This collection consists of photographs of Alaska taken ca. 1892 by Frank La Roche, depicting Alaskan nature scenes, views
of town life
(mainly in Sitka and Wrangell), and some Alaskan Natives. This collection provides insight into the Alaskan environment just
before the Klondike Gold Rush.
Frank La Roche (1853-1936) was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At the age of seventeen, he was employed at a photographic
studio and learned the trade for two years.
In 1872, La Roche left for Mauch Chunk, Pennsylvania, to start a general commercial photography business. From 1876 to 1878,
La Roche had a variety of commissions, including
making negatives of the planet Mercury for the United States and French governments. His workmanship was recognized in the
form of six prizes at the Iowa State Fair in 1888.
In 1889, he traveled to Seattle, Washington, just after the Great Seattle Fire and opened a photo gallery. La Roche took trips
through Alaska and Canada, specializing in scenic
and industrial photography. Perhaps his most intensive project was photographing the Klondike Gold Rush, which lasted from
ca. 1897-1899. La Roche moved his studio to
Sedro-Wooley, Washington, in 1914. He retired in 1928, passing the business to his son. He died in Sedro-Wooley in 1936 at
the age of eighty-two.
54 photographs in 1 box; prints 23 x 17 cm. (9 x 6.5 in.)
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