A Dreamy Look at 1920s Pacific Northwest in Color

By
Share:

We first spotted these gorgeous, colorized lantern slides by photographer Asahel Curtis on NPR’s blog. The Minnesota-born artist first picked up a camera when his family moved the teenager to Seattle in the late 1800s. In the 1920s, Curtis was commissioned by the Washington State Department of Conservation and Development to shoot a series of slides (hand-colored) that would be used to promote tourism and immigration to the Pacific Northwest area. The stunning landscape images now belong to the Washington State Archives, and we’ve shared a selection of them past the break. The photos have a surreal, dreamlike quality to them. Pictures of apples look like something from Snow White, and the Douglas firs receding into darkness could easily be a still from David Lynch’s Twin Peaks. Click through for a better look.

Image credit: Asahel Curtis, circa 1908-1939/Conservation Department, Planning and Development Division/Washington State Archives

Abandoned homestead southwest of Ephrata

Image credit: Asahel Curtis, circa 1908-1939/Conservation Department, Planning and Development Division/Washington State Archives

Mt. Saint Helens from Spirit Lake

Image credit: Asahel Curtis, circa 1908-1939/Conservation Department, Planning and Development Division/Washington State Archives

Red Delicious Apples

Image credit: Asahel Curtis, circa 1908-1939/Conservation Department, Planning and Development Division/Washington State Archives

Rhododendrons, Washington State Flower

Image credit: Asahel Curtis, circa 1908-1939/Conservation Department, Planning and Development Division/Washington State Archives

Hogs

Image credit: Asahel Curtis, circa 1908-1939/Conservation Department, Planning and Development Division/Washington State Archives

Douglas Fir and Western Red Cedar Trees

Image credit: Asahel Curtis, circa 1908-1939/Conservation Department, Planning and Development Division/Washington State Archives

Hood Canal from the Olympic Highway north of Brinn

Image credit: Asahel Curtis, circa 1908-1939/Conservation Department, Planning and Development Division/Washington State Archives

Surf, Washington Coast, 8 miles south of Queets and Raft River

Image credit: Asahel Curtis, circa 1908-1939/Conservation Department, Planning and Development Division/Washington State Archives

Battleship fleet illuminated

Image credit: Asahel Curtis, circa 1908-1939/Conservation Department, Planning and Development Division/Washington State Archives

Avalanche lilies, Olympia Mountains