highway [which] leads through Eugene, Roseberg, Grants Pass, and Medford. From Medford, the distance to Crater Lake is about 80 miles.”

And look what you can find on Google books? This 1916 text on the Crater Lake set from “Pictured knowledge: visual instruction practically applied for the home and school” by Calvin Noyes Kendall and Eleanor Atkinson.

Where is Crater Lake and why is it such a marvel? To quote the National Park Service site:

“Crater Lake has inspired people for hundreds of years. No place else on earth combines a deep, pure lake, so blue in color; sheer surrounding cliffs, almost two thousand feet high; two picturesque islands; and a violent volcanic past. It is a place of immeasurable beauty, and an outstanding outdoor laboratory and classroom.”

And, as usual, Wikipedia gives us some great information and even better links to follow to find out more.

And yes, we have more shots of Crater Lake in the Archives! Check out the inventories for The Herman T. Bohlman, The Ralph I. Gifford, and The John Garman photographic collections.


For those of you keeping track, we hit 150,000 views in our Flickr Commons account this weekend! So I send out a hearty thanks to all our loyal viewers and all our new friends — we wouldn’t be here without you.

And remember, we launch new sets every first and third Wednesday and you can set up an RSS feed so you don’t miss a single thing.

What’s coming? This week we’re heading to Crater Lake, care of the Visual Instruction Department Lantern slide collection. Here’s a sneak peek for those of you who can’t wait.

After that, we’re staying with this collection, but shifting to another great series of images from Oregon Industry, circa 1905, 1925, and 1940.