Old film gives a rare look into Spokane’s history during 1910-1911

Old film gives a rare look into Spokane’s history during 1910-1911

It was a roll of film that had been tucked away for decades, when at long last it was rediscovered and taken to the Clayton-Deer Park Historical Society.

“It sat there for 50-60 years and had a good chance of getting tossed, and thrown out,” said Michael Reiter, a long time Deer Park resident.

The film was dirty and partially damaged, but Peter Coffin, another Deer Park resident who is passionate about history, thought there might just be a chance that it could be digitized. He drove the potentially explosive nitrate film clear to Seattle to get it done.

“Its the history of the area, its the history of a business no longer here,” Coffin said.

The film turned out to be an Arcadia Orchards Company promotional film, shot back during what Coffin suspects was 1910-1911.

“This provides a view that still pictures really can’t communicate,” he said, describing the film.

The film shows downtown Spokane on Riverside and Howard, and also shows the Monroe Street Bridge in its steel structure.

“The people were all dressed up with hats and ties, and the women wore nice flowing dresses of the time period, with that Gibson girl look,” he said.

After a bit of research, Coffin says the film shows the apple orchard showing off its Deer Park orchards to Spokane businessmen during what would have been the grand opening of their irrigation canal.

“It was to promote the idea for people wanting a piece of land themselves, by buying 5-10 acre tracts, that would support itself,” he said.

The film opened up their eyes further to the history of the area, and reminded them that its important to understand history, the time when their grandparents would have been alive.

“If I had him for a day, I’d wear my grandpa our, asking questions about what things were like then,” said Reiter, “I can’t do that now. If you’ve got the ability to ask your grandpa or grandma questions, do it.”

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