The Museum regularly gets inquiries from researchers, historians, students, genealogists, civil servants and other members of our audience. Sometimes these can be answered quickly and other times they take much more in depth search. Over the years we have found that we often get similar inquiries later on from others so we have begun documenting our findings to more easily pull up answers in the future. As part of our goal this year to increase our online content, we will share some of the inquiries and their answers online. Feel free to reach out if you have additional information!
There is mention of a Carl Missimer being the first artist to provide a photograph of Snoqualmie Falls. I am curious if you know of a photograph in that area taken before 1877 (and of the falls in particular)?
The earliest image the Museum has of Snoqualmie Falls is a photographic reprint of a drawing done in 1878. Most of our early photographs of the Falls are undated. There was someone in Mercer Island who had purchased an image by Herman Herzog who painted the falls in 1871, they shared a photograph of it several years back with the Museum. There were several artists that were on the original surveys of Snoqualmie Pass for the railway between the 1850s and 1870s, these likely have earlier images but so far we have not been able to track down most of them.
Upon additional researching the Museum was able to discover that since the last time we searched George McClellan’s field notebooks have been digitized by the National Archives and they contain the earliest known image of Snoqualmie Falls to date! We will post a further story about this discovery in the weeks to come.