Jul 032016


Flashlight Scene at Camp Yocum, James River, Galena, Mo.
Real Photo postcard. #626 Hall Photo Co.
(Note – by ‘flashlight,’ Hall means he used a flash bulb)

George Hall was among the most talented producers of real photo postcards in American history. His images are not only well composed and well exposed but beautifully developed and printed. Where he acquired his technical proficiency, we don’t know. He was just a natural as far as understanding lighting and how to frame landscapes, architecture and – as in this shot – people. Since there’s a gun in the scene, we’re guessing they may have been out frogging. This was probably taken in the early 1920s.

Tom Yocum ran a fishing camp a couple of miles above Galena on the James River in the early 1900s. He was a renowned float trip guide. Clear into the 1950s, Yocum guided for Jim Owen. He was in a LIFE magazine feature in the 1940s.

Our next book, James Fork of the White: Transformation of an Ozark Watershed, has taken us down some intriguing research paths. One whole chapter is devoted to the legendary Galena-to-Branson float, a highly successful commercial endeavor of the early decades of the 1900s.  You can see sample pages of the book at our website: http://www.beautifulozarks.com

Jun 202016


All Busy in Camp on White River, Real photo postcard, by George E. Hall. 385 Hall Photo Co.

We think this uncommon George Hall postcard shows a portrait of Hall (on the left) holding a very fine postcard camera. Most of his river photographs were of the James River around Galena. But he did obviously make the classic float from Galena on the James to Branson on the White.

We may use this image in our upcoming book on the James River (coming out next year).

This image is reproduced, but not credited to Hall, in a 1920 Ozark Playgrounds Association Annual. The Playgrounds Association was organized in Joplin in 1919, so the issue is either the first or second annual edition they put out. That makes it one of the earliest publications of the tourism cooperative that promoted the region as a vacation destination. Their motto, “Land of a Million Smiles,” was ‘borrowed’ by numerous businesses and civic organizations.

George Hall’s photographs are an invaluable record of life in the Branson-Galena area during the early decades of the 1900s. In an article on the Hall Photo Collection for the Winter 1995 White River Valley Historical Quarterly, historians Linda Myers-Phinney and Lynn Morrow said of Hall: “… photographer George Edward Hall created perhaps the single most important body of historic images documenting the beginnings of southwest Missouri’s commercial tourism.”

Read the full article here: http://thelibrary.org/lochist/periodicals/wrv/v34/n3/w95g.html George hall photo collection