Monday, 14 March 2011

Indians & Streamliner, Celilo Falls, Columbia River, Oregon, April 1940
Indians pose with the west-bound Streamliner at Celilo Falls, Oregon, in April 1940. On the left is Henry Thompson, son of chief Tommy Thompson.
The train engineer is Tom Rumgay (died 1942). The Indians on the right are from Celilo Indian village, which was located just to the right of and behind the camera's view. The falls and original village were permanently submerged in 1957 by the backwater from a dam built on the Columbia River, downstream eleven miles at The Dalles. Celilo is believed to have been continuously inhabited for 11,000 years, which is longer than any other village in the region.This Streamliner was the "City of Portland", engine #M10002, an articulated streamliner introduced in 1935 and replaced in 1939 by a train streamliner. At the time this was photographed in April 1940, only one Streamliner worked the Portland to Chicago route at any given time, and the original Streamliner was brought out of retirement for this photo shoot. The engineer's window has been removed for photographing.
The photographer of this image was Everett Olmstead. He owned the Elite Studio, which was the main photo studio in The Dalles, Oregon. He took at least eight photographs at this event, which was a staged photography setup for Southern Pacific advertising. The first known publication was a vertical shiloutette which appeared in the Oregon Journal (Portland) on 12 May 1940. (I do not have a negative or print of the shilouette image, however vintage prints are in Southern Pacific archives and have been reprinted numerous times.) Seven negatives are here and available for printing, including the above image. The film format is 5x7" black & white Kodak safety film. While in Celilo photographing this, Olmstead likely shot several other photos of the general store in Celilo Indian Village (this connection is based upon examination of film emulsion numbers and notch codes.

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