Seattle Chamber of Commerce Photograph Collection, Sept. 22-27, 1908; Oct. 16-23, 1920  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Seattle Chamber of Commerce
Seattle Chamber of Commerce Photograph Collection
Sept. 22-27, 1908; Oct. 16-23, 1920 (inclusive)
2 albums containing 55 photographic prints (1 box) ; sizes vary
Collection Number
Photographs taken of Eastern Washington during trade relations tours sponsored by the Seattle Chamber of Commerce. 1920 tour photographed by Asahel Curtis
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections
University of Washington Libraries
Box 352900
Seattle, WA
Telephone: 206-543-1929
Fax: 206-543-1931
Access Restrictions

Collection is open to the public.

Funding for encoding this finding aid was partially provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Historical NoteReturn to Top

The Seattle Chamber of Commerce was established on April 17, 1882, by 23 businessmen, including Henry L. Yesler, Judge Thomas Burke, H.B. Bagley, and others, with J.R. Lewis serving as the first president. By 1890 the Chamber was incorporated and had grown to three hundred members. The Chamber's earliest endeavors included establishing railroad termini in Seattle and developing the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, the Pasco-Kennewick Bridge, and the commerce of the Columbia River Basin. By 1893 both the Great Northern and the Northern Pacific Railroads had located their termini in Seattle.

In 1912 the Chamber's membership directory stated: "The objects of this Association are to foster, protect, and advance the commercial, industrial, mercantile, and other public interests of the City of Seattle; to promote the growth and development of the State of Washington, the Territory of Alaska, and the Pacific Northwest." The Chamber addressed these goals through committees that focused on areas such as Alaska, city affairs, county affairs, foreign and domestic affairs, logged-off lands and irrigation, mercantile issues, rivers and harbors, state affairs and legislation, and transportation.

Historical BackgroundReturn to Top

During the first decades of the twentieth century, the Seattle Chamber of Commerce organized tours of various parts of Washington State to encourage the commercial development of agriculture and natural resources such as mining, forestry, and hydroelectric power. The two trips depicted in this collection reflect railroad tours of Eastern Washington. Typically the excursionists were greeted at the depots with gifts of local fruit. The towns' commercial clubs treated their guests to luncheons or dinners, complete with speeches by both hosts and visitors. The excursion of Sept. 22-27, 1908, traveling on the North Bank Railroad's "1909 Special," began in Portland and followed the Columbia River inland to White Salmon and Kennewick. The visit to Walla Walla included a tour of the Washington State Penitentiary hosted by Supt. Reed, former chief of police of Seattle. In Spokane, the businessmen were treated to a motorcade and banquet in the Doges Hall of the Davenport Hotel. Throughout the tour, major topics of discussion between the visiting and local businessmen included the benefit to agricultural trade brought by the expanding railroad system, as well as the promotion of the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition which was planned for the following year, 1909.

The Chamber discontinued the regional trade relations tours during the World War I years due to increased transportation costs and shortage of cars, but returned to the tradition for the tour of Oct. 1920. In that year, 122 Seattle businessmen traveled over 1,200 miles in a Great Northern train, complete with observation, baggage, and dining cars as well as five sleeper cars. The tour crossed the Cascades, with its first stop in Leavenworth, continuing through Wenatchee, Chelan, and the Okanogan region, traveling east to Spokane, then southward to Pasco and Walla Walla, through the Yakima Valley, and finally through Ellensburg and the Kittitas Valley on the way home. Many of the stops were related to regional agriculture, and each location featured banquets, speeches, and entertainment. Discussions focused on the need for irrigation and land reclamation projects to increase agricultural production.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The collection consists of two albums depicting two separate trips organized by the Seattle Chamber of Commerce. The earlier album, titled Seattle Chamber of Commerce, Business Men's Excursion to Inland Empire , Sept. 22-27, 1908, contains 23 photos taken along the route of the Northern Pacific Railroad and the Spokane, Portland & Seattle Railroad in Washington State. The photographs include captions. The final page of the album lists the towns visited under "Itinerary," and the names of attendees, alphabetically by last name, under "Personnel."

