Sepia: Celilo Falls

Lost forever now, these falls on the Columbia were the traditional Native American salmon-fishing Mecca of southern Washington. They were drowned in the 1950s by construction of The Dalles Dam.

Photo from: Wikipedia

Photo from: CCRH.org

I stumbled upon the remains of the site this August.

Good Neighbors

Lake City Way, Seattle


Screeching Halt

Sometimes a location is too good to pass up, even if you're on the freeway -- whether you're a photographer or a posterist.

Postcard from the Heartland, King James Version



One can ameliorate the deadly boring stretch of Interstate 5 between Portland and Seattle by defocusing your eyes and taking it as an endless series of muted, abstractionist, color blocks. Or not.


Fade Away

More relics from our August roadtrip. The truth is, these ghost towns are far more interesting than most of the towns we drove through that are still bustling along.

Anatone, Oregon

Flora, Oregon

Govan, Washington

Reardan, Washington

Reardan, Washington


Sepiautos in the Peak Oil Age

Mysterious glimpses of several someones' pasts, in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest.

Flora, Oregon

Asotin, Washington

Reardan, Washington

Someday someone will stumble across our relics and wonder what we were all about.



When I was a kid I really wanted one of these.

I have now put away childish things.


Govan #2: Illumination

East of Grand Coulee Dam, Govan is in the dead center of Washington, dead being the operative word. Virtually all that's left is this two-room schoolhouse. I clambered up into it and a huge white barn-owl clattered up to the rafters. The floor was littered with its white and mouse-boney pellets. Through the missing shingles, brilliant sunlight cut through the dusty air.


Sepia Saturday: Finding Lost Treasure, Pt. 6

Continuing with excerpts from my great-grandfather David Blumenfeld's diary, which I discovered two years ago.

...On his first day in America, David, just 20, searches New York desperately for “a man named Zigler who once worked for [his grandfather] and was supposed to be living in Madison Square”. Zigler is to help him find David's father, who did not show up to take the family off the boat from Latvia. Alas, David learns that this Zigler moved away a year ago, and no one knows where.

Advised to simply get a ticket at Grand Central Station, for Ludington, Michigan, where his father is supposed to be, David discovers they sell only first-class tickets, which cost over twice what he has on hand. He dejectedly heads back to the Castle Garden immigration building to find a cheaper ticket.

Hungry and thirsty, he does not want to dip into his precious and few American funds, and attempts to buy a bun for a 10-pfennig piece. Needless to say, this does not pass muster and he is turned away.

While he sits weeping on a brownstone doorstep,

A rather portly and well-dressed man with a neatly trimmed Van Dyke beard and gold-rimmed eyeglasses came from inside the building and, approaching him, asked, “Who are you, young man? Whence camest thou?”

A Van Dyke beard

I gather by this archaic phrasing that the man speaks to him in Hebrew. David tells him the situation.

He led the way to a Kosher delicatessen store and ordered a large picnic basket to be filled with food and also a bottle of wine, and then told David they must hurry to get the ticket. In ten minutes they were at the ticket office, and man said to David, “Give me that $15.”

David trembled, fearing that the man might rob him, but he handed over the money. Within five minutes the man was back with the ticket and said they must cross on the big ferry to the New Jersey side to get the train. When they reached the depot, the man spoke to the conductor of the train, asking him to take care of the young immigrant and see him safely to his destination. He took David into the car, and when David was seated in a red plush car seat, handed him a $5 bill for pocket money, shook his hand, and bade him a safe journey. He also promised to find Mr. Zigler and see that that family got off the steamer.

Getting up more courage, David asked, “Man, who are you? What is your motive in showing such generosity to a stranger like me in a strange land?”

What follows is scarcely believeable; harking back to a brief earlier episode in the diary, the man says,

“Well, my son, can you remember this?” and he lifted up his left hand which was minus two fingers. “I am the crippled student who played with you after the pogrom in Melitopol when your mother cared for me for a whole week, at a time when I could see she had none too much for her own family. She saved my life then and I have prayed for the time to come when I could repay her for her kindness. I am more than glad for this occasion. I’ll take care of your mother and the children in the morning.”

And with that, David sets off with his five dollars for the wilds of Michigan.

To be continued...
And find more fascinating posts at Sepia Saturday blog

Some of these photos were borrowed from the following sites:




Theme Thursday: Reason


Said, Pull her up a bit will you, Mac, I want to unload there.
Said, Pull her up my rear end, first come first served.
Said, give her the gun, Bud, he needs a taste of his own bumper.
Then the usher came out and got into the act:

Said, Pull her up, pull her up a bit, we need this space, sir.
Said, For God's sake, is this still a free country or what?
You go back and take care of Gary Cooper's horse
And leave me handle my own car.

