New Finding Aid | B.L. Aldrich photographs

Special Collections and University Archives is pleased to announce an updated finding aid published for the B.L. Aldrich photographs (PH197). The finding aid is available on Archives West.

B.L. (Byron) Aldrich was a photographer active in the early twentieth century in Washington and Oregon. Aldrich had a photo studio, Aldrich Photo Company, in Tacoma, Washington from 1901-1916. Later, he had a studio in Portland, Oregon, the B.L. Aldrich Studio. The B.L. Aldrich studio photographed Jantzen Beach Amusement Park in 1934. The Aldrich studio also photographed a number of company and society picnics which were held at the park.

Big Dipper rollercoaster
[Detail from “Main Entrance and Gate” panorama, 1934, B.L. Aldrich photographs, PH197_026, Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Oregon.]

This collection features panorama photographs with a focus on two very different subjects: the Oregon timber industry, and Portland’s Jantzen Beach Amusement Park. The Jantzen Beach Amusement Park photographs are the feature of a new acquisition that has been integrated into the B.L. Aldrich photographs collection. The Jantzen Beach photographs consist of 13 black and white panorama photographs. Seven of these are a series done of the park titled “Jantzen Beach – The Playground for All the Family”. This series shows off the many areas of the park including the entrance gate, the lagoon and the picnic area, among others. The remaining six panoramas are group photographs taken at company or society picnics held at the park.

Gardens and buildings of Jantzen Beach
[Detail from “Northeast Vista” panorama, 1934, B.L. Aldrich photographs, PH197_030, Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Oregon.]
Jantzen Beach Amusement Park opened in 1928. It was the largest amusement park in the United States upon opening. It was also home to the Big Dipper roller coaster, which at the time was the largest roller coaster on the west coast. It featured rides, games, swimming, the C.W. Parker carousel, the Golden Canopied Ballroom, and a picnic area.  The park held dance competitions featuring a complete orchestra in the Golden Canopied Ballroom. Jantzen Beach Amusement Park closed in 1970.

Notes from processing:

The photographs of Jantzen Beach are done using panels to create the panorama. The panorama effect was achieved by aligning two or three photographs into one cohesive image.

The photographs capture an iconic Oregon attraction that is no longer operating today.

–Emily Haskins, Special Collections Intern

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