Cascade Photo Surfaces On The Net

The GUARDIAN got an e-mail from a friend who discovered aseries of old KODACHROME images taken by U.S Government photogs working for the Farm Security Administration. The colorful images were made all over the USA as a “make work” project prior to 1941. This one happened to be of Main Street in Cascade, Idaho.

Not just anyone could buy this film. It cost $5 per roll and had to be sent back
to Rochester , New York for processing. By comparison, in 1938 Congress established
the first minimum wage at 25 cents per hour. A five dollar bill represented half a week’s work. The
Farm Security Administration sent out about a dozen photographers with this new film.
Commercial photographer, Samuel Gottscho, and well-to-do amateur, Charles Cushman,
embraced this new technology, as well.

The FSA along with a whole bunch of agencies were “make work” agencies, but their historical record is a legacy we see today in photos, bridges, post offices, and wilderness trails. World War II put an end to most of these agencies, let’s hope we can find our way out of the current mess without more war.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. I love that photo! I found it a couple of months ago, on Wikipedia of all places!

    You can actually find more if you go to this URL

  2. To add, after a bit of look around – the same man who took that great photo of Cascade also took this iconic image…

  3. I just love it. It looks so clean and new. These old photos are just priceless.

  4. This jumped out at me and I just have to say something – the businesses: Beer joints (2) Drugstore (1) Cafe (1).

  5. Looks like a barber shop, too, right next to the fancy brick beer joint.

    I bet as the photo was snapped, there were guys in both of those beer joints tellin’ about the one that got away.

  6. Tom Anderson
    Jan 5, 2009, 1:20 pm

    “…find our way out of the current mess without more war”

    Guardian, you need to read ‘Powerdown’ by Richard Heinberg. It details a plan that is widely accepted as being about the best anyone has come up with.

    In a nutshell the plan calls for worldwide energy audits of all sources (most folks are very surprised that the actual physical reserves our most precious fossil resources are not accurately known). Then, as a world, we equitably use less fossil energy every year as less becomes available.

    Our economy will stabilize because energy prices will stabilize. Business, an households as well, currently cannot effectively plan while energy prices jump all over the price spectrum.

    Since our food production system is effectively turning oil into food, we will have less food available each year and will need to limit every family in the world to one child to prevent worldwide starvation.

    Settling on a real, workable solution is critical. The author points out that there has never been a shortage of resources in the history of the human race where our species didn’t fight over it.

    Since our current social configuration will utterly fail without cheap, abundant oil, the wars resulting from a fierce struggle could easily get out of hand and go nuclear.

    Science Magazine pointed out 2 years ago that even a small nuclear exchange could produce a nuclear winter where crops could fail for several years.

    Americans need to learn about ‘peak oil’ and the realities of our current energy predicament. Alternatives, renewables, coal, nuclear, geothermal, solar and wind will all be attempted but high oil prices will make all of these things quickly become unattainable. We are in deep trouble, but only a very few in America have any idea of our true situation.

  7. blackfootgirl
    Jan 5, 2009, 3:16 pm

    The overall look of the street is practically unchanged. Usually I’m all for progress, but there is something so sweet and dear about this shot and the feeling it invokes.

  8. Tom,
    How are we ever going to factor in the “Greed is good” mantra so pervasive in American culture? Cooperation for the greater good is just not American. Most Idahoans would agree buying ammo and guns ought to solve the problem. Oh.. and lets not forget a big ole heap of Jesus to sweeten the deal.

  9. The invention of Kodachrome film had the unfortunate timing of coming into being during the depression and inversely the good timing to record such images for prosperity. Kodak made the film, and processing, available to the feds as part of “Make America Work” program, but do you think such altruism will recur during the current “down turn”? Don’t bet on it in these times of greed and shifts of wealth. The lack of benefactors in America today is also in inverse to the transfer of wealth.

  10. Tom Anderson
    Jan 5, 2009, 8:21 pm

    As the Guardian knows from his extreme frustration with Boise City Government, we are ruled by rich folk who are really only interested in padding their already cushy situation with secret little deals while smiling, posing and preening for the cameras.

    The popular media outlets the rich folk own are allowed to reveal real stories, but they are never put into context, or have any connect-the-dot background information. The citizens are so overloaded with stories about fire, crime, car crashes and weather, that snippets of really important stories slip by and away before anyone notices.

    Our people are given a vague sense that the store of state is being minded while the rich folk are out back tossing as much of our wealth into the back of their wagon as it will hold. Their buddies then wipe out the tracks as they haul their booty of to be stuffed in their offshore bank accounts.

    I am not very hopeful for our future. I’ll see your God & Guns, and raise you 50 cases of cheap whiskey, and a roomful of hoarded food.

  11. The Boise Picayune
    Jan 5, 2009, 10:31 pm

    “…we are ruled by rich folk who are really only interested in padding their already cushy situation with…”

    We are so ruled because we [collectively] are too lazy to participate in our participatory democracy.

