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Fairbanks Photo Album - Finding Aid

Biographical Information
Scope and Content of the Collection

Collection Number


Contact Information

The University Library, Special Collections
Cal Poly Humboldt
One Harpst Street
Arcata, California 95521

Processed By

Kathryn LaSala and Edith Butler, MA, CA

Date Collection Processed




Collection Creator

Fairbanks Family, possibly Jesse L. Fairbanks

Dates Covered by Collection


Size of Collection

.5 cubic foot; 1 photo album (14.7cm x 20.6cm)


The album consists of 119 photographs pertaining to the Fairbanks Family traveling from Orick in Humboldt County, California, and continuing along the Klamath River to Orleans in the 1920s. The bulk of the images are concerned with the construction of the Salmon River Road as well as the road along the Klamath River near the Salmon River in Siskiyou County, California.


The collection is open for research.


Copyright has not been assigned to Cal Poly Humboldt. To obtain permission to publish or reproduce in any format, please contact the Special Collections Librarian.

Acquisition Information

The collection was donated to the Cal Poly Humboldt Library's Special Collections department in 1989 by the Mendocino County Museum because the content of the images is outside the collecting scope of the museum.

Biographical Information

Jesse L. Fairbanks was married to Lenore M. Baechtel who was the daughter of Gordon Baechtel, a resident and business entrepreneur of Willits. Baechtel and his two brothers were partners with the Fairbanks Family in a variety of enterprises including: operating the Willits Meat Company, shipping pilings to San Francisco, and building roads.

Scope and Content of the Collection

Description taken from the inside cover of the photo album: "Pictures of the Salmon and Klamath River Project - Mile section of road between county line and Harley Ranch, Siskiyou County constructed by J. L. F. for the Federal Government. March 1 - Dec. 1920."

The photographs in this album document the Fairbanks Family on a trip from Orick to Orleans in 1920, the construction of the road along the Klamath River near the Salmon River in 1920, and the construction of the Salmon River Road in 1924-25. Most of the images are of road construction.

The album is in good condition and has no missing images. All of the photographs are black and white. The majority of images have a label and date associated with them. Photographs are arranged chronologically and have been glued into the album. In order to preserve the context in which the photographs were created and arranged, the album was left intact.

Subjects taken from captions include:
Construction of the Road along the Klamath River near the Salmon River
Construction of the Salmon River Road
Cotty Mein Village [Ka'tim'îin, Katimin]
Fishing in Klamath and Salmon Rivers
Ish Pishi Falls [Ishi Pishi]
Lagoons between Eureka and Orick
Martin's Ferry
Medicine Mountain
Merrill Creek Bridge
Merril Peak [Merrill]
Mule Bridge
Offield Mountain
P.L. Young's ranch
Pack mules
Somes Bar
Sugar Loaf

Names of identified people include:
J. L. F. [Jesse L. Fairbanks]
L. B. F. [Lenore Baechtel Fairbanks]
R. D. F.
J. Pepper
Tin Tin

Container List

Box 1:

  1. One photo album (14.7cm x 20.6cm) with 47 pages and 119 photographs.

Photocopies of the donation documentation stored with the album:

  1. Biographical information on Baechtel Family, The Willits News, August-October 1958 [2 pages]
  2. Obituary for Lenore M. Fairbanks, Ukiah Daily Journal, November 20,1986 [1 page]
  3. Letter to HSU Special Collections Librarian Erich Schimps from Bobbie Yokum, Curatorial Assistant of the Mendocino County Museum, providing information about the album, July 1989 [1 page]
  4. Note recording the transfer of the album from the Mendocino County Museum to HSU Special Collections, August 1989 [1 page]
  5. Letter to HSU Special Collections Librarian Erich Schimps from Dot Brovarney, Curator of the Mendocino County Museum, providing names of a friend and a relative of Lenore M. Fairbanks to help with further research, September 1989 [1 page]
  6. Contextual and biographical information on Humboldt County road construction and the Fairbanks family, provided by historical researcher Susie Van Kirk [6 pages]

Subject Headings

Humboldt County (Calif.)
Klamath River (Or. and Calif.)
Roads - Design and Construction
Salmon River (Calif.)