11 thoughts on “Camera Obscura, circa 1906

  1. From June 24, 1906 Portland Oregonian, p.29

    Wonderful Camera Obscura.

    The people of Portland should congratulate themselves that the beautiful apparatus which is now installed on Hawthorne Terrace, Portland Heights, near the Observatory, is an accomplished fact. Very few have any knowledge of this beautiful device by which the wonderful scenery surrounding this city is reproduced.

    Imagine if you can an oil painting by a celebrated master portraying the landscape of the snow-capped mountains, rivers and valleys forming the panorama surrounding this city with coloring impossible of imitation by brush. In addition to this, imagine that the clouds framing this beautiful picture are moving before its face; smoke is seen coming from the chimneys, boats moving on the rivers, recognize your friends in the street, and all objects with life are seen in motion. This, with all the softened colors created by this apparatus, forms a sight that no one here should miss seeing.

    Such is the Camera Obscura, now opened to the public, reached by the Portland Heights cars.


    So, confirmed as somewhere on Hawthorne Terrace, as part of the L&C Exposition, near the original location of the observatory tower that we saw a few days back…

  2. Sadly, none of my photos are definitive; there is a small cluster of shacks just to the west of the Markle house, and another grouped just to the north of the Tower, but both are obscured to an extent by trees in my pics. There are several shacks to the south of the tower, but these seem to be farm related, and Kearney was a dirt track, and the photo of the Camera Obscura shows a curb. It is possible that the CO sits between the Hodgson mansion and its neighbor (100 ft or so east of Brian’s guess), but the rooflines don’t really match up. Except for the houses, all structures mentioned above are gone in the 1908 Sanborn.

  3. well, let me clarify that what I meant was simultaneous with the L&C centennial exposition, since it is nowhere near the expo site at Guild Lake. And then I remembered that the expo was in 1905, so I guess my dementia is even earlier onset than my children have predicted…

  4. We knew what you meant! 🙂 Both the Observatory and the CO were non-Exposition venues set up to cash-in on the crowds coming to L&C, and the people who stayed on afterwards. There must have been hundreds of such ‘wonders’ scattered across the valley…

  5. Operated by Lewis and Clark Observatory manager Arthur Duchamp for several months until he secured a lease for, and moved operations to, Council Crest.

  6. Oaks Park was also built to cash in on the crowds also. It is the last remnant of the L&C Expo still operating.

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