Lovely reverie: Luminous images of Idaho in 1941 from Library of Congress

Images from Cascade and Emmett are among 70 rare color photographs from “Bound for Glory: America in Color,” a 2006 exhibit by the Library of Congress.

There’s no news peg here; I just thought the photos were beautiful and would share them. I tumbled on them yesterday, in an archive maintained by the Denver Post.

Both of the Idaho pictures were made by Russell Lee.

No. 26 is a view of the main street of Cascade in July 1941. The Cascade Club, Dee’s Cafe, a pool hall, a barbershop and a drug store with a name I can’t make out appear in the photo. (Old-timers are welcome to fill in the details; please comment if you have a guess.)

No. 27 shows a dark sedan coming down what appears to be Freezeout Hill just south of Emmett. It also was taken in July 1941. And I don’t know the make and model of the car. (See above.)

No. 28 isn’t of Idaho, but of the place I lived before moving here in 1984. My first newspaper job was at the Redding Record-Searchlight, where I worked for three years. Also by Lee, the image was taken in June 1942, showing construction of Shasta Dam just north of Redding, Calif. Coincidentally, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is considering raising the height of the 602-foot dam, which already impounds the largest reservoir in California, at a cost of $1 billion.

The images in “Bound for Glory” are reproduced from slides, most likely made from the finest color film ever made, Kodachrome 64. So warm and lovely was the film that Paul Simon wrote a coming-of-age song in tribute. 

“Kodachrome,” was released on “There Goes Rhymin’ Simon” in 1973, a year before I received my first 35 mm camera for my 16th birthday. (Like the camera in the song, mine was a Nikon. Thanks, Dad!)

Hearing Simon and seeing the photos turns back time. Tonight, I may just break out the slide projector. Long ago, I converted the vinyl to digital, so the soundtrack’s a breeze. Here’s the chorus, for those who want to join in my nostalgia:

They give us those nice bright colors
They give us the greens of summers
Makes you think all the world’s a sunny day, Oh yeah
I got a Nikon camera
I love to take a photograph
So mama don’t take my Kodachrome away



Dan Popkey came to Idaho in 1984 to work as a police reporter. Since 1987, he has covered politics and has reported on 25 sessions of the Legislature. Dan has a bachelor's in political science from Santa Clara University and a master's in journalism from Columbia University. He was a Congressional Fellow of the American Political Science Association and a Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan. A former page in the U.S. House of Representatives, he graduated Capitol Page High School in 1976. In 2007, he led the Statesman’s coverage of the Sen. Larry Craig sex scandal, which was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists in breaking news. In 2003, he won the Ted M. Natt First Amendment award from the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association for coverage of University Place, the University of Idaho’s troubled real estate development in Boise. Dan helped start the community reading project "Big Read." He has two children in college and lives on the Boise Bench with an old gray cat.

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