“Fragile Legacy: Rare Views of Early Central Oregon” contains 61 photos from the Van Vleet collection of historic photos donated in 2006 to the Deschutes County Historical Society. The black-and-white images were printed from large-format, glass-plate negatives that had been stored in an attic in Stayton for close to 70 years, said Kelly Cannon-Miller, executive director of the society’s Des Chutes Historical Center. They depict everyday life in Bend and Central Oregon as well as celebrated events, such as the 1911 visit to Bend of railroad magnate James J. Hill.
In one image in the collection, two young boys stand on a street corner in front of a dry goods store in the early 1900s. Look closely, and see that one boy is barefoot. Look more closely, and see the shopkeeper through the window of the store. Look again, and see the display of hats for sale in another store window. Jolokai recommends bringing a magnifying glass to the exhibit to take advantage of the rich details the photos offer; facial expressions, tool marks in hand-hewn stone buildings, textures of fabrics; all are visible in the images.
What makes this more amazing is that these images were extracted from large glass plates that had been rattling around an attic for 70 years. Makes you wonder what other historical treasures like this people have in storage!
COCC also has a page on the exhibit here.
The exhibit opens Thursday, from 4 to 6pm, and thereafter runs through November 30 at the regular gallery hours of 9 to 4 Monday through Friday. Best of all—it’s free.