Thursday, 5 April 2012

La Loche photo search

'La Loche tepees' (date unknown) from Canada Archives
The date of this photo in now known and a description has been found.
Edited version of 'La Loche tepees' from the History of La Loche

Early photos of the La Loche area are rare. Photos were taken by members of government expeditions and a few travellers.  Some photos are in government or museum archives or in books. Those taken before 1920 that can be accessed via the internet account for only a dozen or so photographs so far.
Many have an unknown date or location. The date and location of a few of these photos are now rediscovered and published here.

Searches and making connections:

One photo 'La Loche tepees' was used in a book by Franklin Kitto published in 1919.
Franklin Kitto describes his visit to La Loche on page 12-13 of this book. The date and location of this photo is now known. "La Loche tepees" was taken on June 30 or July 1, 1918 by the Franklin Kitto Expedition and Kitto's description applies to this photo.

Kitto's La Loche description
On Sunday June 30, 1918:
"Arriving at the mission we found that a couple of priests from Lac La Plonge were here conducting a series of services extending over a period of two weeks, and the Indians from the whole country-side to the extent of two or three hundred were gathered in attendance. Row after row of tepees lined the beach or clustered about the few wooden buildings of the post (Revillon Freres). The entire families had come from far and near bringing all their worldly possessions with them and the place was alive with children and dogs.
A storm broke shortly after our arrival compelling us to make camp and to remain with this community until the evening of the next day."

Revillon Freres Post in La Loche January 1907. "The temperature is said to be 60 below."

Making more connections:
This photo shows the Revillon Freres Post in La Loche January 1907. One of the buildings is the same as the one in the photo "La Loche tepees"............ from the History of La Loche

Revillon Freres Post in La Loche January 1907. "Living house for men, Simon Bourwick on the right"

The Revillon Freres Post Photos:
Now we have four photos of the Revillon Freres Post buildings of La Loche.
The two above from Glenbow Archives dated January 1907. The 'La Loche tepees' photo of June 30-July 1, 1918 by Kitto and another just discovered from the McCord Museum shown here on the left. When they are put together the relationship is obvious. The two Glenbow photos and the McCord photo are a set and probably all taken on the same day.

The McCord Museum photo caption can now read: 
The Revillon Freres Post at La Loche in January of 1907. 'A Metis trader is holding a silver fox fur in front of the living house for men'. Simon Bourwick is on the right.
'The temperature is said to be 60 below zero'.

Most of the Revillon Post photos were taken by Samuel Hubert Coward.

The two photos above are from two different sites.
The top one is from the Oblate Archives in Yellowknife and was
titled 'Chipewyan babies' and was reversed.  view this link
The lower one is from Societe Historique de Saint Boniface titled and
dated La Loche 1914. When the Yellowknife photo was reversed it
was found to be the same as the La Loche photo.

The Portage Photo: This photo is from the Saskatchewan Archives. The date 
and location is unknown however the photo was used to illustrate a first issue 
of a Canada Air Mail envelope dated November 6, 1936. It commemorates the 
first official flight via Buffalo Narrows-La Loche. (seen below)
Conclusion: The photo was taken in 1936 or earlier and may depict a scene 
at Portage La Loche.
Enlargement of the stamped logo below
Copy of a circulated stamped envelope found for sale on ebay in 2011.

Below is an unidentified group of buildings. Sask Archives writes that the photo was taken in 1908 at Portage La Loche by the Frank Crean Expedition. The flagpole or radio mast may mean it's a trading post. It appears to be located on a river or a narrow inlet. The exact location is not know. A possible location is Bull's House on the La Loche River. (update: comments when published on facebook indicate that this is Bull's House on the east side of the La Loche River. facebook album Bull's House) 

Update: The photo above has just been identified as a 1908 Frank Crean Expedition photo of Portage La Loche that has been reversed and edited. A few members of the expedition are shown standing in front of the tent. View both photos at Metis Museum (original) and Canada Archives (reversed and edited).