I was almost ready to turn around and head back, my father had several minutes ago. Hidden in the trees ahead I spot a dark shape… Another structure?
Drawing closer it is indeed a building, this one is not collapsed like most of the others we had found. There is not much left of the small cannery community in Funter Bay, the best preserved structures are those still used as private cabins. We had already found half a dozen collapsed buildings in the woods.
It may not yet have collapsed, but the inevitable is not far away. The front porch looks decidedly chancy, I avoid it as I slip carefully through the front door. A one room cabin with a small storage closet. The floor is covered with milled lumber that looks to have been salvaged from another structure. Various other bits of refuse and castoffs lie about, a crab pot, a gas can, no surprise.
It is the walls and ceiling that hold the real surprise. They are covered in newspaper pasted over the entire available surface. Was it decoration, a cheap wall paper? A way to eliminate drafts and make this little cabin more comfortable? Whatever the reason the newspapers are still mostly readable. Whole articles to be perused, a snapshot of another age.
The newspapers all bear dates from 1919, during the heyday of the cannery here in Funter Bay. There are samples from the Saturday Evening Post, Collier’s, and several other classic newspapers of the early 20th century. I find articles on various subjects, instead of reading I simply take a photo or two.
Alongside the articles there are also advertisements for many different products. Some are for familiar brands that are still around today. Others for brands and products lost to commercial history. Oregon City Woolen Mills, Philadelphia Battery, Boston Garter, Teco Self Rising Pancake Flour, I could spend all day reading here.
One of the most striking images is a fashion plate from a Woman’s Home Companion of April 1919. A very stylish design that catches my attention, a design that foretells the popular fashions of the roaring 20’s, a major shift in fashion that was leading to more modern designs. Exploring the ruins of an abandoned cannery this is not what I expected to find.