The later album is titled Trade Relations Tour, Seattle Chamber of Commerce , Oct. 16 to 23, 1920. These 32 images were taken as the tour traveled through the Wenatchee Valley, the Columbia Valley, Okanogan, White Stone Irrigation Project between Oroville and Tonasket, a power plant near Pasco, a factory at Toppenish, and the Yakima Valley, all in Eastern Washington. Most of the images are credited to Asahel Curtis; however, as the official photographer for the Chamber at this time, it is probable that he took all the photographs. The final page of the album lists "Personnel" alphabetically by last name.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top


Business Men's Excursion to Inland Empire Album, Sept. 22-27, 1908Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Folder item
1 1a
1 1b
1 1c
Senator Piles giving speech on Stevenson train platform
2 2 a-c
Railroad track along the Columbia River, and the Spokane, Portland & Seattle Railway (North Bank), through mountainous, forested terrain
3 3a-c
 Tracks of North Bank Railroad along Columbia River
Photo "c" includes steamboat in river.
3 3d
Businessmen's excursion gathered in front of train at Roosevelt station
4 4a
4 4b
Railroad tracks entering tunnel in mountainside
4 4c
4 4d
5 5
Businessmen's excursion seated for presentation or meeting at Commercial Club Rooms, Walla Walla
6 6
Businessmen at Warden Reed's residence, Washington State Penitentiary, Walla Walla
7 7a
7 7b
7 7c
8 8
9 9
Men seated for lunch in dining car of train
10 10
11 11
12 12
Final page of album with itinerary and list of personnel

Trade Relations Tour Album, Oct. 16-23, 1920Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Folder item
13 13-1
13 13-2a
Tour members at Brewster Flats (A. Curtis 41017)
13 13-2b
Businessmen's tour being led in a chant
13 13-3a
Woman tossing apple from fruit packing crate to tour group at Boston-Okanogan Orchard
13 13-3b
Railroad through Columbia River Valley near Pateros (A. Curtis 41103)
13 13-4a
Panoramic view of Okanogan (A. Curtis 30135)
13 13-4b
Businessmen's tour group in front of train at Tonasket train station (A. Curtis 41019)
13 13-5a
Men marching down the center of street (A. Curtis 41122)
13 13-5b
Three women, two engineers on train engine (A. Curtis 41107)
13 13-6a
13 13-7a
13 13-7b
13 13-8a
Businessmen's tour group seated for banquet given by the Spokane Chamber of Commerce (A. Curtis 40990)
13 13-8b
Vista of Spokane
13 13-9a
Businessmen's tour group seated for presentation or meeting at the Walla Walla Commercial Club (A. Curtis 41022)
13 13-9b
Wheat field with harvested bundles near Walla Walla (A. Curtis 33077)
13 13-10a
13 13-10b
Hay field, cut and gathered, on the Burbank Project near Pasco (A. Curtis 40548)
13 13-11a, b
13 13-11c
Close-up of apple tree branches heavy with fruit
13 13-12a
Six "railroad representatives" standing by tracks (A. Curtis 41117)
13 13-12b
13 13-13a
Man holding bucket, posing with cow at trough (A. Curtis 41116)
13 13-13b
Two women, four men with glasses of cider in front of Prosser depot (A. Curtis 41118)
13 13-14a
13 13-14b
13 13-15a
People, mostly businessmen seated in armchairs, gathered for a meeting or presentation (A. Curtis 39934)
13 13-15b
13 13-16a
Businessmen's tour being led in a chant outside State Normal School, Ellensburg
13 13-16b
R.S. Boyns (president of Seattle Chamber of Commerce) outside State Normal School, Ellensburg
13 13-16c
Businessmen's tour group and women gathered for photo on campus of State Normal School, Ellensburg (A. Curtis 41028)

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Agriculture--Washington (State)
  • Businessmen--Washington (State)--Photographs
  • Cider--Washington (State)--Photographs
  • Orchards--Washington (State)--Photographs
  • Railroad travel--Washington (State)--Photographs
  • Railroads--Trains--Photographs
  • Visual Materials Collections (University of Washington)
  • Corporate Names :
  • Davenport Hotel (Spokane, Wash.)--Photographs
  • Seattle Chamber of Commerce
  • State Normal School (Ellensburg, Wash.)--Photographs
  • Washington State Penitentiary--Photographs
  • Geographical Names :
  • Columbia River (Wash.)--Photographs
  • Spokane (Wash.)--Photographs
  • Wenatchee River Valley (Wash.)--Photographs
  • Yakima (Wash.)--Photographs
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Photograph albums
  • Other Creators :
    • Personal Names :
    • Curtis, Asahel, 1874-1941 (photographer)