A visit to Alberta’s Frank Slide Interprative Centre circa 1930 | Case #009

The Camera
I came across a brownie camera. I do see quite a few of them, but this one was reasonably priced and had film in the back. At first I set it back down thinking “what are the chances?” but quickly changed my mind, bought it and took it home.

These cameras, were given away as a promotion for Kodak’s 50th Anniversary, specifically to boys turning twelve in 1930. If you know any 96 year olds, you may want to ask them if they had one.
Half a million were produced and this particular one was made in Toronto.

I had to remove the film in my darkroom in pitch black. It’s likely the camera and film were abandoned because the spool stopped progressing. So I’d have no idea what I had until I turned the lights on.

The Film
What I had was original brownie labeled film (Kodak Verichrome), and an original brownie spool. It could be its first or second roll of film which dates it in the early 1930’s. Not all boys would have received their brownie right in 1930 I’d imagine. It was probably an ongoing promotion until the half a million ran out.

When I first pulled the film out of the water, It looked like there was nothing, but once I held it up to the light, I saw shapes, a sign……AND PEOPLE!

I didn’t get my hopes up too much though, it was pretty obvious this film had been exposed to some light over the years. The viewing windows in the back faded over time.

The Images
These few images I managed to pull off the film did give us enough of a story.
A father, his wife and daughter, mother or mother-in-law (not to mention boy or girl with the camera) are on a road trip, which has at least one stop at Frank Slide. It’s possible they even got the camera while they were on their trip, or just before they left. They drove along the mountains, and stopped at frank slide.

The Frank Slide sign has changed over the years. I found this link to what looks to be the very first sign but if you look close, you see a few differences.

I came across this other one that was placed after 1914 and it looks like the right one, you can easily imagine where the photographer was standing as well.

Anyone know what mountain this is?

Edit: Special thanks to Crowsnest Museum for identifying the image below, of Turtle Mountain


I am always happy to come out of the darkroom with even one, hazy image that allows me to peer into the past. F-Men like Mark Kologi (http://vimeo.com/69901302) will say it’s like looking into something in ones self. I would agree.