Tuesday, July 10, 2012

From the Attic of the Ranger Station

 In this post, I would like to elaborate a bit on my archival adventure. The pictures above are the fruit of my work - two flimsy boxes and three very interesting photographs. Ok - I began working in the Castlewood ranger station attic in early May. As you can imagine, the room was dark, dingy, full of spiders and long forgotten recreation equipment. First, I emptied every box of paper and then organized the findings into archival categories. The majority of my findings consisted of two things: documents from a man by the name of Al Foster (who I now know to be a publicist, photographer, writer, and founding member of the Open Air Council), and old DNR publications. In June, after a month of nothing but strongly worded letters to and from Mr. Foster, I became discouraged and convinced there was nothing of value to my project.  However, as I neared the finish line, I came across three photographs. The first was actually a water color painting of something called, "Castlewood Village" and although it was not dated, it boldly stated that Mr. Raymond W. Smith was the President of this presumed company. This tid bit of information became more interesting when I found the second photo. The second photo, really a newspaper collage from an unknown news source, exemplified that "Castlewood experience" I hear so much about. The main photo displays scores of people crowded on Lincoln Beach ready to canoe down the Meramec River. In the corners of the photo are little side notes.