Since the invention of the camera in the 1830s, photography has been a tool to capture visual history for future generations. In the 1920s, J. Boyd Ellis of Arlington began snapping photos, producing thousands of black and white images, most of which became picture postcards.
His son Clifford Ellis continued the business of visiting interesting places around Washington and producing postcards to sell in local stores. One newspaper article reported the Ellis father-son team took more than 6,000 photos with their camera called “Old Faithful.”
John C. Cooper began gathering Ellis photos with a goal of obtaining the complete collection, though he doubts he’ll ever be fully successful. This Ellis postcard #3518 is labeled Maid of the Mist falls at the Green River Gorge and probably dates to the 1920s. Since 1885 when the nearby coal mining town of Franklin was developed, the Gorge has been a popular tourist destination.
A hotel was known to exist as early as 1911, when Frank Farrow’s Green River Hotel was destroyed by fire. John Rudge later built a resort called Rudge’s Green River Gorge featuring a hotel, service station, cabins, dancing auditorium, and reception rooms. Patrons could walk into the Gorge, down a series of wooden stairs and steps cut into rock to witness wonders of geologic history. Visitors today can take that same path descending 150 feet to river level while passing by this beautiful waterfall. Simply follow the Green River Gorge Road to the east side of the single-lane bridge and pay a $5 access fee.
This photo is from the John Cooper collection, while background information was provided by JoAnne Matsumura, an Issaquah historian.