Saw them unloading the lame old lady,
Ducked out under the wheel and gave her an elbow.
Said, All you needed to do was just explain;
Reason, Reason is my middle name.

--Josephine Miles


Labor Day

Dig the flag, not to mention the pun.

By the way, I HIGHLY recommend that EVERYONE read Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work by Matthew Crawford. It resonates with blue collar and white collar jobs, art, parenting, school, and...motorcycle maintenance.


Hut of the week

My romance with deserted abodes continues. Ths is an abandoned house in the mostly abandoned town of Liberty, Washington.


Sepia Saturday: Finding Lost Treasure, Pt. 5

Continuing with excerpts from my great-grandfather David Blumenfeld's diary, which I discovered two years ago.

We join his father Ben Zion, who has finally managed to emigrate from Latvia to Michigan and begin working as a peddler...

By the middle of July 1884 Ben-Zion had saved enough money to send home, to pay for steamship tickets as far as New York. [His wife] Leah...showed great diplomacy in getting out of Russia, for she had two sons, especially David, now past twenty years old, who had to report to the military authorities for service, and Herman was reaching his eighteenth year. She packed her few heirlooms, the feather beds, the large pillows, the samovar, some copper kettles, which the old women told her were unobtainable in America, and the most precious of all, the brass Sabbath chandeliers, among the other household articles.

Plunge Synagogue

They then journeyed to Plunge [Plungyans], Lithuania, thence to Gorzd, also in Lithuania, where she left the boys in care of trusted smugglers who were to get them across the Russian frontier, an operation run hand in hand with great risk and difficulty.

Market, Gorzd

Running the gauntlet of the Russian frontier was an adventure for the Jews of that period. The Jewish community on the German side of the border operated the underground railroad system so silently that its romantic story is still to be written.


Leah, with just the girls and baggage, went straight to Memel, Germany (now Klaipeda, Lithuania), where they waited two days before the boys arrived. From there they all went on a tramp schooner to Stettin (Szczecin), Poland, then to Hamburg. Leah bought tickets to New York via Glasgow.

Stettin, 1900

Stettin, 1900

Their first lodging place before they were taken aboard was poor, unsanitary and unsafe. The sleeping quarters were unclean, what with twenty being housed in one room.

The Blumenfeld Trail from Europe to the US

Inhumane and uncivilized guards directed the bewildered immigrants to their quarters in the steerage where there was hardly any breathing space. The stench was unbearable. The food was dished out in dinner pails provided by the steamship company. Even drinking water was grudgingly given to the steerage passengers. No precaution was taken against inclement weather. One hundred to two hundred slept in one compartment, in bunks one above the other. There was no light, no privacy or comfort.

On the fourth day after they were on the high seas the steamer felt the surging might of the implacable ocean. A great wave rose suddenly out of the ocean and swept over the ship’s foredeck with a force such as only a wall of water possesses. In a flash it accomplished its destruction, twisting and breaking deck plates, stanchions and lifeboats. ...[The sailors] clamped down all hatches and covered them with oilskins to prevent drenching below the deck, thus shutting off the fresh air for those below, chiefly in the steerage. As the waves tossed the steamer, dishes rattled from the bunks to the floor, children cried in fear, men and women became seasick, and with trembling lips and failing hearts prayed to God, each in his mother tongue for the abatement of the storm. ...The trip took twenty-one days owing to the high seas they encountered.

At last they arrive in New York.

Castle Garden

Poor Leah and her children were detained [at Castle Garden, precursor to Ellis Island], for there was no one to meet them. ...She and her children were held as captives of the law until they could hear from Ben-Zion. ...She laid before the commissioner the letters she had from her husband and pleaded for permission to send her eldest son to find him, as the steamer was to remain a week before its return to Europe. ...The immigration officer wired for information to Ludington, Michigan, and reply came that he was not there at that time but was away peddling and they could not reach him. Therefore, they permitted David to go to find his father.

Fifth Avenue and 24th Street circa 1894, by Alessandro Guaccimanni

Leah had the address of a man named Zigler who once worked for her father and was supposed to be living in Madison Square. She told David to find Mr. Zigler first and tell him of their plight and to ask for help. David left after breakfast to look for Madison Square. He had with him $15 in American currency in an inside pocket.

This would be equivalent to ~$44 at the of David's death in 1956 or ~$345 in current dollars.

To be continued...
And find more fascinating posts at Sepia Saturday blog

Some of these photos were borrowed from the following sites:









East of Here

A few glimpses into a day in Eastern Washington...

Angles at the jet-ski dock, Lake Chelan

La tienda, Brewster

Crazed, Manson main street

Blue shadows, Chelan

Manson flotsam, Lake Chelan