Ernest F. Keir

Ernest Keir was born on New Years Day, 1878 in Vernon Wisconsin.
In March 1898, Ernest and his brother set off from Wisconsin for the Yukon. Ernest used his 6.5″ x 8.5″ full-plate camera to record the trip and his stay in Dawson. Although an amateur, he managed to sell enough of his photographs, through a Dawson City drug store, to support himself in the Yukon. His biggest difficulty was in acquiring enough photographic supplies to keep in business. Keir left the north in 1900 and settled in Saskatchewan. He lost the negatives of his Yukon trip in 1913. He died also on New Years Day, 1941 and is buried in the Pines Cemetery in Spokane.
He is seen above in a cabin with some friends during the Gold Rush, he is at the far right. They are showing off their music collection of cylinders and Victrolas which helped to keep them sane in the long winters. Their version of ipods.

Charles Kreling

Charles was born on this day, June 1, 1871 in New York. His father, Martin Joseph Kreling, born in Germany, moved the family (wife Barbara and 6 kids), soon after to San Francisco.
In 1877 Mr. Kreling thought that San Francisco needed music. Determined to fill that need, he a gave concerts in a former mansion near the foot of Eddy Street by performers that included a ladies’ orchestra from Vienna. When the craze for Gilbert and Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore swept across America, Alice Oates and company performed it in San Francisco, and soon afterward other comic opera companies appeared on the horizon. Kreling hired various members of these companies and with them founded his own opera company in 1879.
Charles grew up with performers and perhaps that is how he came to know Jauquin Miller who he accompanied in 1897 to the Klondike. Charles was a photographer by trade and took photos of the trail and Dawson, although I have not actually seen any of these photos. Charles Kreling died in 1951 in San Francisco.

Seen above is a photo taken in 1878 of the Tivoli Opera House in the Tenderloin of San Francisco.

cameraworkes directory online; J.Miller site; 1880 SF census; SS deth index

Frank LaRoche

Mr. LaRoche was born in 1853 in Philadelphia, where he learned the trade of photography. He arrived in Seattle just after the great fire of June 1889 to find the city in ashes, but soon opened a gallery. In 1897 he came to Alaska and was one of the photographers of the Gold Rush. Many years later his photos were donated to the State of Alaska Museum and the University of Washington collections where many can be seen online. They document people and places in Dyea, Skagway, Klukwan and Sitka. Seen above is one picture which shows native packers with oxen, possibly in Dyea.
About 1914, he moved his studio to the town of Sedro-Wooley, north of Seattle and retired about 1928. LaRoche died on this day, April 18, 1934 in Seattle.

In 1897 he wrote “En Route to the Klondike Chilkoot Pass and Skaguay Trail”, Henry O. Shepard Co, Chicago.

p.129 “This was Klondike Fever” Stumer;