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From Digital Archives: Iconic WA landscapes

by Brian Zylstra | August 13th, 2014


Elephant Head Rock on the Washington coast.

There’s no denying that Washington has many beautiful places and a wide variety of stunning landscapes, from rugged ocean beaches and evergreen forests to jagged, glacier-clad mountains, deep blue lakes and sagebrush-strewn deserts. Our state’s amazing beauty has attracted photographers for years — that’s evident when you scan through the collections of photos on our Digital Archives website.

These photos below are found in a collection includes 256 glass lantern slides taken between 1908 and 1939, and commissioned or purchased by the Washington State Department of Conservation and Development. These hand-painted glass lantern slides were used in slide shows to promote tourism and immigration in Washington.

Images show the construction of the Grand Coulee Dam, the Columbia Basin Project, the benefits of irrigation and water projects to Washington State, building projects, hotels, garages, dams, fishing and recreational activities, transportation facilities, shipwrecks, and scenic views of forests and rivers. The majority of images in this collection were taken by Asahel Curtis, Charles A. Libby and Sons, or Delong & Drake.

Images featured in this post the coastline, Mount St. Helens, Lake Chelan and Palouse Falls (our official State Waterfall). They were taken in the 1920s.



 Mount St. Helens and Spirit Lake.


Lake Chelan.


Palouse Falls.

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