    What the heck, I’ll beat this dead horse one more time…

    If a fraction of the good folks who express dissatisfaction with the dominant paradigm herein and elsewhere attended City Council…

    Ah – The hell with it!

  12. Tom, while your goal is laudable, does the author share just who and how this plan will be administered?
    Who is going to enforce the “one child per family” worldwide?
    Who tells, and enforces, China to cease building 18 new coal fired plants per month?
    Who conducts these “world-wide energy audits” and how do they enforce them?
    Your path seems rather “Orwellian” in it’s scope and I seriously doubt it can be realistically implemented without total, world wide domination by someone, or something.

  13. Tom Anderson
    Jan 6, 2009, 11:51 am

    Cyclops: Read the book for his opinion.

    In my own opinion, the people of the world are so indoctrinated with propaganda and the interrelated problems are so complex that what we actually need is a benevolent world dictator. The tinfoil hat crowd will lose their minds at that suggestion, but they are the most misinformed of all, so should be disregarded.

    Our current paradigm of corporate rule through political puppets is what is truly ‘Orwellian’.

    PICAYUNE: I ran for a Boise public office rather recently and here is what I found. Your likelihood of being elected is almost directly correlated with the amount of money you spend on trying to get elected. The amount of money required will be more than you will make while holding office. So, you either have to be rich, or get money from donors. The only donors who put out the type of money required are businesses, and they will make darn sure you will do what they want and NOT what the people want if you are elected. The game is rigged, only a very few good people ever slip by the corrupt process.

  14. The Boise Picayune
    Jan 6, 2009, 2:59 pm


    As a former Republican Operative (NY, NJ and ID) and erstwhile Bull Moose Candidate for Mayor, I am well acquainted with the status quo.

    And while I nearly completely agree with your assessment of the situation, I would like to point out that victory can be found in participation.

    My brief participation (cut short by an unexpected death) embarrassed the Mayor into adopting my campaign call for a Forensic Audit of the CCDC (which he reneged on later, knowing nothing would happen).

    Participation = Change

    No Participation = SSDD

  15. Tom, I did read the book. I was wondering if you actually shared the author’s view it will take worldwide domination to accomplish the necessary goals.
    The main problem I have with the thesis is that there has never, nor will there ever be, a “benevolent dictator!” So the arguement becomes moot at the outset. Initiating a movement that seeks world domination in order to do what is right for the planet because the people here now are too stupid to realize the situation is just plain silly!

  16. Tom Anderson
    Jan 7, 2009, 12:04 pm

    Here’s what I know… Dictators/Kings/Queens are mostly a better type of leadership because the can only steal so much, and they tend to form a fondness for their country and want it to succeed.

    The current system in America allows theft by 10’s of thousands of leaders so the corruption is massive. Our political leaders only care about their power and status for the most part, not about their constituents.

    The problems that the world faces cannot be solved with every human being on the planet trying to grab as much wealth as possible. We live on a small, finite planet, and have no place to go if we mess it up badly.

    We need to honestly figure out, as a world, whether we intend to continue trying to maintain ‘situation normal’, which is totally unsustainable, and will likely cause a huge die off of the human species, or do we want to listen to our best scientists and devise a sustainable framework which we will all live within.

    This is, on a global scale, exactly what we face as a city in Boise. Do we let the ‘growth is good’ folks win? If we do, we know exactly what will happen. We will create a carbon copy of Los Angeles, or New York, in the long run. That is, if resource depletion doesn’t end the party early, like it probably has already.

  17. The Boise Picayune
    Jan 7, 2009, 3:32 pm

    Other than the fact that they are both large American Cities, The-Center-of-the-Universe (aka NYC) and the collection of suburbs known as Los Angeles have little to nothing in common.


    That really is a great picture. And the one that “Shane” discovered was featured on my rag.

    Digital is OK; but I miss the chrome films.

    Mama don’t take my KodaChrome awa-a-a-aaay…

  18. Two bars, a drugstore, a cafe and a barber shop — what more could any town need?
    Oh, yeah; a grocery store, a post office, a gas station and a couple of churches.

    Once a town has all that, additional growth is just redundant.

    Too bad.

  19. I love that beer and drugs dominated Cascade’s main drag back in the day.

  20. Don’t forget they had a brothel or two in Cascade back then as well, or at least more workin girls than now. It was OK back then to drink beer and drive and beat your wife too.

  21. So, dog; what’s your point?
    Yer agin’ bars and drugstores, or you’re in favor of beating yer wife?
    (After all, if you cain’t beat yer wife, whose wife *can* you beat?)

    P.S.: We may have to relegalize brothels; they seem to be the only businesses that ain’t goin’ broke.

  22. I just think fun needs to be re-legalized. The beatin yer wife comment was a poke at the Pollyanna
    comments about the good old days. Doesn’t the Bible say it’s OK to beat your wife?

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