Spokane’s Historical Photos: Frank Palmer

One fun benefit of digitizing the photograph collection is bringing together photographs in new ways (like by the creator, instead of the subject!).

Frank Palmer, Spokane’s “Scenic Photographer,” has emerged as an important element of this collection. Palmer came to Spokane as a commercial photographer around 1900 and was active until his death in 1920. He photographed the lakes, rivers, and other scenic wonders around Eastern Washington and Idaho to promote the area as a tourist destination. He also photographed buildings and agricultural scenes and his photos were used by transportation companies and local chambers of commerce.

Little Spokane River

An avid outdoorsman, Palmer took many pictures of people hunting, fishing and hiking. He also photographed Spokane, Kalispel and Coeur d’Alene Indians. Many of his photographs were turned into postcards.

Above is one of his post card examples. The Lower Falls and the Monroe Street Bridge.
Two young Kalisepel men on Lake Pend Oreille.

In addition to Palmer’s uncanny eye for framing his scenes, he often hand-tinted the images with vivid colors in the days before color photography.

By digitizing the photo collection, we have identified over 250 of his photographs and postcards. Browse through all Palmer photographs here.